Our university library presently has a display of northern-related works by two local artists. One of the display items is a kick sled. Very cool. Perhaps you’ve seen them in scenes from Scandinavia. It has long steel runners with a seat towards the front. The operator stands on the runners behind the seat and pushes off with his/her feet. Apparently it works quite well. I haven’t had the opportunity to try one out but I want to.
I recently saw another interesting mode of transportation for the north -- a kit to convert a bicycle to a pedal snow machine. Not so sure about that one. It’s gotta be a lot of work but would be an attention getter. I also have heard of a combo XC ski/snowshoe. Don’t know if it’s the best of both or the worst of both. When I lived in Fargo, a fellow cyclist would put a traction chain on the front wheel of his bike. If you’ve ridden on ice and snow, you know that the friction for steering becomes the limiting factor before friction for propulsion.
That’s only a few of the many cool toys available for people who live up here in snow country. (There are summer toys, too, but they’re not as unique). I guess if one were sick of the north, one could do like Odysseus but instead of an oar, travel with, say, a ski-joring harness until people began to ask ‘what’s that’ and you’d know you were out of the far north country. What would you take if you wanted to be sure you got farther south? I think everyone would recognize snowshoes and XC skis. Maybe a tip-up?
Along with the toys, I also like the fact that we have a 4 season wardrobe. The shorts have swapped places with the sweaters in the back of the closet; next spring, they’ll switch again and the short sleeve polos will come out of the back of the closet (but the sweatshirts and long sleeve shirts will stay in easy reach even in the summer). Tomorrow may be cold enough to get out the flannel lined jeans. They’re just plain fun. Like having your ‘jammies on all day.
What’s your favorite toy/gear/apparel for the season?