Try Yaktrax for traction on snow and ice |

Try Yaktrax for traction on snow and ice

Roaring Fork Valley residents have had plenty of chances to fall on their keisters this winter. The delays between snowstorms have consistently allowed the snow to compact and turn to ice.

Walking my dog can be a treacherous undertaking in such conditions. Our favorite trail meanders along the Roaring Fork River, then climbs up to the midvalley’s Crown Mountain Park. The freeze-thaw cycle smashes the snow on the short climb into ice.In addition, Eagle County apparently has a new street-plowing strategy. They won’t remove anything less than 3 inches of snow, so the streets of Sopris Village have often been suited for a hockey match.Yaktrax prevented me from slip-sliding away.Earlier this winter I wrote a story about how the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority scored a sweet deal with Yaktrax to supply a good share of its employees with the anti-slip devices. A couple of weeks later, a pair of Yaktrax Pros arrived at the Times’ office for me, unsolicited. I justified keeping them by writing a gear review, with no strings attached.

Now the jury is in. Yaktrax has worked well for me in most conditions. They combine a rubber sole with scores of steel rings to provide adhesion and good bite in packed snow and ice. The contraptions are pretty easy to put on – they stretch over the sole of whatever shoe or boot you choose.My first test was on a dog walk where packed snow on the trail was topped with an inch or 2 of light powder. The Yaktrax had no trouble providing grip, even on the short, steep hills. They also worked wonders when combined with my hiking boots to shovel my snowpacked driveway and negotiate slippery streets during and after the big dump on Feb. 28 and March 1.The Yaktrax Pros even passed the tests on the groomed, steep slopes of Tiehack.

Organizers of America’s Uphill announced that devices such as Yaktrax, Stabilicers and running shoes will be allowed for the first time in this year’s event, Saturday, March 17, on Aspen Mountain.Yaktrax says its products will provide confidence to users who walk, work or run on packed snow and ice. It warns against “heavy use” on concrete and gravel. Personally, I kind of like the feel when you walk on the steel coils across a clear patch of concrete. It makes me feel like Wily E. Coyote, who strapped springs on his feet to catch the Roadrunner. (My outcome hasn’t been as disastrous.)I have only one complaint about Yaktrax. While coming down a rocky trail only partially covered with snow, I’ve managed to knock a Yaktrax loose on two occasions. They have a “performance strap” designed to keep them in place, but it doesn’t always work. Luckily, the device is easily stretched back over the sole.Yaktrax Pro is sold in fine outdoor stores throughout the valley. The suggested retail price is $29.95.

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