Stay upright on the ice and snow this winter

This time of year, you might be strolling along just fine one moment, then find yourself flat on your back, staring up at the sky the next instant. Make sure you have good traction on the icy trails this winter.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been walking along in the winter, when all of a sudden, my feet go out from under me. It happens so fast, there’s often no time to even put a hand out to catch myself.

It’s really bad when it happens in town, because the sidewalk isn’t my favorite place to face-plant. But it’s annoying when my feet slip while I’m out pheasant hunting or deer hunting, too. And then there’s ice fishing. As clumsy as I am without any help, I really don’t need to be trying to stay vertical on a sheet of sheer ice while the wind’s whipping along at 40 miles an hour.

But if you’re like me, or if there’s someone on your Christmas list who’s as likely as I am to take a winter digger, there’s hope. Several years ago, my grandfather sent me a pair of Yaktrax for Christmas, and they’ve been one of the most useful presents I’ve ever received. Yaktrax are like a set of tire chains for your shoes. They’re a rubber net that stretches over the soles of your boots, and the parts that contact the ground are wound with a coil of wire, like a spring. They give you a heck of a lot of traction when you’re walking on ice and snow.

I have that original pair of Yaktrax Walkers, and I picked up another pair last year, but I bought the Yaktrax Pro model. The pro version has a strap that goes over your boot, to keep them on more securely. I’ve had the snow pull the walker model off my shoes, but that hasn’t happened with the pro version yet.

They also make running models, a Diamond Grip type and a Spikes model, both of which have metal studs for even better grip, especially on ice.

If you know someone who doesn’t like to fall down on the ice and snow, toss a pair of Yaktrax in their stocking this year.