Outdoor center hosts

by Mark Baumgarten

Students crowded the Les Bolstad Golf Course near the St. Paul campus on Tuesday night, but golfing was the furthest thing from their minds.
With help from the freshly fallen snow, approximately 25 snowshoe-equipped students frolicked about in the Center for Outdoor Adventures’ first ever Snowshoe Romp After Dark.
“Snowshoeing is pretty dependent on the snow,” said Paul Joyce, a COA employee and senior in the College of Education and Human Development. “The outdoor store was kind of sweating it with the lack of snow the last few months.”
Veteran snowshoer and College of Liberal Arts senior Rebecca Wandrei agreed: “I snowshoed over winter break in two inches of snow.”
Any student wanting to experience snowshoe “romping” was given the free opportunity to strap on a pair of snowshoes courtesy of the Alpine Company. All snowshoes were donated by the company to the center for students’ use.
“By allowing the students to use the shoes, the company is able to spread the word about the sport and market their own product,” said Sara DePue, a store employee and senior education and human development major.
The romp is not the only opportunity University students have for exposure to snowshoeing. Along with build your own snowshoes clinics, students can join the outdoor adventure group for an international snowshoe hike on Jan. 23.
While most students will have to wait until the next event to do some international snowshoeing, graduate student Ulrike Backeshoff, a native of Germany, was able to have a multicultural experience Tuesday night. “It’s fun because I can’t do this where I’m from,” she said. “You can do it in some areas in Germany, but it’s not very popular.”
Popularity with the student population is something COA supervisor Pam Ehlers-Stec hopes will grow in the future. “We are really pleased with how many people came,” she said. “We thought that it might only be three snowshoers.”
Along with the students, members of the St. Paul police visited the golf course, but not to snowshoe, said Ehlers-Stec. “They were wondering if our cars broke down.”