Muscles Not Motors

Ryan James LeClerc
Posted January 2nd, 2009

Whether you’re a snowboarder or snowshoer, mountain hiker or mountain biker, Nordic skier or Nordic walker, you need gear. Each month, I review, right here, three items that I personally feel are especially cool. Here are my picks for this month.
Tubbs Snowshoes may have split Vermont and moved production to China, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a pair of quality Vermont-made snowshoes.  And we’re not just talking about traditional wooden get ups made by hobbyists who sell them out of their garage.  Dion snowshoes are modern, technical snowshoes made right here in our fair state, and that’s not the only thing going for them.  They are handcrafted and as light as fresh powder, and are the only truly modular snowshoes available, where you choose the frame, binding, and cleat based on your own particular needs.  Dion’s 121 frames for racing are the smallest and narrowest on the market, and snowshoe racers tell me they are sublime.  For those of us who have no idea what snowshoe racing is, they make sublime recreational and hiking models too.

Don’t snowshoe down the mountain, Rocket down!  When you’re ready to give up all that hard-earned elevation, lash your Dion snowshoes to your pack and strap yourself into a Mad River Rocket.  But be careful—the thrill of carving controlled turns on your knees while strapped into a Killer B (for older kids and adults) or a Stinger (for ten and unders) will make you an insatiable gravity seeker after one ride, whether you master a misty flip or not.  Built just down the road in Warren, these Vermont-grown performance sleds are made of thick, durable Polyethylene, or for those who have the means, bomb-proof Lexan, and are outfitted with rubber knee pads and a padded quick release thigh strap for optimum comfort and maneuverability.  Ditch that orange, feeble, hardware store sled before it breaks in half, nail that wooden toboggan to the side of the barn before you get splinters, and get on your knees!

This sleek, stainless steel vacuum bottle may not be made in Vermont, but you can fill it up with a delicious Vermont made beverage, such as Capitol Grounds coffee or Cold Hollow Cider, and because of its double-walled construction, all .75 liters of that tasty beverage will still be hot or cold hours later.  When you’re ready to pour, instead of unscrewing the stopper, you just push a button.  Equally innovative and delightfully considerate is its dual-mug design, which makes it perfect for toasting the good times with your special someone.  When you live in Vermont, those good times could come in many forms.  Here’s just one suggestion:  Enjoy that beverage on the top of a mountain or hill, just after snowshoeing up and just before rocketing down.
Got gear? Email Ryan at Want to see more especially cool gear in action? Check out the monthly MNM Video Gear Review at


Ryan James Leclerc

Ryan James Leclerc used to be single and used to work on the sales floor of Onion River Sports. He is now married and works in the office of Onion River Sports. The creative license he procured in a back alley allows him to occasionally narrate from the past as though it were the present.