TREES IN WINTER

One of the most beautiful sights in winter is trees with freshly fallen snow. The Pine. The Spruce. The Maple. The Birch. All decorated with the intricacies of the snowflake. The silence echoes the beauty of nature’s call to us.

Our forests have been an integral part of Wisconsin history reminding us that time passes around us as quickly as the winter wind. Sometimes we forget how lucky we are in Central Wisconsin to enjoy the many types of trees that we have. We take for granted what trees have done for our lives – from logging to conservancy, from building to planting. Trees continue to reign over our lives.

When we travel through the winter forests, we are passing not just through the trees but through a wonderland of beauty and communities – from the trees themselves to the animals they shelter. Skiing or snowboarding through the trees provides an opportunity to enjoy their majesty. Snowshoeing on a winter’s eve with a full moon is breath taking. Having the opportunity to enjoy such a playground is a blessing, one to enjoy and one to protect.

We here at Shepherd & Schaller salute the trees. We embrace the winter wonderland they provide. We encourage everyone to go out and smell the crisp air, listen to the song playing in their wind-blown branches, whisper back to them all of your secrets and wishes. They will guard your secrets well.

The forests beckon to us. They call our names. They are part of us. They are one of the many reasons we do what we do. We are here to encourage everyone to enjoy the outdoors and the trees as we do. We are here to assist in your journeys. We are here at Sheps to gear you up and send you on your journey. We are here because of the trees.

Here’s to the trees…

WINTER FUN THE WISCONSIN WAY

Wisconsin. The land of beer, brats and the Packers. The place where everyone can find something to love.

And in the winter, Wisconsin is full of….well, snow!

Wausau has the unique advantage of being almost dead center of an entire state of fun (and we love the state of fun). Within a few hour’s drive from here you can enjoy a plethora of winter activities:

Cross country skiing and snowshoeing – what a great way to enjoy the beautiful scenes created by the snow fall. Each hill you top, each corner you make, opens up an entirely new scenery for you to not only enjoy but to share with others. Marathon County Nine Mile Forest has gorgeous trails through the woods geared for a every level of skiing and offers many beautiful spots for winter photos.

Dog sledding – we all love our furry friends. And they love to play with us. How better to enjoy them and winter than to go dog sledding. A mere hour’s drive from Wausau gets you to Crocker Hills Horse and Dog Sled Trail System in Elton, WI.

 Downhill skiing and snowboarding – if you need a bit more speed and an adrenaline rush, strap on your helmet and chase your rush down Granite Peak Ski Area.

You can also go ice fishing, Skijoring (yes that’s a thing), snow tubing, ice skating, snowmobiling and of course fat tire biking. Central Wisconsin has an abundance of wintery things to do and Shepherd & Schaller encourages you to get out there and enjoy them. (We can help with gear too!)

Of course, when the day is done and everyone is tired, happy and hungry Wausau has numerous places to eat, drink and sleep so you can start all over the next day.

That’s what we do here at Shepherd & Schaller. We live. We play. (We have thrown a few snowballs!). We eat. We drink. We sleep. And then we do it all again. Winter outdoor life Sheps way!

Even non-skiers have fun on the sun decks at Granite Peak Ski Area in Wausau.

Winter Dressing for Comfort in the Cold: How To

We’ve been doing Winter in Wausau since 1949 (Happy 70th Anniversary to us!) and we’re here to help you make the best of it.

Need help with the fine art of dressing in layers? Want to know why your feet are cold, even in your warmest boots? Some of your best memories can be made on the snow and in the cold so scroll down for Winter Dressing 101 and learn how the fabrics and layers you choose make a real difference in how you feel. Then visit us at 324 Scott Street, across from the 400 Block in Downtown Wausau, for personalized service and great winter gear. We love winter and we know you can too!

Dressing in Winter 101

You know that chill you get, the one that hangs on even when you’ve gone inside? We know why that happens and how to fix it! Let’s talk about the differences various fabrics make, and how to make them work together to keep you cozy, warm and dry.

Think about dressing for winter like you’d choose a dwelling. What do you need to keep you comfortable?

Your clothes protect you from the elements, like a house. Is a tent all you need for comfort or does your environment call for something built for severe weather? What kind of insulation is between you and the elements? Just a sleeping bag or something between the walls and siding? Should you build with wood or brick? How do the other layers inside your home affect your comfort, like carpet and curtains? You get the idea.

Waterproof-Breathable fabrics are achieved with technically advanced membranes, laminates and coatings. The fabric these are adhered to affects the durability and wind resistance of your garment, as well as the warmth.

The key for warmth in winter weather is to stay dry. Outerwear should be labeled Waterproof-Breathable. (Not just waterproof) This is really important. Think about it: a plastic bag is waterproof, but it’s not breathable. If you wear a plastic bag as an emergency rain cover it’s only a few minutes before you feel clammy underneath. That’s because it’s trapping your body vapor or perspiration underneath. Over time you’ll be as wet on the inside as the outside. Instead, Waterproof-Breathable fabrics keep snow and rain out while letting your personal humidity evaporate. (Gortex is one brand.) A waterproof-breathable jacket or pant may or may not be insulated so what you wear underneath is just as important. Hint: shop an Outdoor Store for these technical garments.

Cotton holds moisture. This makes cotton the enemy of winter dressing. Sorry cotton! Save it for hot weather when you want to feel cooler.

Fabrics next to your skin must be moisture managers for warmth in winter. The number one problem-causing fabric in your closet is cotton. Successful winter dressers know this: NO COTTON! That means no denim. Leave those great jeans in the closet when you venture outside, and never wear jeans under snow pants. Why? Cotton holds moisture, liquid and vapor. When you get cotton wet, it stays wet. When it becomes damp, it stays damp. Our bodies create moisture in a vapor state, even if we’re not actively exercising and perspiring. Have you ever rolled a cotton sock off your foot after a day in shoes, ending up with a damp, icky sock donut? Vapor + cotton is the problem. You don’t want that in winter because even if it doesn’t feel wet, cotton is holding moisture against your skin, which disperses body heat and makes you cold.

Base Layer fabrics range from silk to merino wool, polyester to bamboo. What they have in common is moisture-management. Today’s base layers look good enough to wear in public.

Step 1: Base Layer. We call what you wear next-to-skin Base Layer, but you may know it as long underwear. It needs to wick moisture and provide insulation, appropriate to your activity. For example, if you’re cross country skiing you can expect to sweat (there’s that moisture problem again!) A light-weight, stretch polyester or bamboo fabric that moves moisture quickly is a great way to go. Ice fishing? That requires a highly insulating fiber of course. Merino wool is our favorite because it insulates while it’s moving moisture and is flexible enough to wear year-round. In fact, it’s a miracle fiber in our opinion. Read more from the experts at Smartwool here. Socks are part of your base layer.

Your Mid Layer might be a fleece or wool sweater, synthetic or down-filled jacket, or even both. What mid-layers have in common is that they insulate but don’t necessarily protect you from the elements.

Step 2: Mid Layer. This is your insulation. It might be a lightweight fleece sweater, a thick wool sweater grandma made, or a buddy down-filled jacket. Wicking and insulation continue in the mid layer. Ideally, the fabric you choose here will work with your base layer. Wool, polyester fleece, natural down are all great choices for different reasons. They are all mid-layers if they are not built to keep out wind and water. This is where our great brands have come up with some awesome advancements in recent years. We can show you when you visit us!

Outerwear is the exterior siding of your home in the weather. It might be a “shell” or it it could be insulated. It often has vents and special features.

Step 3: Outer Layer. Your winter jacket. We finally got to it! Here you have a multitude of choices, obviously. A winter jacket, parka or pant is the garment that must help you withstand the wind, and snow or rain, and often the cold too. Many contain heat-trapping insulation so your body stays warm even when not in motion. This layer must also have that waterproof/ breathable membrane/laminate we described to really keep you comfortable. You can choose a “Hard Shell” jacket, which is not insulated at all. Think rain jacket. You’ll wear different layers underneath depending on the temperature outdoors, making it really flexible and a good investment. However, most of us in Wisconsin use these in mild temperatures – 30s-50s and prefer an insulated jacket when it’s below freezing, even when we are employing the layering philosophy described here.

So come see us. Let’s talk about winter dressing, and all the great places to enjoy the outdoors in Central Wisconsin.

Discover Wisconsin thinks Winter in Wausau is the Best!

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Winter

I love winter!

It’s a statement that I proudly declare every year as it begins to get cold.

But I’ve been straight up lying to myself!

I don’t love the dark mornings and even darker nights. Or trying to muster up the mental strength to get out of my car or even walk the dog!

But I do love the things associated with this chilly season… hot chocolate, movie nights, cozy blankets, and of course winter fashion!

So let’s get right to it, how the pros stay warm during the winter months (and how you should too).

An effective layering system is the key to staying comfortable throughout these notoriously cold Wisconsin winters. Everyone feels the cold differently, for example, I’m a freeze baby and am cold even on 70 degree days but then I walk outside and see people in shorts when it’s a whopping 14 degrees outside! Luckily a basic layering system will work for everyone.

1) First things first.. a good base layer

A base layer is your first line of defense against the cold. Base layers are designed to regulate your body temperature and should be close fitting to trap a thin layer of warm air against your skin. A base layer will also ‘wick’ away perspiration from the skin to keep you dry. Why is being dry so important? Because dry = warm. When it comes to base layers, read the tags! You’re looking for something that says Merino wool or Polyester. STAY AWAY FROM COTTON! Cotton holds moisture, therefore, you’re cold and crabby. Merino wool is popular as it’s naturally warm and has antibacterial qualities. Goodbye B.O.! Despite what you may have thought of wool in the past, merino wool is not itchy! So don’t let that scare you away, you’ll stay warm, dry, and itch free. I promise! Merino is your answer if you’re a freeze baby like I am, going hunting, going to a Packer Game, or doing something where you’re not working up a sweat. Polyester isn’t the warmest base layer but it’s great if you’re planning on being more active because it adjusts to the wearer’s heat and humidity. Walking the dog? Cutting wood? Ice Skating? Throw on your polyester base layer.

2) Mid layers – aka my favorite layer!

Just because you want to stay warm, doesn’t mean you have to look sporty all the time. Dress your mid layer up or down as much as you want! An effective mid layer will provide great insulation by working hand in hand with your base layer to trap air between layers, resulting in enhanced warmth and comfort. Fleece is the ideal mid layer, as it is lightweight and highly breathable. Warmth without weight is important otherwise we feel super restricted and no one wants that. It’s all about comfort, right? You don’t have to go out and buy a special mid layer either. Do you have a wool sweater in your closet? Maybe a cute down vest? Just don’t put the cotton shirt underneath it!

3) Last but surely not least, the outer layer

The outer layer is just like the windows in your house. You may have the best heating system in the neighborhood but if you’re by a window you’ll still get that unwelcoming chill. So naturally, what do you do? Shut the window curtain, right? It’s that one extra layer that helps keep the cold outside, where it belongs! Just think of the curtains being like your jacket. You can have the best jacket and snow pant in the world but they won’t do anything if you aren’t properly layered underneath, just like closing the curtain won’t keep you warm if you don’t have the furnace on. The base and mid layers wick away moisture and trap body heat while the outer layer is your main defense against the brutal Wisconsin elements. This snowproof, waterproof, and windproof layer is a lifesaver during those below zero windchill days! If you’re a freeze baby like I am, look for an insulated jacket and snow pant. This gives you one more layer of extra warmth. If you’re more active or are that person that wears shorts all year round, think about getting a shell. They have a similar feel to a rain jacket so they don’t give you extra insulation but they do protect you from the outside elements.

4) Don’t forget to accessorize!

Listen to your mom! Cover your head, neck, and hands, it makes a world of a difference.

And there you have it, the 411 on how to survive the winter months that seem to last a lifetime in the midwest.

Click Here to shop some of our favorite layering pieces this season!

Ski Season Is Never Over Sale

Pay half. Save half. Get 50% off the retail price of all remaining alpine and cross country ski equipment at Shepherd & Schaller through August 15th, 2016. Skis, bindings, boots, poles, helmets and winter outerwear for men, women and children is included. Remaining snowboards, boots and bindings are 40% off.

Ski season. We know it’ on your mind.

 

Pay half.  Save half.  Get 50% off the retail price of all remaining alpine and cross country ski equipment at Shepherd & Schaller through August 15th, 2016.  Skis, bindings, boots, poles, helmets and ski outerwear for men, women and children is included.  Remaining snowboards, boots and bindings are 40% off.

Ski season.  We know it’ on your mind.

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