Smokies Ski Walking School

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Summer is slowly coming to end, so now is the time to start a hiking program for yourself because of more comfortable temperatures and fall foliage. Our mountains provide an excellent opportunity to not only enjoy the outdoors, but get physically conditioned by hiking hills. Hiking hills can best be enjoyed with the support of poles.

Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, circa 1930, UTK Special Collections. ~ Notice Hiking Poles with some of the hikers.

Hiking has a long history in our area from pioneers walking from their farm to town or from town to town along the rivers or over mountain gaps. Bear hunters and fishermen traveling the forests and streams for game. Then outdoor recreation came to the area with people hiking to the tops of our mountains for good views and the challenge, which was the case of Mt. LeConte Lodge in the Smokies starting in the 1920s with the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club that helped establish Mt. LeConte Lodge.

Hikers and their poles helped these travelers traverse our mountains, which have progressed from “hiking poles” to “trekking poles” and now there is a new way to increase your exercise efforts when you go hiking and that is the use of ski walking poles.

Whether you are beginning an exercise program, looking to drop a few pounds, improve your health, meet fellow hikers or seek a new cross-training activity then ski walking may be for you. Ski walking is new way to “economize yourself exercise” because you not only get benefits from walking, you also increase your calorie burn and upper body strengthening by using ski walking poles. Ski walking burns 20%-40% more calories than regular walking if done with proper technique, plus its uses more muscle groups than just walking. Ski walking offers benefits that few other activities can match! Ski walking increase circulation, upper body strength and endurance. Get your heart pumping and increase lung capacity. Ski walking poles provide better support for your lower joints and balance on slippery surfaces and rough terrain by increasing stability.

Join us for:

Smokies Ski Walking School
September 11 – October 30
Every Monday
5:30 PM – 7:00 PM 
Oconaluftee River Trail
Cherokee, NC

The goal of this school is to teach you to a new form of exercise and become part of a new hiking club called a “Volksmarch Club.” To register, please contact Robert J. Hawk at 586-4009 or 488-3848 or by email robert_hawk@ncsu.edu.

Written By

Photo of Rob Hawk, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionRob Hawk, IICounty Extension Director, Jackson and Swain Counties (828) 586-4009 (Office) robert_hawk@ncsu.eduJackson County, North Carolina
Updated on Sep 5, 2017
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