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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Ice grippers, such as Yaktrax, provide traction when walking on snow and ice. These were photographed after a walk in the snow in mid-January.

It's wishful thinking that we'll get through the rest of winter with no more snow or ice.

Our weather has moderated some since mid-January. The best way to keep the snow and ice away is to stock up on ice melt, keep the snow shovel handy and be prepared for the next storm.

It works the same in fishing. Take your rain gear and it won't rain. Leave it at home and you're asking for it.

High priority when it's slick is avoiding a nasty fall. Some people tout the virtues of wearing golf shoes with metal spikes when the walking gets slick. A fine idea, but they're not much for keeping feet warm. A pair of ice grippers that slip over warm shoes or boots are worth their weight in hot chocolate for treading on snow and ice.

Several snowy winters ago, a bunch of us here at the newspaper got together and ordered several pair of Yaktrax. These are ice grippers that slip easily over shoes or boots to provide great traction. Snow and ice are big news in Northwest Arkansas, and the newsroom staff have to be out in it.

Mine came in handy when we got a couple inches of snow last month. Yaktrax are like tire chains for your feet, like 4-wheel-drive for your winter boots. Shop around and you'll find several brands and styles. Some, like Yaktrax, have metal coils wrapped around a rubber frame. Others have real chains or metal teeth.

Talk about useful. Yaktrax work so well you can go for a run, a long walk or take a hike in them. A pair will set you back about $25. That's cheaper than a broken hip.

The only thing to watch is accidentally walking indoors without taking them off. Step on to a tile floor and they're slick.

Cold feet is another issue. Funny how people have different thermostats, how someone's hands get cold first while others get cold feet. For me, it's the feet.

Electric socks solved that problem. We hunt ducks from the shoreline during winter at Beaver Lake. The guys in our little gaggle of hunters laughed at me, but electric socks work. You don't really feel heat. They keep your feet just warm enough so they don't get cold. Any warmer and your feet might sweat.

Each sock has a little pouch that holds one D-sized battery. Trouble was, they'd use up a battery in about six hours. "Was" is the operative word here. I used those socks so much they wore out. I have yet to replace them.

When I make another warm-feet investment, it will be for a pair of rechargeable insoles that slip right into your boots. They're pricier than my old electric socks, but the cost is worth being comfortable while waiting out mallards in the cold.

Throw-away toe warmers are another option, but I've not have much luck with them. A rider in our Le Tour De Madison County bicycling group uses them on cold rides and swears they're the greatest.

It's hard to hit a fast-flying mallard or pedal a bike with frozen toes. "Be Prepared" is a fine motto in scouting, and for life in general.

Flip Putthoff can be reached at fputthoff@nwadg.com or Twitter @NWAFlip

Sports on 02/06/2018

Print Headline: Prevention better than cure in Ozarks winter

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