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All work and snow play

A couple of snowshoers get acquainted with the equipment in the powder near Castle Peak.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

athy works.

Honest, she does.

It’s just that what Cathy Anderson-Meyers does for a living doesn’t seem much like “work.”



Don’t get me wrong. She certainly puts more sweat-equity into a day on the job than maybe someone who sits in front of a computer screen for the majority of his day – which was made clear when a “someone who sits in front of a computer screen for the majority of his day” joined her on the job.

Still, can you really call it “work” when you’ve done away with cubicle walls in favor of post-card panoramas? And can you really call it a job, when your day consists of showing others how to play in the snow?




Why, of course you can.

And that’s just what Anderson-Meyers was thinking when she became a snowshoe tour guide and started up her own company, “CathyWorks.”

I thought “CathyPlays” might sound more appropriate.

“When I was originally doing it, I just loved it,” she said. “And I love to share what I do with other people. So a friend of mine said ‘If you start doing tours, you can share that with people all the time – and get paid for it.’

She’s been sharing her snowshoe adventures since 1994 and the sport seems to be only growing more popular.

Snowshoes? I was aware of the technological advances made in snowshoeing, but still the first thing that came to mind was a pair of oversized tennis rackets strapped to my heels.

So cliche.

“I just heard that today,” Anderson-Meyers said Thursday. “It happens pretty frequently. I usually take a traditional pair of snowshoes and show them those first. Everybody laughs and says ‘Oh yeah, that’s what I thought it was.’ But it’s not as frequent as it used to be.”

Maybe that’s because of the people swarming into the sport to see what it’s all about. Anderson-Meyers frequently visits sports and recreation shops to introduce snowshoeing to anyone interested in giving it a try. She said such a talk recently drew 81 people at an REI store in Roseville.

It’s that kind of a response that keeps her interested in sharing the sport with others. The fact that anyone can have a good time on their first try – as opposed to frequent spills common to beginning skiers and snowboarders – makes the sport an easy sell.

“You know, there are all those mothers and wives who are not ready to hit the slopes on skis and maybe they wait back at the lodge while the others are out there having fun,” she said. “That’s what continues to drive me. With this, there are so many people who will be able to enjoy the outdoors in winter.”

Enjoy, indeed.

The warm sun, the breath-taking vistas and the snowshoeing itself proved to be a wonderful way to spend a Sunday with the family – and CathyWorks.

We met up with Anderson-Meyers at the snow park at Castle Peak off I-80. As my wife and our daughter climbed from the car, I noticed all my fellow boarders heading off to Boreal. I admit it, I longed to join them.

Truth be told, I didn’t expect our afternoon to be as fun. Sliding down hill sounded more fun than, well, “walking on snow.” And to make matters worse, once we got our gear on, I found myself hitched to the front of a pull-behind sled with our 3-year-old in tow as my musher.

By the time we climbed from the interstate exit to an open meadow with Castle Peak rising high above, the brim of my ballcap was soaked with sweat.

Work? Maybe so.

Fortunately, our daughter released me from my harness allowing for a little fun off trail, as I checked out the contraptions so new to me. We walked, we ran and we climbed, all while floating atop the snow.

“I see people’s faces change within 100 yards,” Anderson-Meyers said. “It’s like ‘She’s right, I can do this.’

“People say ‘If you can walk, you can snowshoe.’ And that’s true. But as you saw, there’s a lot more to do than that, too.”

Certainly. And evidently there are a lot of different snowshoe adventures out there. Our guide had my wife wondering what it would be like to join CathyWorks on one of her full moon tours, which we’d just missed the day before our own trek.

She also offers varying difficulty levels of tours, from the easy as ours at Castle Peak to more difficult climbs she leads at Loch Leven Lakes. She has a slew of tours scheduled for February – including a full moon hike on Feb. 15. Typically, Anderson-Meyers is in the snow two to four days a week.

When she’s not leading groups across the frozen Sierra or she’s not out promoting the sport she loves, she’s probably spending time with her husband and two teenage sons.

“It’s really flexible,” she said. “I can make my own schedule and it works around family life, so I can be home with my kids.”

And we all know, firsthand or not, it’s hard work being Mom.

CathyWorks?

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Snowshoe basics

WHEN: 6 p.m., Feb. 11

WHERE: Wolf Creek Wilderness, 595 E. Main St., Grass Valley

ADMISSION: Free

INFORMATION: Call 477-2722 to reserve a seat. Event is limited to first 30 people.

ON THE WEB: Click onto http://www.cathyworks.com

Yes, and she loves every minute of it.


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