Snowshoe provides unique fitness opportunities for employees
Snowshoe has been working on an employee fitness program since last year, and so far, it's been a success. Michael Baker, Outdoor Adventure Manager at Snowshoe, said there's never been a program like this for Snowshoe employees.
"In the past there's been groups of employees that get together, runners or hikers, but we've never had anything pre-planned or organized," said Baker. "Last year we formed an employee fitness committee with the goal of providing a permanent fitness facility for employees, cardio equipment, a small gym, being able to host a fitness class, yoga, aerobics and step classes."
Baker said that initially Snowshoe offered yoga and zumba classes and a Wii sports night, but it has expanded the program to include other unique, guided activities.
"We want to get folks out hiking, and biking, get people out geo-caching, trail running, road running. We also have a guided, full-moon hike out to the fire tower," Baker explained.
Geo-caching is like a scavenger hunt for adults according to Baker, and Snowshoe employees aren't the only folks that can participate, the resort offers geo-caching to guests, as well.
"Geo-caching is pretty cool," said Baker. "It's basically a mix of orienteering and hiking using GPS technology. Our course is a little unique. The way it works, when you go geo-caching, we give people a backpack, a map, a handheld GPS unit, and a compass."
Geo-cachers are given a five minute demonstration on how to use the equipment and how the GPS works, and are sent out into the woods.
"We have different boxes hidden around, caches. Essentially they're ammunition boxes," said Baker. "The caches are hidden throughout the mountain. The way it works, you use the GPS to find the cache. If people have too much trouble, on the back of the maps we have hints."
Baker talked a little about the history of geo-caching.
"Geo-caching has been around for a long time," Baker said. "I think it was in the 90s during the Clinton administration that the U.S. government took a ban off GPS technology. GPS used to be filtered for military security purposes but they got better at scrambling and hiding sensitive stuff. It started like a grassroots kind of thing. People would hide caches all over the world and they would post something on the Internet. For some people it's a serious hobby, they'll drive across the country geo-caching."
Baker said geo-caching is fun and affordable.
"A family of five can go out and have a great time for twenty five bucks," he said.
Baker said that the new fitness program has been popular with employees, and Snowshoe plans to expand the concept.
"Bottom line, it's not for Snowshoe, it's for the employees themselves," he said. "I think if you look at the bigger scale, yeah, healthier people are happier, more productive people, but we're just trying to encourage people. Ideally, this will branch out and we'll get not only employees, but local folks and homeowners that want to be active and get out."