Staying Safe on the Roads this Winter

Dawson Van Pelt- All of us drivers in Steamboat Springs, Colorado have lost control of our cars at least once on the winter roads. People can agree that it is terrifying to slide while driving and go full hovercar on the ice. Here are some tips to help you navigate on this year’s winter roads.

Snow tires are important because of the way the traction is made and the chemical compound of synthetic rubber with metal fabric in the tire that increases control. The true difference between a snow tire and a summer tire is when the summer tire gets cold it stiffens up and loses traction. The chemical compound in a snow tire allows it to be flexible during the cold and keep the tires grip. Also, the their are two different kind of snow tires; studless and studded snow tires.

Studded snow tires have small strong metal studs built in the tire which is designed to dig into ice and compacted snow to add traction. The studs however dig into the road and damage it. This is the reason why some states limit studded tires and some just abolish studded snow tires altogether. They are also known for a little bit of a noisy ride down the road.

Studless tires have an advanced rubber compound to stay flexible in cold weather. Studless snow tires have more tread design with deeper tread for traction for snow and slush. The tread is designed to have better snow-on-snow traction by packing the tread full of snow and with thousands of tiny slits that act like biting edges for stopping and going.

How much tread is used in one winter season? A regular tire is 11/32” and in one year the tread decreases to about 9/32” so, about two sizes down from ConsumerReports.org.  

Don’t forget to change your tires you before the snow season. So, don’t put off putting them on for your and our safety.

What are the best snow tires? The best six snow tires all look and cost differently plus its per tire from the site http://www.caranddriver.com. Here is a list by price per tire and you can order studded or studless tires.

  1. Yokohama iceGuard iG52c with a tread depth of 11/32 and cost about $126.
  2. Continental Wintercontact SI with the tread depth of 10/32 and cost about $131.
  3. Dunlop Winter MAXX tires that have a tread depth of 12/32 and cost $134.
  4. Michelin X-ICE X13 that has a tread depth of 10.5/32 and cost around $152.
  5. Bridgestone Blizzak WS80 that has a tread depth of 12/32 and cost around $160.
  6. Nokian tire that has a tread depth of 11/32 and cost about $200.

Next, here are some mistakes everyone can and will make at least once this snow season.

First thing is never slam on the breaks, “A rolling tire has more traction than a sliding tires” says Kurk Spitzner From the founder of the Winter Driving School here in Steamboat Springs, Colorado on OutSideOnline.com. If you have ABS brakes and you start to slide you apply the brakes and put a good amounts of pressure and the brakes will automatically start to pump the brakes for you. If you do not have ABS brakes take your foot off the gas and start pumping your brakes until you gain control of the car or come to a complete stop.

Second, is going too fast for the road conditions and sliding off the road. You can get pulled over for going too fast for road conditions so, drive realistically and safely on the road.

Third, is the lack of emergency gear people have in their car , even if it’s a short drive, people forget to pack extra tools like blankets, gloves, boots, cell phone and a first aid kit. And if you get stuck you can use your floor matts of your car for traction to get out because who is going to keep a five pound sack of kitty litter in their car for this reason?  

Fourth, big events in the winter have bigger problems like, the over usage of alcohol and drunk drivers with the packed snow from the multiple cars driving over the same spot. When there is a lot of weight on the snow it compacts and turns into ice. Since not all people have snow tires and with more use of alcohol with big events be careful.

Last but not least is when people get stuck they leave their car which is a bad idea because, it’s most likely to be warmer than outside and can be your only source of shelter. If you wander off it is easier to lose sight of your car and get lost in the cold. As it is also easier to find a car than a human in snowy conditions. Next make sure you have the exhaust pipe clear or it could bring carbon dioxide into the cabin of the car. Best way to be spotted is if you have any flares is to put then on your car so people can see that an accident has occurred or keep your dome light on for responders to locate you.

When it comes to hills tread and momentum is everything. Hills are not the best in the winter season because if you stop or go to slow up the hill can either get stuck on the road or slide off the edge of the road. Your tires will work properly if you use these three best tips for winter driving in Steamboat Springs. Avoid hills if you can, plan ahead and slow down earlier than usual.

Now the situation of what to do when you have already lost control of your car. The best action to take when you have lost control is to steer the front wheels in the direction the the rear wheels are sliding and release the gas pedal and coast till you have regained control of the car or have came to a complete stop. If you have ABS brakes you apply pressure and stear where want to go and wait till you have gained control of the car.  

Thank you for taking the time to become a safer driver by reading this article and remember to stay in control of your car on the roads this winter and dominate the ice.  

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Opportunities for YVHS Students at CMC

George Decorte– At Yampa Valley High School (YVHS) the juniors and seniors have a class every Tuesday for a hour and twenty minutes at Colorado Mountain College (CMC).  There is only one teacher for this class and her name is Hadley Nylen.  When asked the purpose of the class Hadley said, “Students learn about time management, empathy and diversity, learning styles, degree and certificate programs available, communication skills, healthy lifestyles, and money management”.

The reason they’re taking this class is so they know about what college life is like and skills they’ll need later in life. So, if they take this introduction class when they’re in high school they don’t have to take it when they go to college in Colorado. Also, if they take it they get college credits and that can be transferred to any other college in Colorado. To pass the class you have to get a grade of C or higher.

Students have said that they have enjoyed taking this class.  YVHS Student Jack Ringer said, “I enjoy the class because I get to learn new life skills like healthy lifestyles and money management.”

Also, the teachers have said the class is beneficial because it gives students an opportunity to know what CMC is like.  YVHS teacher Greg Johnson said, “This class is beneficial because it gives them an idea of the CMC campus and see what a college education would be like.”

Dawson Van Pelt, a student from YVHS said, “I like the class because it’s moving me towards a college education.”   

The class has happened eight times starting in October and ending in December.  The class is for mature students getting ready for life after high school, so that’s why it’s only juniors and seniors.  This is the first time YVHS has had the opportunity for students to take this class and they hope to do it every year. This class is very beneficial to the students that take it because it teaches them things that can be very useful later on in life.

Surprised by a Love for Reading

Montana Malburg- When I came to the Yampa Valley High School you would never hear me say that reading was one of my favorite hobbies. In fact if you asked me how many books that have been assigned to us at the High School that I actually read you’d be disappointed to hear none at all. Little did I know that reading would become one of my biggest guilty pleasures. What gave me this love for reading? I was given the choice to read what I wanted and not what I was told was important. This is a key factor in getting more people into reading. However, regardless of if your book is assigned to you or not, reading is very important. Reading can expand your imagination and knowledge as well as relieve stress. This is how reading has helped me.

Books encourage imagination by taking you to new worlds and adventures that may of never occurred to you in your wildest of dreams. Whether you love romantic novels, horror, or fantasy there is always a book for you. With books you can imagine people and places just by the way they are described and you can even imagine yourself in the same situation. This gives readers more perspective on everyday life. Instead of seeing things in the box that is reality you can begin to draw outside the lines. I have personally experienced this through my love for fantasy novels. Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite series of all time! Every time I open the pages I get transported to “the mountain walls of Mordor looming like a black bar of rugged clouds floating above a dangerous fog-bound sea.”  

Books are also good for gaining knowledge on an extensive number of topics as well as enlarging your vocabulary. They are always helpful whether you are just reading a textbook for a world history class or looking for information on a type of skill you’d like to acquire like cooking or learning how to knit.  Reading can also improve your concentration, memory, and writing skills. The National Center for Education Statistics said in April 2001 that students who reported having all four types of reading materials (books, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias) in their home scored, on average, higher than those who reported having fewer reading materials. The more books you read the more you will open your eyes to new things you have never imagined. You also never know when your knowledge will come in handy.  It is a strong belief of mine that knowledge is one of the most powerful things to have because it can never be taken away from you; It can only grow.

My favorite thing about reading a good book is escaping from the real world even if it’s just for a little while.  Research conducted in 2009 at the University of Sussex showed that reading was the most effective way to overcome stress. Instead of being a 17 year old going to school and having work on top of everyday drama and dilemmas I can be an explorer traveling the world or a detective solving a mystery. Books relieve stress as well as give you a different perspective on life. Articles can also distract you and make you present in the moment while forgetting about your worries. Some make me thankful that I am just a normal girl who has an immensely blessed life compared to others out there.

Some may argue that reading “Isn’t their thing,” but I would say that you just haven’t found the right book yet. There are some books that I instantly know aren’t for me and some that I will finish in a day. My best advice would be to read at least a chapter or two of any book you choose to try. Get a feel for the characters and plot before making up your mind.

I’m not telling everyone to become huge bookworms, but, rather to be open-minded. If  you catch yourself wasting a lot of free time or get sick of attempting the same video game then think about expanding your mind with a good book. George R. R. Martin once said “A reader lives a thousand lives before they die.”

Hiking for Credit

Joey Stonehocker- At the Yampa Valley High School the Friday hikes are a good source of energy output for our modern teens. YVHS doesn’t have a traditional P.E. class so, it allows the students of YVHS  to be released on one of the many nature hikes here in Steamboat Springs. On the hikes YVHS has a long semi straight file line on about a two hour hike up and down. The hikes are how we get P.E. credits and as a student I prefer this method because it’s not a survival of the fittest environment like in a traditional gym class.

Being in high school is a tough and confusing time but, the hikes are a nice release from the world for a short time. In nature is a good time to release stress and think about anything on your mind. It’s a good pastime away from school where you can relax and just walk. Fresh air is key for a healthy mind and body, so why not be on a hike.

P.E. class in traditional schools can be difficult especially if you have a larger class. If you have trouble keeping up in gym class, the hikes are a little more your own speed. On the hike you can choose what pace you want to set yourself at. It’s all around a nice hike where you can   talk to your friends or get to know people without being chased, or having stuff flung at you The uphill part of every hike is pretty bad but, going down is super easy.

Some hikes we go on we have to take a bus to the location, such as Mad Creek or Rabbit Ears. Other times we can just walk from the school, such as Emerald mountain up to the Quarry. Regardless of rain or shine we go on the hikes. If it’s snowing we put on snowshoes and do it anyway. If you don’t have a jacket or gloves or whatever it is you need the school will loan it to you.

I hope you see why we should go on hikes instead of gym class. If you ever see us out and about come say hi!

The Love Of Competition

Chase Adams- One thing I love about tennis is the ability to kick somebody’s behind. Being competitive has always had an impact on me. Trying to win everything that I play has always been something I love to do. Tennis is a game where you will always face an opponent who is better than you. Therefore, the more work I put into my game the more success you gain from the sport.

Tennis gives me the chance to battle by myself and not have to rely on a partner to win a match. When playing tennis I can push myself to the best of my ability and achieve greatness. No matter how hard you practice and compete in tournaments, there will always be one opponent that can beat you. I love being on top of the USTA brackets, so others won’t forget how strong I am as an athlete. So when they read the name “Chase Adams” on their tennis bracket, they will know the competitiveness they need to beat me. Seeing other opponents with larger USTA points than me, hurts. Especially when I know I am a stronger athlete than them.

Tennis is a great sport with plenty of tactics to learn. One tactic that is hard to learn is to play the tennis ball and not your opponent. This means always try to stay on offense and in control of the ball. Don’t let your opponent control the game by running you around. Find your strong points in your tennis game and use them to the best of your ability.

I as a tennis player I do not believe in pressure. Pressure is a made up feeling that only you can tell yourself if it’s real or not. When I get into intense rally’s, I keep my cool and I play smart. I don’t wonder where my opponent’s ball is going to land. I capitalize on the shots that I know I can hit. I focus on the point, not the pressure that’s assigned with the point.

Playing for my high school tennis team has been a blast, especially when you do extremely well in tournaments. Getting asked questions by your local newspaper reporters makes me feel important to the team. Another great feeling is when your peers read your newspaper article and congratulate you based on how well you did. What matters most is that people actually care! That excitement only makes me want to push my game further and show them how well I can do.

While my high school career is over, playing tournaments all over Colorado will increase my USTA points, and increase my ranking in the community. The higher USTA points you are able to collect, the more difficult your opponents will turn out to be! Anyone has the capability to play tennis for fun as they grow old, but I will choose to carry on my competitive spirit  through many upcoming USTA tournaments.

Tennis is a sport with many perks to help you with your everyday emotions. Some people enjoy tennis for taking time out of their day to get out and exercise. I enjoy tennis after a stressful day of work or school, so I can take my aggression out on the tennis ball and not others!