Personal Training in Toronto Archery Lessons in Toronto Boxing Lessons in Toronto Ice Skating Lessons in Toronto Swimming Lessons in Toronto
Sign up for personal training / sports training by emailing
Showing posts with label Winter Activities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Winter Activities. Show all posts

Winter Archery Gear Essentials

As winter sets in and temperatures drop, dedicated archers brave the cold to continue their practice and hone their skills. However, shooting in cold weather requires specialized gear to ensure comfort, safety, and optimal performance.

Let's delve into the essentials of winter archery gear, exploring the key elements to consider when selecting equipment for cold-weather shooting.

  1. Insulated Clothing:

    • Base Layers: Start with moisture-wicking base layers to draw sweat away from the skin and regulate body temperature. Look for materials such as merino wool or synthetic fabrics that offer warmth without bulk.
    • Insulating Layers: Layer up with insulating garments such as fleece jackets or vests to trap heat close to the body. Opt for lightweight and breathable materials that provide warmth without restricting movement.
    • Outer Shell: Invest in a waterproof and windproof outer shell to protect against snow, rain, and cold winds. Look for jackets and pants with adjustable cuffs and hoods for added protection from the elements.
  2. Warm Accessories:

    • Gloves or Mittens: Choose archery-specific gloves or mittens designed to provide warmth while maintaining dexterity. Look for options with grip-enhancing features to ensure a secure hold on the bow.
    • Headwear: Wear a warm hat or beanie that covers the ears to prevent heat loss and protect against frostbite. Consider a neck gaiter or balaclava to shield the face and neck from cold winds.
    • Thermal Socks: Keep feet warm and dry with thermal socks made from moisture-wicking materials. Look for options with cushioning and arch support for added comfort during long shooting sessions.
  3. Footwear:

    • Insulated Boots: Invest in insulated boots with waterproof and breathable membranes to keep feet warm and dry in snowy or wet conditions. Choose boots with good traction to prevent slips and falls on icy surfaces.
    • Gaiters: Consider wearing gaiters to keep snow and debris out of your boots and pants. Look for lightweight and durable options that provide additional protection in deep snow or rugged terrain.
  4. Bow Accessories:

    • Bow Sock or Cover: Protect your bow from moisture, dirt, and cold temperatures with a bow sock or cover. Look for options with padded interiors to cushion the bow and minimize impact during transport.
    • Bow Hand Warmer: Use a bow hand warmer or muff to keep your shooting hand warm and comfortable during cold-weather shooting sessions. Look for options with fleece lining and convenient hand openings for easy access to the bow.
  5. Hand Warmers and Heat Packs:

    • Disposable Hand Warmers: Pack disposable hand warmers in your pockets or gloves to provide instant heat during cold-weather shooting sessions. Activate hand warmers before shooting to keep hands comfortably warm and nimble.
    • Body Warmers: Consider using adhesive body warmers or heat packs on areas prone to cold exposure, such as the lower back or torso. Apply body warmers under clothing layers for long-lasting heat and comfort.

Choosing the right gear for winter archery is essential for staying warm, comfortable, and focused during cold-weather shooting sessions. By selecting insulated clothing, warm accessories, appropriate footwear, bow accessories, optics and accessories, and hand warmers, archers can brave the elements and continue to practice and improve their skills throughout the winter season. Invest in high-quality gear designed for cold-weather conditions to ensure a rewarding and enjoyable archery experience, regardless of the temperature outside.

Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto by contacting Don't wait, prebook your archery lessons today!    

How to Adapt Your Archery Practice in Cold Weather

As the temperature drops and snowflakes start to fall, archery enthusiasts may find themselves faced with the challenge of practicing their beloved sport in cold and wintry conditions. While winter brings its own set of obstacles, with the right approach and preparation, archers can continue to sharpen their skills and enjoy the sport even during the coldest months.

Below we'll explore some essential winter archery tips to help you adapt your practice in cold weather and make the most of your time on the range.

  1. Dress Appropriately:

    • Layering: When dressing for winter archery practice, layering is key. Start with moisture-wicking base layers to keep sweat away from the skin, add insulating layers for warmth, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against the elements.
    • Gloves and Hand Warmers: Invest in archery-specific gloves or mittens that provide warmth without compromising dexterity. Consider using hand warmers to keep your hands comfortably warm during shooting sessions.
    • Hat and Neck Gaiter: A warm hat that covers the ears and a neck gaiter to protect the neck and face from cold winds can help maintain body heat while shooting.
  2. Adjust Your Bow:

    • String Waxing: Cold temperatures can cause bowstrings to become stiff and brittle. Regularly wax your bowstring to prevent it from drying out and becoming prone to snapping.
    • Sight and Rest Adjustments: Cold weather can affect the flexibility and performance of your bow limbs. Make any necessary adjustments to your sight and rest to account for changes in arrow trajectory and accuracy.
  3. Practice Indoors:

    • Utilize Indoor Ranges: When outdoor conditions become too harsh, consider practicing at indoor archery ranges. Indoor facilities provide a controlled environment with consistent lighting and temperature, allowing for uninterrupted practice sessions.
    • Simulation Training: Use indoor ranges to simulate outdoor shooting conditions by adjusting lighting and target distances. Practice shooting from various positions and angles to improve your versatility as an archer.
  4. Stay Hydrated and Energized:

    • Drink Plenty of Water: Despite the cold weather, it's important to stay hydrated during archery practice. Cold temperatures can lead to increased perspiration, so be sure to drink water regularly to replenish lost fluids.
    • Pack High-Energy Snacks: Fuel your body with high-energy snacks such as trail mix, energy bars, or fruit to maintain stamina and focus during long shooting sessions.
  5. Mind Your Form and Technique:

    • Focus on Form: Pay close attention to your shooting form and technique, especially in cold weather conditions. Cold muscles may be less flexible, making it crucial to maintain proper posture and alignment to prevent injury and ensure accurate shooting.
    • Warm-Up Exercises: Before starting your practice session, incorporate dynamic warm-up exercises to loosen up muscles and increase blood flow. Focus on stretching the shoulders, arms, and back to prepare for archery-specific movements.
  6. Take Breaks and Listen to Your Body:

    • Know Your Limits: Be mindful of signs of cold-related injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia. If you start to feel numbness, tingling, or extreme cold, take a break from shooting and warm up indoors.
    • Pace Yourself: Balance the intensity and duration of your practice sessions to avoid overexertion. Take regular breaks to rest, warm up, and rehydrate before returning to shooting.

With these winter archery tips, you can adapt your practice to cold weather conditions and continue to improve your skills throughout the winter months. By dressing appropriately, making adjustments to your equipment, practicing indoors when necessary, staying hydrated and energized, focusing on form and technique, and listening to your body, you can enjoy productive and fulfilling archery sessions regardless of the temperature outside.

Why not embrace the challenges of winter archery and make the most of your time on the range?!


Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto by contacting Don't wait, prebook your archery lessons today!  

Winter Archery Activities while visiting the Family Cabin

Looking for fun activities to do at the family cabin this winter? Why not try the following:

  1. Winter Archery Biathlon: Combine archery with cross-country skiing or snowshoeing to create a winter archery biathlon. Participants ski or snowshoe to various shooting stations where they must accurately shoot targets before continuing on the course.

  2. Snow Archery: Create an archery range in the snow using snowbanks or compacted snow targets. Use brightly colored arrows to contrast against the white snow for better visibility, and have fun shooting at targets while surrounded by the winter landscape.

  3. Ice Target Shooting: Set up targets on frozen lakes or ponds and practice shooting arrows at the ice. The sound of arrows hitting the ice adds an extra element of excitement to the archery experience.

  4. Indoor Archery Challenges: If your cabin has a large indoor space, set up an indoor archery range using foam targets or archery nets. Create various shooting challenges such as target games, timed rounds, or obstacle courses to keep things interesting.

  5. Archery Snow Sculptures: Combine creativity with archery by sculpting snow targets or archery-themed sculptures in the snow. Use shovels, buckets, and other tools to create unique shapes and designs, then practice shooting at your snowy creations.

  6. Winter Archery Hunt: Create a mock hunting scenario by setting up 3D animal targets in the snowy woods around the cabin. Practice your archery skills by navigating through the winter landscape and taking aim at the targets as if on a real hunt.

  7. Snowflake Shooting Challenge: Cut out paper snowflakes and attach them to foam targets or cardboard. Challenge yourself and others to see who can hit the center of the snowflakes with their arrows, adding a festive touch to your archery practice.

  8. Archery Ice Fishing: Combine ice fishing with archery by setting up targets on the ice near your fishing hole. Take turns casting your lines and shooting at the targets while waiting for bites, creating a unique and fun winter activity.

  9. Winter Archery Relay Races: Divide into teams and compete in relay races where participants ski or snowshoe to designated shooting stations, shoot arrows at targets, and then tag the next team member to continue the race. The team with the fastest time wins!

  10. Nighttime Glow Archery: Use glow sticks or LED lights to illuminate targets for a nighttime archery session. Set up targets in the snow or hang them from trees, then shoot arrows using glow-in-the-dark fletching or lighted nocks for a magical and exciting experience.


    Sign up for archery lessons in Toronto by contacting Don't wait, prebook your archery lessons today!

Archery Biathlon Scoring


How does scoring work in an archery biathlon?


In the regular biathlon (skiing with rifles) the Biathletes ski as fast as they can, then they must quickly calm down to shoot a target the size of a loonie 50 meters (55 yards) away from a prone position and shoot a second target the size of a Tim Horton's coffee cup lid from a standing position. Each time they miss they have to ski a penalty loop that is 150 meters long, which costs them a lot of valuable time.

Thus it is definitely a race. The first one across the finishing line wins.

So technically there is no scoring. You either get across the finishing line first or your don't.

There are also a number of challenges the biathletes face: How much wax they have on their skis, whether the snow is soft or hard or muddy, wind, rain, snow, fog. It is a true challenge and every competition will be uniquely different due to the snow and weather conditions.

The Archery Biathlon is very similar. They still have the challenge of skiing in adverse conditions and then calming down to shoot, but shooting a bow is much more challenging as they have to be very calm to get more accuracy.

So what are the differences?

#1. Archers don't shoot from a prone position, although they could in theory shoot from a kneeling position.
#2. They shoot three arrows instead of two bullets.
#3. They must hit a 20 cm wide target that is 20 meters away. It doesn't matter where they hit on the target (center or edge), so long as it is a confirmed hit.

So for every arrow that misses they still have to do the penalty loop, which is normally* 150 meters.

* The exact rules of archery biathlons can sometimes vary upon who is hosting them. The hosts make the rules.

Note - During the summer archers could still do something similar if they wanted to. "Run Archery" is a similar sport, but archers could also in theory use roller-blades or other methods of transportation to create their own sport. eg. Equestrian archers could use the above rules to compete on horseback.

Fun Fact

The Norse god Ullr is quite literally the god of the archery biathlon.

Trust the Norse to actually have a god for this sport, which back then was also a matter of hunting, survival and warfare.

Archery at the Canada Winter Games is an Indoor Sport

So here is the official description on the Canada Games website:

"Archery began on the program of the Canada Summer Games during the 1977 Canada Games in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Its last appearance as an outdoor sport was at the 1997 Canada Summer Games in Brandon, Manitoba. The 2003 Canada Winter Games was archery’s introduction as an indoor sport on the Canada Winter Games program."

If the concept of archery being an indoor sport with winter competitions seems weird to you, I agree. It is weird. I mean, if it is a winter sport, then why have it indoors? To me a winter sport should definitely be outdoors (with the exception of figure skating / etc).

Also to me archery is, and always will be, an outdoor sport, and furthermore an all-season sport.

Yes, archery can be done indoors, but then you are missing a large aspect of the sport. Learning how to adapt to the weather conditions, like how to adjust your aim based on the wind.

Moving it indoors during the winter is somewhat logical, as it is warmer certainly, but you could just as easily make the same argument for all summer sports. Move them indoors where it is air conditioned. It is the same logic.

Take the CFL for example, the Canadian Football League. Maybe that should be moved indoors completely so there is zero snow on the football field and during the summer everyone is air conditioned. It is the same logic.

But again people would be missing the point. Snow and heat is part of the game in Canada. The CFL wouldn't be the CFL if it was always the same indoor temperature.

Same with archery.

High school students typically practice archery indoors because of practical safety reasons. That is the sole reason. The sport is considered to be too risky to be doing outdoors in a soccer field that most likely borders on a residential neighbourhood and/or local streets where cars could be driving by.

But for a large organization like the Canada Games to move archery indoors it shows the continued trend towards abandoning many of the traditional aspects of archery.

They only have two styles of archery at the Canada Games: Compound and Olympic Recurve. No barebow competition, no traditional recurves, no longbows, no horsebows.

Instead everything is compounds and Olympic recurves. Gadgets galore doing the job that traditional archers do by learning positive habits that improve their accuracy.

Now that doesn't mean I despise compounds and Olympic recurves, I happen to own 4 of them.

But it does bother me that the sport has become all about gadgets and elitism. There should be, at very least, a barebow category at the Canada Games. People across Canada, the USA and the rest of the world do compete at various types of barebow competitions. So it isn't like there aren't people competing at barebow. It is simply that organizations like the Canada Games, the Olympic Games, the Pan Am Games haven't bothered to include barebow category.


Elitism and Exclusion-ism. It isn't just a matter of being elitist, it is about excluding people.

It wasn't always this way. Archery was part of the sports rosters of various competitions decades ago, and the sport was dropped due to waning popularity and later brought back when the sport became more popular.

When archery returned to the Olympics after decades of absence the sport was so drastically altered. The bows were suddenly full of gadgets that act as crutches for archers, some of whom probably never learned how to shoot without the crutches. It is so full of gadgets it is actually a turn off for many spectators like myself.

Do you know what traditional archers call the cams on compound bows?

"Training Wheels."

So there is also some bad blood between "traditional archers" and the Olympic / compound archers.

There is also several competition problems... the current method of competitions at the Olympics is to have duels wherein two archers compete against each other and the winner proceeds up the rankings. They do this because the older method of competing was considered to be too boring for spectators. Honestly, it is still boring to watch. But there is a second problem in that this method can sometimes mean that a good archer could have 1 or 2 bad rounds and then is knocked out of the rankings by a lesser archer who had 1 or 2 lucky rounds. So while skill still matters, luck throws a wrench into the rankings.

The old system of shooting and the archer with the highest overall points wins gold may also be boring, but there was less chance that luck would play a larger role in deciding who wins.

Some competitions still use the old system. The archers might shoot a score out of 300. 30 arrows x 10 points for the maximum possible score. In the event of a tie for the top score, the archer with the most bullseyes wins the tie.

The more grueling competitions go for even bigger number. 400, 500, 600 or more. The higher the number is the more accurate the result is said to be, because it eliminates the factor of luck more and more.

Having competed outdoors I know that wind is a big factor in that luck and that it plays two key roles:

1. It effects the arrow. Which means the archer's skill at adjusting their aim for the wind is being tested.

2. The wind pushes the archer physically, making it more difficult to relax and stand still while performing the shot.

But lets pretend you have a competition and the weather that day is very windy. The archers that adjust for the wind correctly, and resist the effects of the wind pushing them, are going to score higher.

That isn't luck any more, that is skill and experience. The archer who likely wins the competition will be the one who is the most skilled at adjusting their aim for the changing wind conditions, often the archer who has practiced the most, had the most experience dealing with the wind, and is otherwise very skilled at archery.

That to me is the evidence of the archer who has truly practiced and excelled, because they shoot well even under the harshest conditions. It is one thing to shoot well indoors, in air conditioning, but to shoot well when it is too hot, too cold, raining, windy - that means the archer has practiced in those conditions and knows how to react.

So how would I fix these competitions?

#1. Make the competitions outdoors, the way archery is meant to be. Find a safe place where it can be done properly.

#2. Use a mixture of the duels system and the overall top score system. Shoot the duels, so the audience is excited to watch, but the archer with the top overall score should still win gold. The duels should just be for show. Every archer does 5 duels, with each duel consisting of 5 rounds of 3 arrows. Thus each duel produces a score out of 150. Do five of these duels and they get a score out of 750. The archer with the highest score wins gold. Who the archers face in their duels is based on their overall score, but again it is just for show, and they never duel the same archer twice.

#3. Add more categories. Get rid of the Elitism and Exclusion-ism.

  • Longbow
  • Traditional Recurve
  • Archery Biathlon *Winter Only*
  • Equestrian Archery

And I would bet money that when people go to the Olympic Games and see things like Archery Biathlon and Equestrian Archery and there would be no shortage of spectators for those sports. They would be a joy to watch.

Update - I have a newer post about how scoring in an Archery Biathlon works.

Stay in Shape for the Winter with Weightlifting

Winter is Coming...

And many people don't exercise as much during the winter, as not everyone is into winter sports like skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, Archery Biathlon and more.

Or even if they are into such sports, keep reading, because weightlifting can also be used to cross-train in other sports.

Speaking for myself, every winter I come up with a series of weightlifting exercises using dumbbells that I can do 4 to 5 days per week, and I usually toss in some bodyweight exercises too.

Doing these exercises largely target the upper body, but if the individual desires they can also do squats and other exercises which focus on the legs.

Sample Dumbbell Exercises

#1. Bicep Curls

#2. Overhead Tricep Lifts

#3. Deltoid Lifts - Front Deltoids, Side Deltoids, Back Deltoids

#4. Oblique Twists

#5. Oblique Lifts

#6. Forearm Twist and Shuffle - Holding the dumbbell, twist your forearm and pass the dumbbell to your left hand. Twist the dumbbell in your left hand and pass it back. Repeat. Cue the disco music.

#7. Dumbbell Rowing - You will need a sturdy rope, a chin-up bar, and a dumbbell to do this exercise. A handle for the rope helps too. Tie one end to the dumbbell, lift the rope over the chin-up bar, tie the other end to handle. Sit down and brace your feet against the sides of the door. Proceed to row. This exercise will target your back muscles (eg. rhomboids), your back deltoids, and your triceps.

#8. One Arm Dumbbell Rowing - No chin up bar or rope? Do an one arm dumbbell row instead.

Sample Body Weight Exercises

A. Chin Ups - Biceps and shoulders. Helps to have a chin-up bar.

B. Push Ups - Triceps, shoulders and pectorals. For extra challenge try decline pushups.

C. Sit Ups - Abdominals. For extra challenge try decline sit ups.

D. Squats - Legs. For extra challenge hold dumbbells in your hand or wear a heavy backpack while doing the squats.

E. Jumping Jacks - Yes, also a cardio, but any form of jumping is technically also a body weight exercise.


For best results, try to do a variety of different exercises so you get a full body workout. The more variety, the better the workout is.

Weightlifting Tips

  1. Do the exercises slowly. Don't rush through them.
  2. Focus on proper form so you don't hurt yourself.
  3. Make a checklist of which exercises you want to do every workout.
  4. Keep a journal of which exercises you did and the size of the dumbbells so you can see your progression over time.
  5. You don't need lots of expensive exercise equipment. Start with some 10 or 15 lb dumbbells and work your way up. When you are ready, go buy some 20s. When you get bored of those, 25s.
  6. Use lightweight dumbbells at the beginning of the workout. Don't use the heavy dumbbells until the end.
  7. Pace yourself. Take a 30 second breather between exercises.
  8. Don't drink excessively while weightlifting. Have a good drink of water after you complete your workout.
  9. Set a schedule so you have a set time each day that you do your workout.
  10. Do the workout even if tired or stressed. Weightlifting helps reduce stress, and you will sleep better after your workout.
  11. Doing your workout in the morning before shower/breakfast helps wake you up faster than coffee.
  12. Doing your workout in the evening, right before an evening snack and sleeping, helps tire you out and improves your sleep.
  13. Yes, you can do two or more workouts per day. What is stopping you? Are your legs broken?
  14. Excuses and procrastination are for lazy people who never accomplish anything.
  15. Start today. Do it today. Do it again tomorrow.
  16. If you fall off the horse, don't despair. Just get right back on the horse. Remember Tip #11.
  17. Play music or watch TV while exercising. Make it part of your routine to listen to your favourite songs or watch your favourite shows while exercising.
  18. If recuperating from an injury focus on other exercises that don't utilize the body part that is injured. eg. Shoulder injury? Time to focus on leg exercises and the other arm.

Weightlifting Tips for Parents

  • If you have small children you can involve your baby or toddler in your weightlifting exercise. A 20 lb baby can be quite the workout. Think of it as quality time with your baby. Don't drop the baby or do anything common sense would say is a bad idea.
  • If you have older kids and they want to join you in your workouts, get smaller dumbbells that are just for them to use. eg. 3 lb or 5 lb. Such a small amount will be more than enough for their needs.

Archery Biathlon Lessons in Toronto


"Hi I came across an old post about archery ski instruction out of Toronto.
Wondering if you’re still coaching or if you can point me in the direction of someone who is in the Toronto area (or somewhere within a drive ).

E. M."


Hello E!

Yes, I still coach that but only on weekends.

Would you like to book for January?

If you have any questions feel free to ask. Have a good day!

Charles Moffat
Follow Up Comments
So yes, I still teach Archery Biathlon - but I rarely get requests for that. Not many people want archery lessons during the winter, and even less are interested in learning the sport of Archery Biathlon.
So E's email made me realize I should do a post that confirms, yes, I do still offer archery biathlon lessons (and winter archery lessons), and there has been a few changes and I do want to remind people of the following.
#1. I only teach Archery Biathlon during the weekends.
#2. Winter Archery Lessons are likewise only available on weekends.
#3. Winter lessons of either are one-on-one only. No pairs or groups of 3.
#4. You will need your own skis and ski gear. I do not provide those for you. I only provide the archery equipment, if you need it. If you have your own archery equipment and prefer to use it, that is fine too.

#5. Remember to dress for the weather, using multiple tight-fitting layers of warm clothing. Avoid bulky sleeves and bulky jackets.

#6. Definitely remember to bring a hot drink with you. Snacks are a good idea too.

#7. Lesson Plan:

  • Lesson 1 will include a Safety Lecture, Eye Dominance Test, Lecture on Aiming, Lecture on Proper Form, Archery Biathlon Practice combined with Field Archery Practice (aka "Field Archery Biathlon").
  • Lessons 2 will start with "Target Archery Biathlon", and include a lecture in the middle about arrowheads.
  • Lesson 3 will focus on "Long Distance Archery Biathlon", and include a lecture in the middle about arrow spine.
  • Lesson 4 will introduce how to use a Sight and Stabilizer and focus on "Target Archery Biathlon". At some point during the lesson we will be waxing the bowstring and waxing the skis.
  • Lesson 5 will focus on "Archery Biathlon Speed Shooting" - because it is fun, and why not do something fun for the final lesson?
How many lessons a person signs up for is up to them, but we should be able to schedule in 5 lessons during January / February when there is ample snow on the ground. If the snow starts melting too much towards the end of winter we may simply be doing "archery lessons" and skip the skiing aspect.

You notice also that E. asked about other locations where she could learn archery biathlon. Unfortunately I am unaware of anyone else in Toronto (or remotely near the GTA) who teaches archery biathlon.
To sign up for Winter Archery Lessons or Archery Biathlon send an email to

Winter Archery Photography

March 20th 2018.

While I do teach archery during the winter, not a lot of people sign up for Winter Archery Lessons during that time period. Usually people prebook for the Spring or Summer instead.

When I am at the archery range during the winter I often forget to take out my camera and take some photographs while I am there. I often forget to do that even during the warmer months. Having too much fun perhaps? It is a very enjoyable sport.

Heck, I will sometimes bring my tripod and everything, and I will still forget to set up the camera to make a video or take some photos. Am I just forgetful?

Maybe so.

Still, here is a collection of some of the archery photography I have taken this winter and previous winters. (This is not a complete listing of every photograph. I have many more... Some of which you may be able to see by visiting my Instagram account at .)

Easter Weekend, I forget what year this was...

So how snowy is it in March?

Honestly, not very snowy. Below is a photo of a friend I took on March 10th. As you can see by the lack of snow and his garb, all the snow has already melted and it isn't that cold outside.

March 11th 2018

March 17th 2018

Seriously, all the snow has long since melted.

Tomorrow is March 21st, the first day of Spring.

And right around this time of year is when my email is usually flooded with messages from people asking for archery lessons in the Spring and Summer. So go ahead. Shoot me an email at and schedule your archery lessons in Toronto.

But for anyone in future winters who are reading this, you can also book winter archery lessons if you want to. Or prebook for the summer. Whichever.

Lovely Winter Weather for Archery / Antique Bows

On Saturday I was very tempted to go do some archery, as the weather was warm (10 degrees or so) and a bit foggy. Unfortunately I had chores to do around the home so that was not to be despite the beautiful warm weather on Saturday.

I also have two *new* bows with brand new bowstrings that I want to try out sometime soon.

The two bows are:

A 1949 Bear Grizzly Static (Grayling)

A 1960s Archery Craft Toronto 64" Longbow

(Photos forthcoming.)

I purchased them both back in 2016 but had to wait to get custom made bowstrings for the two bows before I can use them. I strung them up two nights ago to exercise the limbs a little bit.

This is the thing about antique bows. When you buy an antique bow you should not be full drawing them right away. Instead you want to exercise them because they may not have been drawn in a very long time. Exercising them improves their life expectancy.

To exercise a bow you string the bow (preferably using a bowstringer) and then lightly pull on it a few inches. You repeat this process many times and then leave the bow strung for an hour or two.

Then you unstring the bow and leave it alone.

A day later or a few days later, you repeat the process. This time you *might* decide to draw it a bit further, always being cautious to never pull it to full draw.

Only after the bow has been exercised multiple times do you begin full drawing - and this assumes you have a normal draw length. If you any weird noises (pings or clicking sounds) this is a bad sign and you should immediately stop. A loud cracking noise would be really bad.

I feel more confident about exercising the Bear Grizzly Static as the limbs are made with an aluminum core.

The Archery Craft Toronto bow I purchased from a woman in Montreal, so to me that was a case of bringing an antique longbow made in Toronto back to Toronto where it belongs. I am less worried about shooting that bow and more interested in it as a collector's item and museum piece (it is my long term goal to someday open an archery museum).

If you have a really long draw length of 29 inches or more, then you probably should not be purchasing the really old antiques. Bows from the 1970s or 1980s you would probably be okay with, especially if they are compounds or fibreglass recurves, but for people with longer draw lengths you need to be extra careful overdrawing an antique.

I have a few antiques that even now I never full draw them. eg, I have 1942 Ben Pearon lemonwood longbow which still shoots well, but I only pull it to roughly 26 or 27 inches when using it. It may be lemonwood (a very good tropical bow wood), but because it is 75 years old I am super cautious with it.

I also have several antique bows that are meant for children - which are basically decorative and not used at all. Maybe someday I will let younger family members use them. Or maybe they will simply decorate my walls, or likewise a presumptive archery museum.

Buying antique bows there is always a risk you might break the bow. It hasn't happened to me yet, but I did have one bow make weird noises two years ago. It was a 1952 Roy Rogers longbow meant for kids. I drew it back and clearly was drawing it too far when I heard a sharp click sound from the bow limb. That is a bow that is evidently meant to have a short draw length and should never be drawn by anyone who is taller than the bow.

Having been making my own bows for almost 28 years now I should also say you do some of the same things during the tillering process of making a bow. If you hear a click or ping sound when tillering, you need to stop and examine the bow limbs for any signs of cracks or chips in the wood. Last winter I did a bowmaking class here in Toronto and a topic that came up during the class of what to do if a bow makes such a sound during the tillering process.

There was a number of solutions, but the most obvious one was: Don't shoot that bow because it could break. The alternatives were time consuming and didn't guarantee the bow would be safe to shoot. It would be less time consuming and safer just to start from scratch and make a whole new bow.

Toronto's $88 million hockey / skating arena still not completed

Back in August 2010, Toronto decided to build an $88 million hockey and skating arena on Toronto's waterfront, near Commissioners St. and Don Roadway. At the time $34 million had already been earmarked for the project. The city was contemplating a bond (essentially a mortgage) to help pay for the rest of the arena plus additional funding from the Ontario government. I am not sure how they raised the rest of the money, but the 'finding the money part' was presumably done years ago.)

Artists Rendition, circa August 2010
An user surcharge was designed to help pay off the bond over a period of 30 years. The arena complex will include four NHL-size ice rinks stacked above each other, spectator seating, restaurants, meeting rooms, an indoor track for running. The indoor arena will be ideal for tournaments and allow Torontonians to hone their ice skating skills even in the off season. The facility will act as a regional sports complex.

The building is designed to be environmentally sustainable (which is important since its build near the waterfront and can't be leaking waste into the lake) and may include an Olympic-sized rink for speed skaters and figure skaters (which would be great for if Toronto ever gets another shot at hosting the Olympics).

There was also some concerns about migratory birds flying into the nearly-all-glass structure so there are also plans to make it more bird-friendly.

So yeah, this was all announced and planned for back in August 2010.

Only one problem. It still has not been built.

As of April 2015, the only thing completed is that land was set aside for the new building and proverbial plans were still being made. The latest estimate is that building won't be built until 2018 at the earliest.

Meanwhile Toronto Mayor John Tory has been threatening to shut down 35 skating rinks across Toronto.

 To which you might ask, how many skating rinks does Toronto currently have? 49.

So 49 - 35 would leave 14 left open.

And since this is Toronto, and politicians in Toronto are corrupt, the 14 that get left open would probably be in rich neighbourhoods. Rich neighbourhoods with outdoor rinks that have been sponsored by companies like Natrel.

Below is the Natrel Rink on Torontos Harbourfront, a wealthy neighbourhood with lots of condos. The Natrel Rink is boasted to be "The most scenic rink in the city", but it only continues to exist thanks to its corporate sponsor, Natrel, maker of milk and cheese products, based in Montreal, Quebec. And guaranteed when choosing which ice rink to sponsor, Natrel opted for the "pretty one in a rich neighbourhood".

The Natrel Rink at 235 Queens Quay West

So Mayor John Tory is shutting down ice rinks across Toronto, but somehow back in 2010 the city managed to cough up $88 million to build 4 new ice rinks down on Toronto's Waterfront - but that conveniently hasn't been built yet and seems to be caught in a time loop of "Oh, we're still making plans for it." Something is fishy down on the waterfront...

Heads up Toronto. We will be having another Mayoral Election in 2018. If you appreciate hockey or ice skating, please don't vote for the idiot currently in office. True, he may not be as bad as Rob Ford, the worst mayor in Toronto's history, but that bar is pretty low and that doesn't mean John Tory deserves re-election.

In other news, please go outside and appreciate the ice rinks that Toronto does have. While we still have them.

No Ice Skating this Winter, 2016-17


I am not teaching ice skating during the Winter of 2016-2017. I am however teaching Winter Archery and Archery Biathlon to anyone interested in learning such things.

I will be using my extra time to focus on finishing writing my archery book.

Happy Yuletide Season from Cardio Trek!

Happy Yuletide Season!

It is December 21st and that means the Yuletide season has officially begun. Time for folks all over the world to celebrate Odin and his 8 legged flying horse Sleipnir while he and his army of elves delivers gifts to all the good girls and boys via chimneys.

So get yourself a Yule log, cut down a tree as per the Old Norse tradition, celebrate with friends and family by eating ham and alcohol, pull on some big thick socks, go outside and go caroling from house to house while singing Nordic songs, visit sacred groves of trees, get kissed under a Mistletoe, and all that good stuff.

Other things you can do this Winter:

#1. Go skiing to celebrate Ullr, the Norse God of Skiing. (Ullr is also the Norse god of bowhunting.) Or just go skiing because it is fun. Downhill or cross country or even the Biathlon with Bow or Rifle, they are all good. :)

The logo on the right is for Archery Biathlon, but I am sure Ullr would approve.

#2. Go snowshoeing. Because it is a lot of fun.

Below are photos of myself snowshoeing back in (I think it was) March 2016. I am looking forward to doing more snowshoeing again this winter.

#3. Icefishing. I am not sure how much exercise is involved in icefishing, but a friend of mine has been bugging me to join them for icefishing for over a year now and I would really like to try it.

#4. Join the Polar Bear Club of Toronto - People of all ages jumping in the freezing cold water, running around in the cold water, and then hanging out afterwards. It is really freezing but people sure seem to love doing it. See

#5. Winter Archery Lessons. Yes, it is true. I do teach archery during the winter. See my archery lessons page for rates.

#6. Go for a Winter Hike in the Woods - Take the dog, friends, family, and your camera with you and get some amazing photography done. Want a great place to visit? Try the nature trails near Hilton Falls (Milton Ontario). The frozen waterfalls makes for some pretty amazing photography.

#7. Go for a Winter Hike and Go Bird Watching. You can really do this practically anywhere. Birds are surprisingly plentiful, even in the winter.

#8. Pick One of the Following
  • Ice Skating
  • Build Snowforts
  • Make Ice Sculptures
  • Winter Surfing or Windsurfing
  • Icycling with Studded Tires
  • Winter Jogging
  • Rock/Ice Climbing
  • Curling
  • Outdoor Axe Throwing
  • Winter Winery Tours in Niagara Region
  • Jet Skiing
  • Sleigh Rides
  • Snowmobiling
  • Winter Caving / Spelunking
  • Snowboarding
  • Tobogganing
  • Snow Rafting


Truly the Norse were on the right track with their Yuletide traditions of celebrating winter.

Question: Do you teach Winter Archery Lessons?



Do you teach archery lessons during the winter? How much for 3 lessons? Are the lessons outdoors?

- D.S."


Hey D.S.

Yes, yes I do teach Winter Archery Lessons. Three lessons are $170 for 3 lessons (for 1 person). And yes, they are outdoors, although I limit myself to only teaching on days that are:

  • -5° C or warmer.
  • Not snowing or raining.
  • Not incredibly windy.

I recommend also reading my Archery Lessons Syllabus so you have a better idea of what each of the lessons will be focusing on. While Winter Lessons do have a stronger focus on skills that are useful during the winter, the overall scope of the lessons remains the same as the normal lessons.

If you have additional questions feel free to ask. Have a great day!

Charles Moffat

About Winter Archery Lessons

2016-2017 Winter Archery Lesson Rates

Weekday Morning / Afternoon Rates (Start Time: 10 AM to 2 PM)

1 Student
$60 for 90 minutes; 3 Lessons - $170; 5 Lessons - $270; 10 Lessons - $520.

Weekend Rates (Start Time
: 10 AM to 2 PM)

1 Student
$90 for 90 mins; 3 Lessons - $255; 5 Lessons - $405; 10 Lessons - $780.


All equipment is provided during archery lessons. Winter Archery Gloves are also provided in a variety of sizes. Buying your own equipment is not mandatory, but it is optional.

I also teach Archery Biathlon (combination of cross country skiing and archery), so if a person is interested in learning that they just have to ask. I do not provide the skis or poles however, so that is something you would need to purchase or already own if you are interested in doing Archery Biathlon.

Snowshoes are handy if the snow is really deep. Again, not mandatory.

Wearing temperature appropriate clothing is mandatory. I also strongly recommend bringing a thermos filled with a hot drink.

See Also

Winter Archery Practice, Part One

Winter Archery Practice, Part Two

Winter Archery Practice, Part Two

Winter archery is one of those sports which can be exceptionally rewarding and great exercise, but so few people even dare to go outside during the winter and try it.

I have written a fair bit on the topic over the years, including a Guide to Winter Archery for a few years ago. More recently I have even been tempted to write a book on the topic, elaborating on an aspect of archery that few archers do and apparently don't know what they are missing.

See my previous post on this topic: Winter Archery Practice, Part One

Winter archery ends up having a very "survival-esque" feel to it. You are out there, embracing the cold and the wind, and you are learning to shoot despite the adverse conditions. Not everyone is into that, in the same way that not everyone is into going cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, ice fishing, or various other winter activities. But if the mentioning of those activities bring back fond memories for you, now you begin to comprehend my love of winter archery.

Contrary to popular belief, I do teach archery lessons during the winter. But I also pick and choose which days I go outside to practice. Which brings me to the following...

Five Tips for Winter Archery

#1. Check the forecast and schedule a time.

I set a goal every week during the winter of going outside at least once to practice archery. I look at the forecast, compare with my schedule, and then try to pick a day that isn't a blizzard, the weather looks sunny or mostly sunny, and thus I mitigate the worst weather conditions. It also means I am making an active effort to schedule my archery practice, as many people will often say they want to do something, but if they don't actually schedule it then they will forget to do it.

#2. Prepare for the Day.

This covers everything from having the right clothes to wear, bringing a thermos of hot chocolate, coffee or tea with you, and even more basic things like knowing all your equipment is packed up / in good condition to go shooting. If you forget to buy the necessities / repair equipment, and have them ready to go then the day of shoot might come and you will decide to skip it because "Oh, I forgot to re-fletch those arrows. I might as well not go." Preparing for something also implies that you should double-check you have everything, in which case I recommend making a list and confirming you have everything well ahead of time.

In my case "preparing for winter archery" during the Winter of 2015/2016 also meant growing a beard so it would keep my face warm while shooting.

Last Winter I grew a beard to keep my face warm.
Behind me is a friend I invited out to the range.
#3. Bring a Friend with you.

Archery is always more fun with a friend to talk to, regardless of the season. They might be already into archery, or they might be more of a spectator.

Just make sure that if you do bring a friend that they are not one of those who get cold easily, wear inappropriate/inadequate clothing when outdoors, and/or are whiners. Nothing is worse than doing a winter activity outdoors and you brought your whiny friend who hates being cold but apparently doesn't know how to prepare for cold weather. Instead bring the friend you know LOVES being outside in the winter, knows how to dress warmly, and embraces adventure and conversation. (If you are like me, you can think of a couple people already that fit that description. Or if you live in Toronto, send me an email and we can hang out sometime. I will invite a couple friends and we can make it a group event.)

Every year the Toronto Archery Club sometimes has several winter archery meetups too, usually one in early December, another in mid January, a third on Valentines, and a fourth on St Patrick's Day. That way you can also meet new people and enjoy the sport as a larger group.

#4. Know your Limits.

Knowing what distances you can accurately shoot at is handy. It is very easy to lose arrows in the snow if you are shooting at distances you know you are less than accurate at. You should also set a time limit for how long you are going to be outside. 90 minutes or 2 hours for example might be a good idea.

#5. Take Breaks.

With a winter activity like ice fishing all you really do is sit around and talk, maybe read and hope that the fish bite the hook. With winter archery you will eventually get cold and/or tired, as the cold will sap your endurance and strength. To remedy this you should take regular breaks to "warm your innards" with a hot drink, or possibly even visiting the indoors for a few minutes before later returning back outside. For example, one thing you should do before you even go outside is to take a bathroom break. A full bladder means your body is expending energy keeping all that liquid warm, but an empty bladder means you have more energy keeping YOU warm. Thus if you feel the need to go at some point, go take a bathroom break and you will discover you will be warmer afterwards because you will no longer be wasting energy keeping excess liquid warm. Taking regular breaks will also improve your endurance and strength levels, so that you are shooting better and don't start making mistakes due to fatigue.

Want more tips? Leave a comment below and I shall write more on the topic of Winter Archery.

Happy Shooting!

Examining some rabbit tracks in the snow.

Canadian women's hockey - why is it not televised more often???

Canada's Women's Olympic Hockey Team took the gold two years ago in February 2014 in a nail biting game against Team USA. The USA was winning most of the game 2 to nothing, and then the Canadian women tied it up during the last 5 minutes of the 3rd period - followed by winning in overtime.

It was a truly memorable and entertaining game.

But it made us think:

Why does the CBC not broadcast women's hockey games more often?

I mean once every 4 years at the Olympics seems like showing a lot of favouritism towards men's hockey, especially when the NHL is basically all year round when you are living in Canada.

And what is more, the broadcasting rights for Hockey Night in Canada was lost. The CBC lost the rights back in November 2013 when Rogers Telecommunications outbid them in a huge 12-year landmark deal worth $5.2 billion CDN.

A sub-licensing agreement with CBC allows the public broadcaster to continue airing "Hockey Night in Canada" on Saturday nights for four years - and then they will lose the rights to air after that.

Which to me means it is now time for Canadian women's hockey to shine.

Think of this as an opportunity for the CBC to finally - after decades of waiting - to finally broadcast women's hockey on a regular basis.

The CWHL (Canadian Women's Hockey League) was founded in 2007 and has 5 teams:

Boston Blades
Brampton Thunder
Calgary Inferno
Montreal Stars
Toronto Furies

The members of many of those teams represented Canada in the Olympics. So we know they are really good at what they do.

If the CBC started broadcasting their games we would see a huge rise in attendance, more people becoming fans of CWHL, more support for women's hockey in general.

Hockey Night in Canada? I say it is past time for Women's Hockey Night in Canada.

See also: Women's Hockey in Canada at a Crossroads

Women's Hockey in Canada at a Crossroads

The post below is regarding the 2010 Winter Olympics, during which Canadian women hockey players took the gold. The post below was originally written in 2010, but has since been reposted here.

See also our 2nd post on this topic: Canadian women's hockey - why is it not televised more often???

Not a lot of women around the world play hockey. Heck, not a lot of men do either. As a sport its really only popular in Canada, the USA, northern Europe and Russia. There are other countries who send women's hockey teams to the Olympics, but its really only a token effort because they don't really spend much on their teams beyond buying all the women on the team a custom hockey jersey and paying for their transportation to the Olympics. Just a hunch, but the women on the poorer country teams probably have to pay for their hockey equipment.

The future of women's hockey has become problematic as far as the Olympics is concerned. Since becoming an Olympic sport Canada has won 3 of the 4 Olympic golds and the USA has won the other 1 remaining. No other nation has either come close. (In 2014 Canada won gold again, bringing the total to 4 golds for Canada, 1 for the USA.)

The problem doesn't end there however. There is no professional Women's Hockey League televised on TV or broadcast on the internet. Women hockey players are basically unpaid amateurs.

The IOC (International Olympic Committee) is thinking of dumping women's hockey as a sport because nobody else has been able to beat Canada or the USA in hockey. Not even the Russians or the Swedes, or any other Scandinavian country which is usually pretty good at hockey.

This lack of competition has the IOC thinking about dropping the puck on women's hockey and ditching it altogether.

At the IIHF World Championships Canada won 9 of the 12 available gold medals. Team USA won the other 3. At the Olympics Sweden is the only one to get a silver (by beating Team USA in 2006) and Sweden and Finland have managed to take home bronzes during other years and at the World Championships Sweden, Finland and Russia have gained medals, but likewise have been shut out of the gold.

Part of the problem is that Canada has a lot more minor/amateur hockey competitions for women to do / join. Other countries don't have the teams and tournaments available for young women to join, strengthen their skill in the sport and get better at it.

Its a bit like those poor North Korean soccer players who sucked so bad at the World Cup because they had diddly squat for experience.

Just look at the scores: The Canadian women's hockey team has scored an astonishing 140 times and only been scored on 9 times. The USA trails with 107-12. When our teams are that good it becomes evident the other teams are just amateurs trying as best as they can.

The good news is that many people in North America take hockey as a sport seriously. There is a market and support for a professional women's hockey league, but the question of getting it started is the real issue. Canada has 77,000+ women's hockey players. The USA has 60,000+. Import the best players from Russia and northern Europe (just like we do for the NHL) and while the games are hosted in North America it really becomes an international sport.

In theory it doesn't have to be hosted/limited to North America. An International Women's Hockey League (IWHL) would work just as well.

The hope then is that women's hockey will become a permanent thing with other countries gaining more experienced players... but at the same time women's hockey will finally be getting the respect it deserves.

In the photos above Team Canada celebrates the gold with beer and cigars. The behaviour caused a bit of an uproar at the time but it was all in good fun. (Six years later it seems ridiculous as most people probably don't even remember that incident.)

It should be noted that one of the objections to women's hockey is the fistfights that sometimes happen. Its considered normal for hockey, but not normal for women (hence why women's boxing has had troubles being accepted in the past).

"Its not a sport until a fight breaks out."

Toronto getting exercise after freak snowstorm + Snowshoeing

Last night the fiancée and I visited my future mother-in-law and the three of us watched the season finale of The Walking Dead - and marveled at the freak blizzard out the window. This is not so unusual for Canada, but it is unusual for April.

By the time we left to go home our car was covered (shown here on right) and the snow was falling so fast it was difficult to clean the car fast enough because the snow kept adding more.

When we got home I had to shovel the driveway out before we could even park the car, because it is on an uphill slope and it was too slippery to get the car up into the driveway properly until after it had been shoveled.

So thanks to the weather many of Toronto's residents are getting some extra exercise cleaning off their cars or shoveling their driveways.

Today is my day off so I am going snowshoeing for fun - in April.

If you have ever gone Snowshoeing before then you know it is an exhausting exercise. However I will point out that with modern snowshoes it is easier than the old fashioned snowshoes.

I will update this post later with some photos of my snowshoes in action. (See Update Further Below.)

Snowshoeing Notes and Tips

If you have poles, might as well use them. Keeps your arms moving = extra exercise.

Make sure your snowshoes actually fit you. I recommend trying them on inside before heading outside so you know how to put them on easily and that they do fit you.

Wear boots. Shoes won't do it. Maybe don't wear steel-toed boots like I do, but hey, I am used to them.

Dress warm in multiple layers. If you get too hot while exercising you can unzip or unbutton a layer.

Bring a drink with you. Water, tea, coffee, hot chocolate. Snowshoeing is thirsty work.

Pick a nice circular trail / route, possibly one with different options so you can pick and choose which way to go. Avoid steep hills.

Remember to wash off your snowshoes before storing them. 

The snowshoes in the photos and shown above, in case you are curious, are Yukon 930s (size large). Brand doesn't really matter so much so long as they work and do their job.

Update Below: Photos of my Snowshoes in Action.

Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing and lets talk fitness!


Popular Posts

Cardio Trek Posts