Put on a heavy coat and head to the nearest patch of fresh powder.
As of Jan. 1, 2016, there’s now a fourth way to earn the Snow Sports merit badge. Snowshoeing joins downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and snowboarding as options for earning this elective merit badge.
The new requirements, which you can see here, took effect on Jan. 1, 2016. Scouts who started work on the Snow Sports merit badge before Jan. 1, 2016, may continue working using the previous requirements.
The update to the Snow Sports merit badge is indicative of the BSA’s commitment to improving its crop of 136 existing merit badges. I’ve already blogged about the changes to the Eagle-required Cooking merit badge for 2016 and beyond.
In future posts I’ll blog about changes to the Photography merit badge and the Lifesaving merit badge, but you can see those new requirements right now right here.
How to earn the Snow Sports merit badge
After completing the first six requirements, Scouts complete requirement 7 on snowshoes, skis or snowboards. For snowshoeing, they must complete all of these requirements:
(a) Name the parts of a snowshoe.
(b) Explain how to choose the correct size of snowshoe.
(c) Describe the different types of snowshoes and their specialized uses. Discuss factors to consider when choosing a snowshoe.
(d) Explain how to properly care for and maintain snowshoes.
(e) Describe how to make an emergency snowshoe.
(f) Describe areas that are best for snowshoeing. Discuss some advantages and dangers of backcountry snowshoeing.
(g) Discuss the benefits of snowshoeing.
(h) Demonstrate the most efficient ways to break trail, climb uphill, travel downhill and traverse a slope.
(i) Take a two-mile snowshoe hike with a buddy or your troop.
(j) Demonstrate your ability, on a hike, to cope with an average variety of snow conditions.