SNOWPACK BODY-n-ICE KIT Ice-therapy system simulates snow

Most athletes are familiar with the term "R.I.C.E." -- the acronym for "Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation" that is a standard for treating and relieving the aches and pains that invariably go along with their sports.

Rest and elevation are easy enough, but sometimes it can be tough to get ice onto certain places and hold it there long enough to be effective.

There's the old "bag of frozen peas" trick, or crushing ice yourself into a baggie -- but it's hard to crush the ice into a malleable-enough texture to conform to the shape of your joints.

There's also the problem of how to affix the ice to tricky places like your elbow, say, or the side of your knee.

Snowpack has come up with an elegant ice solution with their line of cold-therapy products.

The centerpiece of their system is their patented "Snowpack" cold packs: sealed 6x10-inch bags made of heavy-duty polyethylene and filled with fine-grain "mini-gels" that mimic the feel -- and temperature, obviously -- of snow.

Soft and mushy when at room temperature, the Snowpacks can be frozen solid in your freezer, or chilled for shorter periods of time to produce the right texture and coldness for your therapy needs.

When frozen, the Snowpacks stay cold for up to three hours after removal from the freezer. Unlike other types of gel packs that thaw relatively quickly, Snowpacks mimic the "melting curve" of real ice, providing more even cooling for over two hours of treatment time.

The Snowpacks can be applied by themselves directly to your skin, or can be used inside Snowpack's "SportCover" -- a soft nylon pouch with a stretchy Velcro strap for holding the frozen packs in place on your knee or anywhere else.

I found the SportCover's adjustable elastic strap to be especially handy and comfortable -- it's easy to get the SportCover tight enough so it puts the ice packs right where you want them, and it doesn't slip around. The strap is soft enough to not cut off circulation.

I even tried walking with the SportCover in place (so much for "elevation"), and the SportCover didn't slip.

Snowpack's "Active Basic" Body-n-Ice Kit (designed for a single athlete) comes with two of the Snowpacks, a small insulated carrying case (handy for keeping the packs cold when you're at a race or in your car when training) and a SportCover.

Snowpack also makes an "Active Team" version of the kit, which comes with six Snowpacks, a SportCover and large insulated carrying bag.

For more information on Snowpack's line of products, along with articles about sports injury and ice therapy, visit their Web site.

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