The snow, mountains and trees offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are exhilarating ways to experience these natural wonders, but are not for everyone. For those that want to slow down and simply breathe in the world around them, then snowshoeing is the way to go. An activity for the whole family, you can casually walk through the woods or hike to a mountain peak.
Top 10 Tips for Beginner Snowshoers
- You don’t have to sign up for a tour, but make sure you know exactly where you are going so as to not get lost.
- Buy or rent snowshoes- do you research! Depending on the snow you’ll need smaller or larger shoes
- Know your gear- make sure you try your snowshoes at home so you are totally comfortable with them before getting out on the mountain
- Pack extra- carry an extra shirt and socks in case you get wet
- Use poles to help navigate through the snow
- Drink lots of fluids- in cold, wet conditions it’s even easier to become dehydrated
- Bring a small first aid and repair kit, just in case!
- Stretch before your excursion- snowshoeing uses different muscles than you usually use to walk so stretch your legs well before you begin to ease any muscle aches
- Bring a friend- when trying something new it’s always fun and safe to have a friend with you
- Have fun! You are trying something new and adventurous so enjoy yourself!
Different Types of Snowshoes
Snowshoes work so well for hiking through the snow because they provide flotation. This means your weight is spread evenly over a large, flat surface area. Snowshoes are broken down into three types based on the terrain you’ll be exploring. The first type is flat terrain shoes. These are designed for beginners as they have a simple binding system and modest traction features. The second type are rolling terrain snowshoes. These are for mostly flat to moderately sloped terrain and have moderately aggressive traction systems, sturdy bindings and a heel lift. The final type of snowshoe are mountain terrain shoes. These have an aggressive crampon system for traction as well as a sophisticated binding system for hefty boots. Each of these snowshoes is in a different price bracket and serves a different purpose. Do your research on which is right for your excursion.
What to Wear for Snowshoeing
Dressing properly for snowshoeing is of utmost importance. Performing a physical activity while in freezing cold temperatures can cause body heat to fluctuate. Wearing layers and the right gear will help you have the best snowshoeing experience possible. The most important tip is wear lots of layers! Start with a thin base layer and continue adding layers like light jackets, fleeces and long sleeves. As you heat up, you need the ability to cool down by peeling off layers. The second most important thing to remember is to wear proper socks and boots. As you trudge through the snow you have to make sure your feet and toes are warm and toasty. Make sure you have proper boots to help insulate your feet.