Snowshoeing is a fun and accessible winter activity that allows you to explore the great outdoors and enjoy the beauty of winter. Unlike skiing or snowboarding, snowshoeing requires little to no experience, making it the perfect activity for people of all ages and fitness levels. In this article, we’ll explore the basics of snowshoeing and provide some tips on how to make the most of your winter adventures on the trails.
What Are Snowshoes?
Snowshoes are large, flat shoes that are worn over your boots and are designed to help you walk on top of the snow rather than sinking into it. They work by spreading out your weight over a larger surface area, allowing you to stay on top of the snow and move through it more easily. Snowshoes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles to suit different terrains and levels of activity.
If you’re just getting started with snowshoeing, then you can consider renting your gear first as opposed to buying it. The staff at the rental shop should be able to recommend snowshoes that are suitable for both your feet size and weight, as well as the snow conditions that you’ll be snowshoeing in.
Entry models for beginners are flat terrain snowshoes which are great for just about any type of terrain you’ll encounter, making them ideal for beginners.
Dress Properly for Snowshoeing
Just like any encounter with the cold outdoors, make sure you dress in layers. While the snowshoes can be adjusted to fit your boot or shoe, your priority should be to wear socks that keep your feet warm. Sturdy waterproof leather hiking boots usually work well but carry an extra pair of wool socks or two just in case you get your current pair soaked.
Your base layer should be lightweight and comfortable and if the temperature forecast is showing lower numbers, consider putting on a zipper top that helps to keep more warmth inside. The mid layer should be soft shell jackets that have windbreaking or waterproof capabilities but it shouldn’t limit your movements even when wet. Finally the outer layer should be
Before you head out on your first snowshoeing adventure, it’s important to have the right gear. In addition to snowshoes, you’ll need warm clothing, a hat, gloves, and good waterproof boots. You may also want to consider investing in waterproof pants and a warm jacket, as well as a hat and gloves.
Using the Right Techniques
Snowshoeing is a relatively simple activity, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help you get the most out of your experience. To begin, take slow, wide steps and keep your weight evenly distributed over your feet. This will help you avoid sinking into the snow and will make it easier to move forward.
Next, choose a trail that is appropriate for your skill level. Most ski resorts and parks have designated snowshoe trails, which are great for beginners. As you gain more experience, you can venture out into more challenging terrain.
Another important consideration is to wear the proper type of shoes for the conditions. If you are snowshoeing in deep, fluffy snow, you’ll want to wear shoes with a lot of insulation and waterproofing. If you are snowshoeing on packed trails, you may be able to get away with lighter shoes. In either case, make sure that your shoes are well-fitted and comfortable.
Finally, it’s important to stay hydrated and fuel your body with food and drinks, especially when snowshoeing in cold weather. Pack a small backpack with water, snacks, and any other supplies you might need.
Snowshoeing Safety Tips
Snowshoeing is generally a safe activity, but there are a few important safety considerations to keep in mind. First and foremost, always be aware of your surroundings and the weather conditions. If you are snowshoeing in a remote area, make sure someone knows your route and expected return time. Never go out into the woods alone and also try to dress in bright colors that make it easy for others to spot you even from a distance. Bright orange or lime green usually works very well against snowy white backgrounds.
It’s also a good idea to carry a map and compass and to have a basic understanding of how to use them. If you are going on a longer snowshoeing excursion, you may also want to consider carrying a GPS device.
Another important safety consideration is to be aware of the risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce it, and it can be a serious health risk in cold weather. To avoid hypothermia, dress in layers, stay hydrated and avoid overexertion.