Snowshoeing – it’s for everybody! Just add snow
By Vince Winkel
Consider this is the fastest growing winter sport in the world, because it is.
It's a great way to get outside in winter, get a workout, a refreshing hike, and not worry about sinking in snow that's knee-deep or too deep.
The sport is easy to learn, inexpensive (compared to other winter sports), poses little risk of injury and is a great way to jam on some energy during the cold winter months.
Why go snowshoeing? What started thousands of years ago as a mode of transportation has evolved into a popular winter activity for recreation and fitness.
It's fun: Snowshoeing extends your hiking or running season into winter. It lets you enjoy winter solitude but can be a social activity. All ages and ability levels can enjoy the sport together.
It's easy: As the saying goes, "If you can walk, you can snowshoe." The learning curve is much shorter than that of skiing or snowboarding. A few techniques worth practicing: widening your stance (to avoid stepping on snowshoe frames), going up and down hills, traversing slopes and pole usage.
It's cheap: Required gear includes snowshoes, appropriate footwear and clothing, and (probably) a pair of poles. That's it! No lift ticket is required. Hey Red Fox even rents snowshoes, so give it a test ride.
It's a good workout: Snowshoeing offers low-impact, aerobic exercise that helps you stay in shape during the winter. It's easier than post-holing in deep snow, but you still need to step high in soft snow, sort of like a stair-master without the boredom.
It's versatile: You can go easy or go hard. Plus, you can snowshoe many trails that you can't ski due to tight trees or low-snow conditions.
According to research provided by Snowsports Industries America (SIA), 40.8 percent of snowshoers are women (a number that is increasing rapidly), 9.4 percent of snowshoers are children (ages 7-11), and 44.2 percent of snowshoers are ages 25-44.
The cost for a pair of snowshoes is generally inexpensive. Look to spend on the low-end around $100 and on the high-end around $300.
There are three types of snowshoes ….
- Flat terrain: Designed for easy walking on flat to rolling terrain; ideal for families. Includes entry-level models that offer good value.
- Rolling terrain: Best for hiking on rolling to steep hills; suitable for all but very steep or icy conditions. Good for hiking off the beaten track.
- Mountain terrain: Built with crampons for icy, steep terrain. Aimed at those who blaze their own trails for hiking or backcountry snowboarding.
Get out there, whether you are 7 or 70, you can snowshoe!