Snowshoeing is a type of hiking that involves walking over snow with the assistance of footwear that displaces weight over a larger area. With origins roughly 4,000 to 6,000 years ago, this is the original snow sport – using the term “sport” loosely. Through the centuries it has played a vital role in remote mountain survival, with trappers and traders utilizing snowshoes to traverse the inaccessible regions of the wilderness.
The design of the snowshoe is to deter snow accumulation and allow for optimal maneuverability. Over time, the traditional wooden frames with latticed rawhide lacings have evolved to lightweight metals and plastics connected with synthetic fabrics. The toes of snowshoes are raised to increase mobility, which increases its athletic appeal.
The activity of snowshoeing is growing fast. It is a great hobby for those who like to explore snowy areas, and can often be combined with other activities like glacier hiking, skiing and snowboarding, mountaineering – and even trail running. From enthusiasts and novices to athletes and experts, this is a relatively easy sport to pick up, and requires no experience. Everyone who is able and willing to snowshoe can and should! It is a great way to hike through pristine powder snow.
Snowshoeing is a safe sport. Other than hidden obstacles, including ice, rocks, and roots, you are unlikely to come across many hazards or dangers. If you take your adventure into the backcountry, you should be prepared to navigate, and bringing a companion is always a good idea. Avalanches are also possible in more remote areas, while climbing and descending slopes can add potential challenges.
There are different types of snowshoes, depending on the level and difficulty. For first-timers, a generic hiking snowshoe is a great choice. As the intensity increases, more durable and sleek snowshoes become necessary for a seamless transition into sport- and expedition-level activities.
For hobbyists and beginners, recreational snowshoeing avoids difficult terrain and stress-inducing activity. You can traverse beautiful countryside, enjoying the serenity and excitement of discovering a remote winter wonderland.
Fitness fanatics in search of a new adventure can try the aerobic thrill of sport snowshoeing. Walking on snow is – obviously – more strenuous and challenging because of the resistance. This means an increased cardiovascular workout for runners and athletes, so training and exercise can be done in winter and snowy conditions with fabulous results.
Expedition Snowshoeing requires tough snowshoes for difficult terrain, often in the backcountry and often more dangerous than other types of snowshoeing. The snowshoes for this type of snowshoeing are design to accommodate all types of footwear and to be a durable companion to those looking for a challenging and sustained excursion.
Snowshoeing needs but a few things, but snow is one of them. Winter time is the best time to go snowshoeing, though some terrain has snow all year round. You can also enjoy it in the spring where snow lingers in certain areas and the climate becomes a bit more comfortable.
The weather can be increasingly volatile in the fall and winter. It is imperative to take current conditions into account – snowshoeing in inclement weather can be dangerous.
The equipment necessary for snowshoeing is relatively basic, though – depending on the severity of the activity – it can include accessories for ascending and descending mountains.
The essential equipment includes:
For longer snowshoeing treks, you may need to bring a tent and camping gear. It all depends on the extent of your adventure.
Hiring a guide for snowshoeing is a safe and satisfying way to explore a new and thrilling terrain. Guides often have a local knowledge that gives you personal insight into a location, enhancing your appreciation of a region and giving you an authentic experience. By accompanying a guide, you can take routes that are more exciting, safer, and overall more fulfilling.
Hiring a guide also allows you to enjoy the experience with someone well-versed in the sport, providing ways to improve in your technique and skill. If you want to get the most out of a snowshoeing trip, it makes sense to seek a guide who can encourage your progress in the sport and get you excited to pursue similar adventures.
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