So You Want to Start Snowshoeing?
The how-to you didn’t know you needed
As winter begins to blanket the world in a shimmering coat of snow, the call of the great outdoors becomes an irresistible melody. If you’re ready to step off the beaten path and explore the winter wonderland that awaits, but you’re not interested in skiing or snowboarding, then snowshoeing might just be the adventure you’re seeking! In this beginner’s guide to snowshoeing, we will navigate the basics of snowshoeing, from choosing the right gear to mastering the art of traversing beautiful snow-covered landscapes.
So buckle up, strap on your snowshoes, and let’s get started!
Gear Up for Success
The first step in your snowshoeing journey is gearing up with the essentials. Start with quality snowshoes— your trusty companions for navigating through deep snow. Choose a pair that suits your weight and the type of terrain you plan to explore.
A few other items you’ll want to consider for this adventure:
- Sturdy waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry
- Moisture wicking baselayers
- Comfortable gloves
- A cozy hat with ear flaps OR a fleece buff
- Goggles if it’s particularly snowy that day
- Snow pants and a snow jacket
- Or at least a comfortable outer shell that will keep moisture out
Comfort is paramount while snowshoeing! It’s about having fun, remember?
Picking the Right Trail
Snowshoeing opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to your trail selection. Beginners may want to start with well-marked, flat trails to get a feel for the sport. Many towns will have designated groomed trails that are appropriate for beginners. Ask around at your local gear shop if there are any trails like this near you! As you gain confidence and skill, you can graduate to more challenging terrain, including hills and backcountry trails. Consider bringing ski polls if you’re going to do a more challenging adventure. If you’re more comfortable with resort life, many ski resorts also offer dedicated snowshoeing trails, providing a perfect blend of accessibility and natural beauty.
Mastering the Technique
Snowshoeing is known for its simplicity, making it an ideal winter activity for beginners. The basic technique involves lifting your knees slightly with each step to prevent the snowshoes from dragging. It’s akin to walking, so there’s no steep learning curve. Take your time to get accustomed to the movement, and soon you’ll find yourself gliding across the snow effortlessly. If you find yourself sinking into the snow and you are unable to lift your legs easily out to move forward, then you might have snowshoes that are too small! Snowshoes work mostly by weight, not size, so you’ll want to check with your local gear shop to see which shoes are right for you!
While snowshoeing is a relatively low-risk activity, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Dress in layers to regulate body temperature, and always carry essentials like water, snacks, and a map. If you are sweating too much, remember that once your sweat cools it will bring your body temperature down significantly. Be mindful of weather conditions, and let someone know about your planned route and estimated return time. Familiarize yourself with basic navigation skills, and consider taking a beginner’s snowshoeing class or going with an experienced friend for added confidence.
Enjoy the Scenery
One of the greatest joys of snowshoeing is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the winter landscape! Whether it’s the serenity of snow-covered forests or the breathtaking views from a mountain summit, take the time to appreciate the beauty around you. Capture the moments, breathe in the crisp winter air, and revel in the tranquility that snowshoeing offers. Remember that once the snow melts, you’ll have to wait another year to get back out there!
Snowshoeing is not just a winter activity; it’s a journey into the heart of nature’s frozen beauty. As you embark on your snowshoeing adventure, remember to embrace the simplicity, savor the stunning scenery, and relish the sense of freedom that comes with each step. So, gear up, find your favorite trail, and let the snowy landscapes become the canvas for your winter escapades!
Cover Photo Credit: Kaya Lindsay
About the Gear Tester
Kaya Lindsay is a writer, photographer, and filmmaker with a passion for rock climbing and the outdoors.
In 2016 she converted a Sprinter Van into a tiny home and has been traveling around the US & Canada to pursue her passion for rock climbing. Since hitting the road she has begun a career in filmmaking and is currently working on her One Chick Travels series, highlighting solo female travelers who live and work to pursue an adventurous lifestyle. Her films have been highlighted by major brands such as Backcountry and Outside TV. To fulfill her passion for writing, she chronicles her many adventures in her blog. Professionally, she writes for the adventure sports company Outdoor Prolink and The Climbing Zine. Kaya hopes to spend many more years in her tiny home on wheels, Lyra, and is currently living in Moab Utah.