Whether it's skiing, skating, snowboarding or snowshoeing, the Winter Olympics reminded us that there’s plenty of fun to be had outdoors--even during the cold, snowy winter months.
Let the Olympians inspire you and give snowshoeing a try before the snow melts into spring.
What is Snowshoeing?
Snowshoeing is a type of hiking that involves wearing snowshoes that distribute your weight so you’re able to walk on top of snow instead of sinking. Historians think this form of travel has probably been around for thousands of years, and today it’s become a very popular winter sport. For people who enjoy running or hiking during warm weather months, snowshoeing is the perfect option for staying active--despite all the snow. It continues to gain popularity and is thought to be the fastest growing winter sport, mainly because anyone can do it, from children to older adults.
Top Reasons to Give It a Try
Why is snowshoeing such a popular winter sport, and why should you give it a try? Here are a few reasons you’ll want grab a pair of snowshoes and hit the powder:
Tons of Fun – With snowshoeing, you can extend your running or hiking season right into the winter months. Make it a social activity or enjoy some solitude going on your own. No matter your ability level, it’s a sport you can enjoy right away.
A Great Workout – It takes a bit more work to walk in the snow, even with snowshoes. Snowshoeing is an aerobic, low impact exercise that is great for helping you stay in shape during the winter, which is a season when many people tend to gain a bit of weight.
Easy to Learn – There’s no learning curve for snowshoeing. If you’re able to walk, you’ll find it easy to snowshoe. Simply work on walking with a wider stance so you don’t step on the snowshoe frames and you’ll be on your way to mastering this technique.
Versatile Sport – Snowshoeing is a very versatile workout. Go easy if you need to, or pick up speed or find a hill and work out hard.
Another benefit of snowshoeing is it’s fairly inexpensive. You won’t need a whole lot of gear. What you will need includes:
Snowshoes – Snowshoes cost between $100-300, depending on the type of snowshoes you need and the manufacturer you go with. You have three options: flat terrain snowshoes, rolling terrain snowshoes and mountain terrain snowshoes.
Appropriate Footwear – Most people will want to choose waterproof boots that have insulation, thick soles and leather or rubber uppers. Make sure feet stay warm and dry by wearing synthetic or wool socks with wicking liners. If you plan to use trail-running showshoes, then you’ll need to go with lightweight running shoes.
Poles – In many cases, you can get poles along with your snowshoes. They’ll offer you better balance if you’re just learning, although they aren’t absolutely necessary.
Warm Clothing – Dress in layered clothing just like you would for any other outdoor winter sport.
Where to Go Snowshoeing
Since snowshoeing is so popular, there are plenty of places to go. Some even offer snowshoe rentals if you don’t want to invest in your own right away. Great options to try include:
- Cross-country ski resorts
- State parks and national forests
- Permit areas often known as Sno-parks
- Areas where you ski off-trial or hike normally
- Other established trails or mapped routes
The weather is cold and there’s still plenty of snow around, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy being outdoors. Get your snowshoes, dress warmly and make sure your cellphone is protected for the conditions and head out for a great workout in the snow!