Going out for a good run, hiking, or snowshoeing might have some difficulties. How hard is snowshoeing really? Do not despair; we got you covered, and here we are going to help you learn more about this freezing practice (it does not have to be that cold anyway). But first things first, how difficult is it?
Snowshoeing can indeed be more challenging than hiking and, therefore, walking. Due to the extra effort to keep on top of the snow and the extra weight you might carry, your pace will be on average 1.7 times slower. Wearing snowshoeing gear makes you heavier and more effort is required to walk.
But if you want to start to practice this sport, for the extra calories you might burn, avoid losing shape, or just because you do not want to miss the good hikes, even during wintertime. Well, luckily for you, here we will tell you all the things you need to know so you can get started with this exciting sport.
Benefits of snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is not just a good sport or a way of getting out of the house and the monotony. Here you have some of the benefits of starting snowshoeing.
1. Snowshoeing is reasonably easy to learn
Snowshoeing is like hiking, but with snowshoes, so all you need to do is learn how to walk with them. You just need to strap the snowshoes on and start walking, get used to them, and adjust the way of walking. As you have something wider than usual strapped to your feet, you might have to separate your legs a bit to avoid stepping on the frame of the snowshoes.
2. Perfect for any age and ability, and it is healthy
You do not need to be fit, young, or have a lot of experience in hiking or snowshoeing to start. From kids to the elderly, everyone can practice this sport.
Snowshoeing is a low-impact activity, but it will help with your cardiovascular health, so it is perfect for seniors to maintain a good heart shape. It can also consume some energy, so it is a good way for kids to burn some of it and get some outside recreation during wintertime when they spend most of the time inside.
You can also adjust the difficulty of this sport. You can go to any national or state park, starting in a flat field if you do not have any experience. And once you master this type of terrain, you can move to some hills and then go into the forest. It is all about practice and building some resistance.
Some other places you can go snowshoeing are:
- Golf courses.
- Recreational parks
- Open and backcountry spaces.
- The city.
- Mountain lodges and resorts.
- Ski resorts.
This activity is also perfect for your mental health. Getting outside and getting in contact with nature helps to clear the mind. You can also feel the serenity and look at the beauty of mother nature. Snowshoeing is a good therapy; with the lovely sights of nature, you will feel amazing and grateful.
Snowshoeing is reasonably inexpensive
You do not have to spend thousands of dollars on gear, and snowshoe prices are between $100 to $300 or a bit more. But the average ones are pretty good quality, and you can get started with those. But you might not even need them if the snow is not that high, and if the snow is packed, icy, and slippery, you might need some slip on cleats, which are way cheaper than snowshoes.
Other things you might need are some waterproof leg gaiters and a pair of trekking poles, and the latter can have interchangeable accessories to adapt them to almost any possible terrain. These two pieces of gear are around 50 bucks total, so you will not be breaking the bank.
Now, talking about clothing, just regular winter clothes that help you stay warm and with some water resistance to keep most moisture out of your body and undergarment will work, but try to choose something that will not ruin your snowshoe excursion.
Tips for snowshoeing
Now that you have seen some benefits of snowshoeing, you might be excited to start this beautiful journey, but you are still a bit unsure of how to start. We got you covered, my little apprentice; here you have some tips to start with:
Dress up in layers
We talked about undergarments, and this is important as you need to dress in layers if you want to carry on with the changing temperatures. Try to use long underwear and synthetic or wool tops and bottoms as an undergarment.
You will need a mid-layer that will act as an insulating layer. Use a polyester or fleece zippered top or jacket.
For the outer layer, use something that will protect you from wind, rain, and snow, like a breathable and waterproof jacket, as well as some waterproof pants; you can use ski or hiking pants which are made to keep you dry.
It would be best to plan ahead for any activity, especially when it involves challenging weather. Ensure you are prepared to endure any weather condition and that you are using the appropriate clothes and gear.
Prepare according to the time you are going to spend on this activity. Bring a backpack with the necessary elements, a first aid kit, snacks, water, hot water to prepare hot drinks. Some people even pack some vodka, rum, scotch, or brandy which is a kind of grown-up heating method. Also, you can pack some extra clothes or thermal blankets.
Study the terrain
Get to know the terrain where you are going to snowshoe. Look for warning signs and danger zones around the area and avoid places with avalanche possibilities if you are just starting. Still, it might be good to take some educational courses specialized in this topic, so you know how to react to every possible scenario. And last but not least, make sure you have the proper equipment like a beacon, probe, and a shovel.
On your first snowshoeing trip, do not go too far
As you are just starting, it is better to keep the distance of your first hike short. You will not develop serious skills on the first trip, so chances are you might risk yourself and others if you exceed your limits; it is ok to start with a half an hour or two hours hike without going too far.
Hydration is critical
Yes, also in cold weather, it is crucial to maintain yourself hydrated even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body does not send you alerts in cold weather as it would in more comfortable temperatures, and this is why it is even more important to hydrate, so you will have to remember to drink some water. And even if you do not feel hot, you will sweat, but it will be either trapped in your undergarment, or it will evaporate quickly in the cold, so there are high chances of you not feeling it and getting dehydrated without noticing.
Do not forget to fuel yourself
Your body will be working and burning calories with snowshoeing, so it is crucial to carry complex carbohydrates and protein snacks with you, but avoiding sugary snacks and options that might freeze. It will be better if the food you carry is lightweight. Here are some examples:
- A small bag of nuts.
- Dark chocolate.
- Dried fruit.
It makes no difference whether you are snowshoeing alone or in a group; it is good to share the path you will follow and the average time it will take you to get back. In case of emergency, God forbid, rescue teams can get you or your group easier and quicker; this helps to prevent casualties.
With all these tips and tricks, you might feel like you are ready to conquer the trails and snowshoeing tracks in the world. But remember the most crucial advice, start small and practice before moving to challenging trails; do not forget to prepare yourself with the right gear, clothing, fill a backpack with a first aid kit, thermal blankets, water, and some snacks.
We wish you the best of luck with this new exciting, sporty journey, and may the force be with you.