A winter wonderland awaits
February 11, 2004
The snowshoe was developed out of necessity for traveling in winter climates. Nomadic tribes living almost 4000 years ago are believed to have developed some form of walking device to remain on top of heavy snow while hunting. Sometime in the 1800’s the snowshoe evolved into a recreational tool and has grown in popularity ever since.
Today, triathletes, hunters and backcountry enthusiasts all take advantage of this ancient form of winter transportation to enjoy the solitude of the snow. Millions of people now participate in this easy and accessible winter pastime. Whether you are looking to climb a mountain and ski down or merely go for a quiet stroll with the family, snowshoeing has something for everyone.
There are many different brands of snowshoe on the market but the basic technology remains unchanged. Wider snowshoes offer better floatation and maneuverability in trees and brush but require a wider stance and can be strenuous on muscles over long distances and while traversing steep slopes. Narrower shoes allow for a more natural gait, however, they are not as maneuverable in tight trees or brush. Snowshoes also have flat or upturned tips. Flat tips are better for digging your toes into ice or snow on steep climbs and upturned tip allow for easier hiking in deep snow. Popular brands include Red Feather, Tubbs, Atlas and Havlick. Consult your local retailer to find the right shoe for you.
Any snowy climate will have great opportunities for scenic hikes for people of all ages and ability levels. The secret is getting out and taking advantage of what mother nature has to offer. Renting a pair of snowshoes is one of the most affordable ways to experience winter sports. Many outdoor retailers and guide shops rent snowshoes and can help you get geared up, as well as point you to the trail heads and scenic areas in your area.