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A Guide to Snowshoes: Winter Hiking

By Darren Hong


With another bout of winter weather incoming, many hikers may be frustrated by the inconvenience. Not to worry! With the help of snowshoes, this obstacle can easily be overcome.

Well, what are some advantages of snowshoes? First, they are as simple as attaching the correct size onto your normal shoes. Second, according to Snowsports Industries of America, using snowshoes can burn more than 45% calories than conventional walking, which can help you stay healthy. Snowshoes can be rented or purchased for about $100, which makes them an inexpensive purchase.

Ideally, you can use snowshoes at national parks, trails, and mountain resorts. The best weather conditions for snowshoes are powder snow of about 12 inches.

Once you plan for your snowy adventure, it’s important to consider safety above all else. Remember to wear the appropriate clothing for the weather, and consider what time you begin hiking. Because of the weather, winter hiking can take longer than expected, so give yourself a generous timeframe. If you plan on using snowshoes in the backcountry, it’s important to consider the dangers of avalanches. Using beacons can help your fellow hikers find you in case you become buried. Probes also help rescuers find buried people and check the depth of snow. Remember to bring snacks and water to stay energized and hydrated.

Finally, one must consider the difference between modern and traditional snowshoes. Modern snowshoes have a smaller surface area, which can improve the shoe’s aerodynamics, but at the cost of being able to support less weight. However, modern snowshoes require much less maintenance and can have various attachments, such as heel bars and traction systems.

Traditional snowshoes have a larger surface area, which allows it to support 200 or more pounds, which is great when carrying larger loads. They are also much quieter than modern snowshoes, as they lack metallic parts. Traditional snowshoes also have the advantage of being able to withstand up to 30 degrees below 0. On the other hand, they lack modern attachments that can assist with traction issues, and require more maintenance.

Hopefully, this guide has informed you about the benefits and possibilities with snowshoes. Happy hiking!

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