Snowshoeing 101: Beginner’s Guide to Help You Get Started

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The beginning of the year is a great time to branch out and try something new. Snowshoeing is a fun and easy way to stay active during the winter. If you haven’t tried it yet, now is the perfect time to branch out and give it a whirl. It is fun, easy, and relatively cheap for a winter activity. Sometimes the hardest part of trying a new activity is figuring out how to get started. This article is a quick guide filled with what you need to know to get started.

What to Wear When You Go Snowshoeing

The first question you may have about snowshoeing is probably about what kind of gear you should wear. Good waterproof hiking boots are essential when you go snowshoeing. You will want boots that are comfortable and broken in, preferably one’s with a thick sole. Pair those boots with a set of wool or synthetic socks to your feet warm and safe from blisters. You will also want to wear lots of warm layers of clothing. This includes a pair of good gloves to protect your hands from painful frostbite! Wearing lots of layers will allow you to adjust your body temperature as needed.  Avoid wearing cotton clothes since they do not dry quickly. Although it may be cold, you should still wear sunscreen and sunglasses to protect yourself from harmful UV rays which can intensify when reflected off snow.

Good Places to Go Snowshoeing

Once you are dressed and ready to go snowshoeing, you should pick your destination. There are so many places you can venture out to see with snowshoes. A good place to start is at your local state parks or national forests. They will have popular snowshoeing trails for every level of expertise. You can also snowshoe up your favorite summer time hiking destinations. Keep in mind that the trails may not be groomed so they may be difficult to follow. For an easier adventure you could try snowshoeing around a cross-country ski resort. While these mild and groom trails are great for beginners, there is an associated resort fee.

Pick the Right Type of Snowshoes

The next step of your grand adventure is to find the right pair of snowshoes. The type of shoe you use will largely depend on what terrain you plan on exploring. There are three main types of snowshoes: flat terrain, rolling terrain, and mountain terrain. Most beginners will be using flat terrain shoes. These are designed for walking on flat surfaces or easy slopes. They are also the most family friendly shoes because they are manufactured in all sizes (including children’s sizes). Rolling terrain shoes are designed for hiking steep or icy hills. The mountain terrain snowshoes are built for the toughest of terrains. You can use mountain terrain shoes to go off on a back-country adventure. You may want to try the shoes on first before you go. This will help insure you know how to properly secure your snowshoes and help you avoid any unnecessary accidents while snowshoeing.

Tips to Keep You Safe

You should always use your common sense while snowshoeing. Check the weather before you leave so you can be prepared. Bring a backpack with your necessary essentials. You will want to stay hydrated while you are snowshoeing, it is quite the workout! It is also wise to pack a few high calorie snacks in your pack to refuel your body. Along with food and water consider packing bear spray or flares if you plan on hiking in bear country. If you are snowshoeing in a group you should stay together as much as possible. If you are out by yourself, it is wise to inform family or friends where you are snowshoeing. Last, if you plan on blazing your own trail in the back-country you need to be aware of avalanche conditions. It is smart to carry an avalanche beacon, just to be on the safe side.

In Conclusion

Snowshoeing can be a fun and rewarding hobby to keep you and your family busy this winter. As long as you are smart and prepared you will have a fun and safe adventure. So whether you choose to stay on the beaten path or forge your own trail, you can start making great memories this winter.

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