Snowshoeing is a perfect example of an entertaining winter sport: it implies walking on snow with the help of snowshoes. Indeed, it is always somewhat scary to start going into new sports, but there are plenty of reasons why to choose snowshoeing.
First of all, it brings a lot of fun. Your running or hiking season does not end in winter then, and you are able to enjoy calming winter solitude or be socially active. In addition, snowshoeing is cheap. You do not need to buy a bulk of gear, but just snowshoes, suitable clothing and footwear, and a couple of poles in case of necessity. As well, snowshoeing is quite simple. You do not have to spend as much time to learn snowshoeing as in the case of skiing or snowboarding.
This type of sport is also versatile. You can go hard or, on the contrary, go easy. You can easily pave the trail there where you could not ski because of low level of snow, trees, or other difficult conditions. After all, it allows you to constantly stay in a good shape, because snowshoeing means light aerobic exercises that enhance your health. Aren’t these reasons enough to try out snowshoeing?
1. Let’s consider the type of snowshoes you need. Even though snowshoes can vary significantly and be quite miscellaneous, manufacturers usually divide them into three categories for convenience sake: mountain terrain snowshoes, rolling terrain snowshoes, and flat terrain snowshoes. The first ones are created for abrupt and icy terrain. In most cases, people who blaze the trails for backcountry snowboarding or hiking prefer such snowshoes. The flat terrain snowshoes, on the contrary, are an ideal choice for families who prefer to walk on the plain and hilly terrain. After all, rolling terrain snowshoes represent a type of footwear for snowshoeing that will be the best option for hiking on moderate and abrupt hills. However, they will not be appropriate for hiking over extremely steep or icy terrain.
2. Regarding the clothing, you need the standard wear for winter types of sport, which, however, may be less featured than skiing or snowboarding clothing: insulated or waterproof footwear, waterproof jacket and pants, something for base and insulating layers, a hat or balaclava, waterproof gloves, and sunscreen along with sunglasses (be careful of snow blindness). Such a basic set should be enough for you to head in your first snowshoeing tour.
3. Even though the poles are dispensable on a plain terrain, they stand in good stead in many snowshoeing trips. Perhaps you wonder why do you need them, but the answer is simple: poles give the upper part of your body a decent workout and help you to maintain a balance. The best option is to look for adjustable poles; if you choose them, you can lengthen them for descents and shorten for going uphill. Adjustment of poles is quite important, since your arm must be always at a correct angle.
4. For mountainous, quite abrupt terrains you will need an ice axe, which is an essential item of snowshoers for such conditions. There are self-belay and self-arrest techniques that you can use in order to secure yourself. The first one is used for preventing yourself from falling, while the other technique is aimed to stop your sliding. However, you should practice both of the techniques in order to stay safe, and use them whenever it is needed.
5. It is not a very pleasant thing, but sometimes it will happen: you fall down. In particular, it happens often during descending. When you feel that you are going to fall, you should attempt to lie on your side or on your back. In order to get yourself back up, you should take the straps of your poles off, and then move yours hands and poles the way that makes them sidelong to that hill. Then roll your body the way which will make your knees appear beneath your body, inclined towards that slope. After all, use the poles as a prop for getting up. Congratulations, you are back on track again!
6. In addition to that, you may try to run with your snowshoes if you wear the snowshoes specifically designed for running. They are much lighter and tighter than the traditional ones, but you may enjoy running in winter on snowy terrain. After all, you should stay safe by evaluating properly your limits in terms of gear, environment, and your physical capabilities. During your first snowshoeing trip, you have to stick only to the already established trails. However, snowshoeing is a type of sport that will let to stay constantly in a good shape and enjoy physical exercises in a good atmosphere while feeling a modest winter breeze.