Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Joys of Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing can be done on both groomed and un-groomed trails. PHOTO: Tubbs of Vermont Traditional Bear Paw Snowshoes- Ahnu Monte Vista Insulated Hiking Boots and Gore-Tex Paclite hardshell pants.
After the Nor'easter named Nemo blasted through the northeast leaving a bit of fresh powder, I just HAD to get out and take a run in it.  That's what I really like about snowshoeing.  It is simple and can be done anywhere regardless if the trail has been groomed or not. Heck, you don't even need a trail!  I really like taking to the open meadows but have used my snowshoes in the woods as well.  They allow you to float over the surface of the snow without sinking down up to your knees.

Rudy Project Klonyx Ski Goggles. Rabbit Fur Bomber Hat by Dorfman-Pacific
You can see that my hardshell pants have very little snow on them, even around the cuffs.  Snowshoes keep you up and above deep snow and will keep you dryer, longer.

Open meadows or wooded areas both accommodate snowshoeing very well.

What to Wear with Snowshoes
Most snowshoes have crampons that act to grip into the snow with each step.  Your heel and toe box stay secure via the straps and buckles that can be adjusted to fit the boots you are wearing at the time.

I used to go snowshoeing in my Merrell sheepskin boots with Vibram soles but this season switched to more streamlined Ahnu Monte Vista Hiking Boots. Even though it is a much thinner boot, the Ahnu is well insulated so my feet stayed warm and dry the whole day out.  I simply adjusted the straps and took off.  I've used heavier sheepskin boots and the thinner, insulated ones that are built more like running shoes.  I prefer the latter because a thinner boot gives me more flexibility and stay in the snowshoes better than the bulkier ones.

Ahnu Monte Vista Hiking Boots work well with my snowshoes
To make sure my feet stayed extra warm and dry, I water-proofed these boots earlier in the season.  I also make sure to dry them thoroughly after a day out even if on the surface they don't appear to be very wet. See The Joy of Warm Feet for all the tips and tricks.

Navigating Technical Trails
Kahtoola MicroSpikes Mini Crampons
Some people snowshoe as if they are Nordic or cross country skiing, using ski poles to balance.  This is a good idea especially when you are just starting out or there are a few sloping hills.  If you intend to scale very steep areas, you may need to portage your snowshoes and put on a pair of mini crampons like Kahtoola MicroSpikes. They will allow you to grip in between rocks and icy, sloping under-brush with ease.

Layering for Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is a very aerobic activity so you'll need to keep that in mind when you dress in the morning.  I usually wear a very light Merino Wool Baselayer like Bluey Austrailia's Outdoor 160 and a synthetic mid-layer like ExOfficio's Chica Cool Hoody. 

My Tubbs Snowshoes Belt with Bottle Opener on the reverse side!

I like an ultra light goose down jacket to top everything off and have started using Smartwool Merino Wool Neck Gaiters instead of long scarves. They are a little snug but are a lot less troublesome, especially if you are carrying a day pack.

I like merino wool socks which wick moisture and keep my feet dry and cozy, even when I'm out for hours.  Waterproof snowboarding pants like my Gore-Tex Paclites have articulated knees and sealed zippers that run the entire length of the leg.  I just put them over a pair of wool leggings and I'm good.

No comments:

Post a Comment