Snowshoeing: A Beginner’s Guide

*By: Christi Shingara*

Photo: Nicola Poluzzi

I recently had the opportunity to try snowshoeing for the first time. if you aren’t familiar with the term, snowshoeing is basically a type of hiking that involves walking over snow with the assistance of footwear that displaces weight over a larger area. This is something I have wanted to do for years, but mild winters have halted my efforts. A good amount of snow, at least 8 inches, makes for a good snowshoeing experience, and this year, we certainly had that (and then some!) in the Northeast.

Being an avid hiker and runner, I love being outside, but when winter hits and snow blankets the area, my outdoor workouts are slim to none. Snowshoeing allows me to embrace the snow and get out on the hiking trails, enjoying them in a whole new way. It is also a very peaceful experience being in the middle of snow-covered woods and taking in the breathtaking scenery.

Learning how to snowshoe isn’t difficult. Basically, if you can walk, you can snowshoe! However, there are some mechanics to snowshoes themselves and choosing the right pair is imperative. Snowshoes were first used thousands of years ago by people whose lives depended on the ability to trek in the deep snow. The purpose of these shoes was to be able to walk on top of the snow and not sink in, as you would if you were just wearing snow boots. The main material used to make these shoes was wood. Nowadays, snowshoes are made for recreational purposes and from more practical materials such as metal and synthetic plastics.

The three main types of snowshoes are aerobic/running, recreational, and mountaineering. Aerobic/running snowshoes are made of lighter material and made for more packed snow terrain. They are shorter in length and moderately priced. Recreational snowshoes are a bit longer in length and can combat packed snow or small hills and are used for more hiking methods than running. These are also the most affordable of all three. Mountaineering snowshoes are the longest and are for more serious terrain such as long distance, steep hills and off trail use. These are also the most expensive price point. A great article to refer to when choosing the right snowshoe is the Definitive Guide – How to Choose the Perfect Snowshoes for Your Needs.

After you pick out the right snowshoes, it is now time to get out there and enjoy the snow while getting a good exercise in too!

Love to snowshoe? Tell me about it in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Snowshoeing: A Beginner’s Guide

  1. Hi Christi, I had walked over the snow but using regular hiking snow. I am not a very deep fan of snow treks that involves many days of a walk but still, it was a good experience. Now, I realized after reading this, that would have been called Snowshoeing.


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