How to Snowshoe: Tips and Techniques

Learning how to snowshoe can make the long, cold days of winter seem to go by faster. It's also a great form of transportation and exercise. Here are some tips to help you get started as you learn how to snowshoe.

Snowshoes are simply designed, making them preferable to skis or snowboarders for those who prefer the uncomplicated. All you need for snowshoeing gear is the snowshoes themselves. There are different sizes, depending on how you'll be using them. If you plan on racing, smaller snowshoes will be best for you. Those who plan on snowshoe hiking in deep snow will want longer snowshoes. You can strap them to footwear you already own, such as running sneakers or hiking or snow boots, depending on the conditions. You may choose to use poles, which can help you in particularly tough conditions, such as deep snow. Using poles also provides you with a full body workout, as it makes you move your upper body as well.

Make sure you're dressed warmly. Avoid cotton, which can make you very cold when it gets wet. Layers are essential when you're doing an outdoor activity such as snowshoeing. You may get hot as your body temperature rises, and being able to take off one or two layers can cool you down without leaving you in a tee shirt.

To walk in your snowshoes, you'll imitate your normal stride. Your feet should be a bit farther apart than usual, but not too much. Stride forward, putting your foot down heel to toe. Repeat as though you were walking or running on dry, firm ground.

Never snowshoe alone. The unexpected could always occur, and it's not good to be alone in the woods, especially in winter. Besides your partner or group, make sure somebody at home knows where you'll be and when you're expected to return.

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