A Beginner's Guide to Snowshoeing

Being from Southern California, the idea of "hiking in the snow" was a foreign concept to me. I had no idea that microspikes existed, let alone modern snowshoes that didn't look like giant tennis rackets. Call me uncultured, but I was living it up in 75 degree winters, so don't feel too bad. When I moved to Colorado last year and a friend asked me to go snowshoeing, I had no idea what to expect. I assumed it would be slow and tedious as I thought I'd essentially be wearing giant webs on my feet. Instead, snowshoeing was an incredibly freeing and fun adventure. If you're looking to try snowshoeing for the first time, here's what you need to know.

1. You can chart your own path


What's so unique about snowshoeing is that there's no set trail. When hiking during all other seasons, it's important to stay on the designated path so you don't damage the ecosystem around it. With snowshoeing, however, there's a thick layer of snow protecting the frozen ground below. This allows you to venture off and create your own path. It's liberating and exciting to explore new, remote areas without worrying about hurting the ecosystem you're adventuring in. Just be mindful as you walk by choosing areas with solid snow coverage and avoiding areas with visible vegetation.

Of course, I had my MODL with me the whole time. Hydrate or diedrate. šŸ˜¤

Highly recommend bringing another first time snowshoer friend to struggle and feel awesome with. 

Of course, I had my MODL with me the whole time. Hydrate or diedrate. šŸ˜¤

Highly recommend bringing another first time snowshoer friend to struggle and feel awesome with. 

2. Snowshoeing is a relatively inexpensive winter activity


Skiing and snowboarding instantly come to mind when we think about winter sports. But these activities have a high barrier of entry, from the expensive gear and lift tickets, to the training and ability to make it safely down the slopes. Snowshoeing, however, only requires winter hiking clothes and snowshoe rentals, which can be as cheap as $25 per day. Snowshoes can be rented from your local REI or outdoor gear store, and they'll teach you how to use and adjust them.


3. Wear waterproof outer layers


Ahh falling. A necessary part of trying any new activity, and snowshoeing is no exception. While modern snowshoes are pretty compact, it's still awkward having them on your feet at first. Take it from me - you're going to fall in the snow. Luckily, it won't hurt when you do, but unluckily, you're probably going to get wet. I definitely recommend wearing a waterproof outer layer and bringing water proof gloves. Even if you take them off once you're feeling more stable, it doesn't hurt to have that extra layer of protection when you're learning something new.

I had so much fun snowshoeing for the first time that I already know it'll be something I do every winter. There are a ton of articles out there with detailed and technical tips on how to start snowshoeing which I'll link below, but these were my biggest takeaways after trying it. Overall, my best advice is to just get out there and do it. Snowshoeing is cheap, fun, and even if you do a short walk or hike, you'll get to adventure outdoors in a new way. I hope this inspires you to get out there and try it!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published