Can you picture it? The season’s first snow dancing on the air, the bracing bite of winter’s wind against your brow, the gentle crunch of snow under your snowshoes
That's right! What better way to take in the winter-cloaked splendor of nature than with a refreshing stroll atop the snow? Many may consider snowshoeing a sport for those who are fit, young, or live in colder climates. But even if you don’t live in a snowy region, you might one day find yourself traveling to one. Or you might just be curious about the sport. In any case, with a little preparation and research, snowshoeing can be an easy, healthy, and surprisingly affordable winter activity.
Snowshoeing for Fun and Fitness
In the winter months, it can be challenging to find ways to stay active. One of the biggest draws of snowshoeing is how approachable it is, regardless of ability. Much like hiking, your wintery excursions can be tailored to match your interests and fitness level. But that’s not all. Snowshoeing is also considered a low-impact activity, making it attractive for all ages. So, whether you love leisurely walks around town, a more remote stroll through nature, or an arduous backcountry hike, snowshoes can be your wintery companion. Unlike skiing, snowshoeing can be done anywhere you would normally walk during the warmer months. Remember, it may be wise to speak with your medical professional before starting any new physical activity or sport.1
How to Get Started
For those new to walking atop the snow, the best way to start is to rent a pair of snowshoes, dress warm, and take the plunge. You'll want to start somewhere relatively flat and familiar. From there, just start moving! The joy of snowshoeing is that it is almost exactly like walking. Some individuals may need to widen their stride slightly to account for the additional footgear, but otherwise, it's as simple as that.
If you've ever gone skiing only to be shocked at the cost of lift tickets and equipment rental, there’s more good news. Gear is relatively low-priced and includes snowshoes, warm waterproof boots, and warm winter clothing. Here’s a quick tip: Thick, moisture-wicking socks are crucial to enjoying yourself. Pack a spare pair; you’ll be glad you did.2
Social or Solo?
For those who want to commune with nature on their own, snowshoeing easily provides the means to do so. But first, a word of caution: Before any solo excursion, make sure someone knows where you intend to start your trek and when you plan to return. Much like hiking, it's always a good idea to keep an insulated water bottle and mobile phone with you on your adventure.
For those looking for a more social experience, consider a snowshoeing class or group excursion. These days, the majority of ski resorts offer lessons, and many mountain towns also offer snowshoe tours that are beginner-friendly.3
The U.S. National park system is another great winter option. Parks like Yosemite, for example, offer ranger-led snowshoe tours that can help you feel like you're on your own, even as you experience the grand majesty of the most beautiful winter spots in America.4
So this winter, if you’re looking for an activity that’s sure to get you out of the house and active, keep snowshoeing in mind. It might just become your new favorite winter sport.
- Snowshoemag.com, 2020
- Snowshoemag.com, 2019
- Snowshoeing.com, 2019
- NPS.gov, July 17, 2019
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.