Snowshoeing Technique Basics

iStock_000000373726_Medium1200Like we mention all over the site, snowshoeing is incredibly easy, but heck, even riding a bike requires a few pointers!

Snowshoeing technique is essentially as easy as walking.

On flat ground, or on a slope that is mild to moderate, all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and go. Scott at Snow Leopard Mountain Sports in Colorado says, “If you can walk, you can snowshoe and after your first three steps, your already an intermediate snowshoer!” The greatest adjustment you’ll have to make to your gait is to walk with your feet a bit wider apart than normal so you don’t step on your own snowshoes or kick the frame of your forward foot as your back one passes it.

If the snow is hard packed and sloping, pressing the talons firmly into the snow with each step will give you traction and prevent backsliding. Snowshoes will not keep you on to of soft snow. In fresh powder, which is where snowshoes really shine, the surface will shift some and compress under your weight, and you’ll feel as it you were walking on feather-light sand, if you can imagine such a thing.

When you are descending, keep your weight over your heels as much as possible. The talons provide traction, so if the snow is firm or the slope is steep, be sure that they are biting firmly into the surface. If the snow is deep and the slop is steep you might want to play at glissading. Take long, gliding strides – sort of a downhill lope – and keep the snowshoe toes up out of the snow. You will find this exhilarating.