Check out this awesome post about snowshoeing from our guest blogger and Skis.com team member Heather Larive.
As the mother of a 12 year old girl and 2 year old boy, life is pretty active. We love summer because of all the wonderful outdoor activities the season provides. Days exploring the beach and woods fly by too fast. Spring and autumn provides us with amazing trail walks, watching the leaves come and go before our eyes and the animals waking from or preparing for their long winter naps.
Then winter comes. We have the occasional fort building session and sled ride, but most of the season is spent indoors. The hubs and daughter will ice skate every now and then, but we haven’t figured out how to make our beloved walks enjoyable in the winter.
Then I started thinking about snowshoeing. I don’t know much about it at all and to be honest, wasn’t sure if snowshoes came in children’s sizes. With a little research, I found many interesting facts and guidelines about family snowshoeing.
I like the fact that there isn’t much gear required to snowshoe. Your standard layers of winter outwear of course, snowshoes, poles and boot gaiters. Seems simple enough.
There are different types of snowshoes; recreational, backcountry and race. Recreational snowshoes are what we will be using for our leisurely family outings, as with any other general use. They are made for walking trails and packed snow, but some have the capability to create paths and get through deeper snow. Backcountry snowshoes are made to break trails and travel across hilly terrain. Race snowshoes are built for speed.
For my fellow newbies out there, here are a few quick tips on snowshoeing in general. Snowshoes are designed for forward walking only. Walking backwards will only dig the tail of the show into the snow and possibly result in a fall; practice making u-turns instead. Snowshoe sizes are based more on weight than on boot size. Snowshoes come in unisex and gender specific. Women’s snowshoes are lighter and narrower than men’s or unisex. Also, poles will help with balance and provide a nice upper body workout.
Boot gaiters cover the laces on boots and extend to the calf or knee to keep your feet and pants dry when trekking through the slush. And while walking, it is recommended to do temperature checks with the kids often. Most of the time they are so absorbed in the activity, they don’t realize if they are too cold or too warm. Drop or add a layer, do a little dance, re-evaluate, and move along. It’s also a good idea to bring along some snacks. Time flies when you’re having fun so an outing could last a good part of the day.
I can’t wait to buy our gear and get outside this winter! A scavenger hunt and animal tracking are first on my list, but just getting the family outside is reward enough for me.