Snowshoeing today stands as one of the best ways of getting exposed to the beauty of winter, serving as the perfect activity while visiting Cuyuna.
What started as a mode of transport in extreme conditions many years ago has now advanced into a fun leisure activity for the adventurous. Feel snowshoeing is right for you? Here we’ll unfold all the information you need to know about it.
Just think of snowshoeing as an advanced way of hiking. In normal terms, it involves walking over snow with the aid of snowshoes – a kind of footwear that features a wide frame to spread the weight of the owner over a large area. The main reason for this design is to achieve a quality called “floatation” which prevents the foot from sinking into the snow.
Snowshoes used in the late 1900s had a hardwood frame with rawhide lacings. Most modern snowshoes bear resemblance to their ancestors but are made of materials like lightweight metal, synthetic fabric, and plastic. In addition to weight distribution, snowshoes are raised at the toe for flexibility.
Different sizes of snowshoes are available for different types of snow. For example, a smaller surface area will fit for a hard or groomed snow, while a larger frame will be fine for walking on soft powdered snow. Snowshoeing stands as one of the fastest-growing hobbies of today, with people of different ages and physical abilities being able to partake. Although snow safety needs to be taken into consideration, snowshoeing requires much less technical skill or experience than sports such as skiing or snowboarding
Brief History of Snowshoeing
In the past, snowshoes were a major necessity for fur traders, trappers, and anyone whose living depends solely on the ability to get around in areas of deep and frequent snowfall, and also remains an essential equipment for forest rangers and those who must be able to get around areas inaccessible to motorized vehicles when the snow is deep.
The act of snowshoeing dates back around 6,000 years ago. Designed in Central Asia, its inspiration came up through the tracks of animals (snowshoe hare for example) which were adept in moving around the snow. Over centuries, they’ve played an important role in survival in the underdeveloped mountains for trappers and traders crossing the wilderness.
The traditional form of snowshoes was first crafted from hardwood and lattice rawhide, but today everything seems to be modernized. The frames are made from lightweight metals or plastic which are connected with synthetic fabric straps or Velcro bindings
Why Join the World of Snowshoeing?
Aside from being a recreational activity, here are some other reasons you should consider snowshoeing:
Beginner-friendly – snowshoeing basically involves sticking by some safety rules. If only this can be done, then you’re good to go. No extensive training or experience I required, but if you’ve got plans of venturing off easy trails, you’ll need basic knowledge of how to go up and down hills, traverse slopes, use of poles, and how to get up after falling in deep snow. This places it as one of the most inclusive activities for large groups or families.
You can go snowshoeing just about anywhere – choose your lands when it comes to stretching your legs in the snowy landscapes. Just pack your snowshoes in the car and find a local place or you can equally embark on a winter activity holiday in the French Alps or Norwegian mountains.
Fun for all Ages and Ability – anyone aside from a newly born baby can go snowshoeing since your outing can be made to match your interests and fitness levels. Snowshoe outings can include recreational work in the park, a casual outing to explore nature's beauty, or a steep and difficult backcountry hike.
Healthy as it burns calories – snowshoers helps burn anywhere between 400 and 1000 calories per hour. That’s certainly twice as much calories burnt if you were walking at that same speed. According to Snowsports Industries of America, this activity burns more than 45% more calories than walking or running at the same speed. Therefore, snowshoeing is a nice activity to include as part of a weight-loss program.
Inexpensive – getting a snowshoe costs nothing less than 100 bucks which is quite affordable. It can also be rented as adults can get it for $10. When buying or renting, it’s very important to check the kind of terrain you’d like to explore to choose the right type of snowshoe for your adventure, and the right size that’ll fit.
Types of Snowshoeing
Currently, there are three main types of snowshoeing you can try out:
Sport – today some persons who are a little more advanced may consider snowshoeing to be a very great and serious sport. As a substitute for skiing, running, or cycling, it can be used for cardiovascular benefits, for enhancing muscle tone, and also weight management.
Expedition – this form of snowshoeing tackles hard terrains and is most times considered dangerous. When planning an expedition across a remote backcountry or mountain, you're advised to invest more in the best winter gear and also take an avalanche safety kit along.
Recreational – this type of snowshoeing is for hobbyists and beginners, and the trail tends to be very easy, steering clear of difficult terrain. These activities are a great alternative to having a winter stroll and are suitable for persons who live in areas with an extreme climate. For you who just want to try something new, this is a hobby that’s relatively affordable and easy to get into.
Different Types of Snowshoes
The market is saturated with different types of snowshoes today, so getting the right one might get a little bit tricky. Have it in mind that when getting a snowshoe, you should always put the terrain you’ll be exploring into consideration. You can’t use a snowshoe that’s for a recreational terrain to go for an expedition.
The types listed below are modern snowshoes carved from aluminum, foam, or plastic.
Recreational snowshoes – the recreational snowshoes are best suited for first-timers/beginners. It's used for flat or rolling terrain, or terrains that don't require steep climbing or descents, and are very much less expensive due to its minimal features. There are available in men's model, women's models, and kids models. Note that a man and a woman can wear a men’s model while a man can’t wear a woman’s model since it has a narrower gait.
Racing snowshoes – these snowshoes are best suited for active runners, racers, or cross-trainers. It has a sleek, narrow design as it's used for snowshoe racing and running on groomed trails.
Technical hiking snowshoes – also known as backpacking snowshoes, these are best suited for those who are more acquainted with winter hiking. There are tough as snowshoes can come: strong aluminum frame, durable materials, bindings for all types of boots. Backpacking snowshoes are great for steep climbing and descents, and also for deep snow and country trails.
Walking on flat terrain is fairly straightforward and easy. So, to prevent overlapping of snowshoe frames, your strides are expected to be wider than normal. Though this may take a bit of getting used to as it can eventually cause your groin and hip muscles to ache when you start, it'll help out a lot. After a few practices, your body gon get used to the wider steps.
When it comes to ascending hills, you’ll have to use a technique known as the “kick step”, in which you kick into the snow with your toe, creating a step in powdery snow. As you ascend, you'll also use your toe or instep crampons for traction. It might take more than one try to build a solid surface that you can stand on. In conditions where the kick-step ends up creating a deep hole in the snow, look for a different route as this one can't help in building a solid surface.
When on crusty, hardpack snow, you’ll be relying solely on the traction of your snowshoe crampons and your poles. Walk up the slope, but if it’s too sharp or steep, migrate to an easier transversing route.
While on moderate slopes, use the snowshoe’s climbing bar, located under the heel of most snowshoes to place your foot in a neutral position.
While descending, you’ll have to rely on your walking poles. Place them in front as you go down and keep your knees bent and relaxed with every movement. Mount your heel first as you step, and avoid over-swinging your legs as this may cause your snowshoe to catch and place you off balance.
Cuyuna The Perfect Destinations for Snowshoeing
When it comes to finding the best place to test out your snowshoes, you get presented with endless options. As long as there's snow, nothing is preventing you from snowshoeing your way around the land for a full-body workout. But when we're looking at a winter activities with breathtaking scenery, Cuyuna, Minnesota is one of the best destinations to consider
Things you’ll need while Snowshoeing (Equipment and Clothing)
Being one of the cheapest winter sports, you won’t have many expenses. Once you purchase your first pairs of snowshoes, you'll be all good to go. But aside from just the snowshoes, you also need to have basic winter and outdoor gear. If you're a real and ambitious hiker, these things will likely already be in your possession.
Base layers and mid-layers.
Outer layers and waterproofs
Hats, gloves, and ski accessories
Walking shoes and gaiters.
Snowshoeing Safety Tips
Before going out, there are some important snowshoeing safety tips you should bear in mind:
Pick safe snowshoe routes – some resorts have way marked snowshoe routes in low avalanche risk areas. As a beginner, you’re advised to stick to these routes and also stay vigilant in checking risk levels depending on the terrain, weather, and your instincts.
Don’t go alone – it's very important to go in groups while snowshoeing. To boost safety confidence, you can go with a qualified guide. Not only that these guides will teach you some techniques, but they'll also advise you on the latest ways to explore the terrain.
Fuel up and stay hydrated always – due to the amount of calories you’ll be burning, it’s important to always fuel up and also carry extra energy snacks before setting off. It’s also important to stay hydrated. Not only does taking water help to keep your muscles functioning, it also helps fend off hypothermia.
Here's a link to snowshoe rental information