Winter recreation exercise that's fun!
Snowshoeing makes even familiar hikes different and new. It is often said by snowshoers that if you can walk, you can snowshoe. This is true in optimal conditions, but snowshoeing properly requires some slight adjustments to walking. The method of walking is to lift the shoes slightly and slide the inner edges over each other, thus avoiding the unnatural and fatiguing "straddle-gait" that would otherwise be necessary. When the snow is deep enough, obstacles such as large boulders and fallen logs can be more easily bypassed. The resurgence of interest in snowshoeing is in some part due to snowboarders, who took to them as a way to reach backcountry powder bowls and other areas while they were still banned from most ski areas. Their similarities to snowboards, in shape and binding, led many of them to continue use even after snowboarders were allowed to use most ski slopes. Despite most ski areas now allowing snowboarders, there is a growing interest in trails, backcountry and sidecountry snowboarding in the search for fresh powder. Great for training, athletes such as runners have found that using light snowshoes allows them to continue exercising and racing during winter.
Interesting Wikipedia tidbit for you:
As many winter recreationists rediscover snowshoeing, many more new models of snowshoe are becoming available. Ski areas and outdoor equipment stores are offering snowshoes for rent
Snowshoes today are divided into three types:
- aerobic/running (small and light; not intended for backcountry use);
- recreational (a bit larger; meant for use in gentle-to moderate walks of 3–5 miles (4.8–8.0 km)); and
- mountaineering (the largest, meant for serious hill-climbing, long-distance trips and off-trail use).
Sizes are often given in inches, even though snowshoes are nowhere near perfectly rectangular. Mountaineering shoes can be at least 30 inches (76 cm) long by 10 inches (25 cm) wide; a lighter pair of racing shoes can be slightly narrower and 25 inches (64 cm) or shorter.
Regardless of configuration, all wooden shoes are referred to as "traditional" and all shoes made of other materials are called "modern."
Notwithstanding these variations in planned use, larger users should plan on buying larger snowshoes. A common formula is that for every pound of body weight, there should be one square inch of snowshoe surface (14.5 cm²/kg) per snowshoe to adequately support the wearer. Users should also consider the weight of any gear they will be packing, especially if they expect to break trail. Those planning to travel into deep powder look for even larger shoes.
Many manufacturers now include weight-based flotation ratings for their shoes, although there is no standard for setting this yet.