Monday 18 November 2019

In Praise of Snowshoes

Snowshoes on Sgor Gaoith

Today was my first day out in unbroken snow in the hills this winter. I took snowshoes as I knew from reports that the snow was quite deep high up and walking could be arduous. I could have taken skis but I didn't feel like carrying them to the snow or walking in ski boots. I suspected too that lower down the snow might be too broken or shallow for skiing, as turned out to be the case.

Snowshoes tracks (mine) and boot tracks today

Making travel in deep snow easier is the main reason for using snowshoes. Of course skis do that too - and I love ski touring - so why do I sometimes use snowshoes?

  • Snowshoes are lighter than skis for carrying
  • Snowshoes are easy to strap on a pack - no long waving skis catching you in the back of the legs or snagging on branches.
  • Snowshoes can be used with your ordinary boots - no need for ski boots or bindings.
  • Snowshoes can be worn when crossing areas on thin snow or even bare ground - no need to keep taking them on and off. I have waded streams in them!
  • Using snowshoes is easy, just remember to keep your feet wider apart than usual. No need to take courses or learn skills.
Snowshoes on my pack today

I wrote a longer piece about snowshoes and skis a few years ago - The Snows Here? Skis or Snowshoes. I reviewed the snowshoes I used today for The Great Outdoors two years ago.

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