For those new to this sport even if already a skier, preparing for using alternate muscles is advisable. Doing pre-season activities and exercises is advisable to help stretch and strengthen the body. Snowshoeing is on narrow trails and climbing hills and down requires a different skill set. Trails will have a packed base but can have softer snow on top. The trails are narrow and less accessible for snowmobiles and can be far from the lodge. Members must follow the same Club Safety Protocols as skiers.
Always go with a buddy or group!
The snowshoes now available are lighter and more manoeverable than they used to be. Whether renting or buying, look for a horizontal teflon base to prevent snow buildup and consider waxing it. This is especially helpful in warmer snow conditions. The crampon (a tooth like gripper) aids grip. It’s important to know how to secure and remove the straps on the shoes so you can re-secure them should you ever need to when on the trail.
The toe strap should secure your boot well enough that your foot isn’t slipping forward. Ask the store that you buy them from (or the Lodge rentals staff) to show you and if you have your own, check equipment before you hit the trails. You may wish to rent for several times before you purchase but if planning to continue, it can be prudent to purchase. If buying, it is recommended to purchase from a sports store with qualified experts to advise you. Your weight is the key factor in determining the snowshoe length. Women’s shoes tend to be be narrower although this is based on comfort.
Boots can be your own snow boots but make sure the back heel portion is firm enough to stand up to the continual stress of the strap. Boots can be your own snow boots but make sure the back heel portion is firm enough to stand up to the continual stress of the strap. Do not wear your cross-country ski boots! Not only will you subject them to unnecessary wear and tear, they do not have enough of a projecting heel/sole for the snowshoe heel strap to grip on to. For the deeper snow you could encounter, high cut boots keep you dry. Gaitors also work. Also, poles with wider baskets float better on the top snow. Most people use poles for propulsion but if you’re well balanced, they are not necessary. It is wiser to transport your snowshoes in a special labelled snowshoe bag.
For additional information on snowshoeing refer to the link below, with permission from REI Co-op: