Photo: Camerique / Getty Images
With many of your favorite indoor spots still closed, you may be looking for new ways to entertain yourself outdoors. Snowshoeing is the perfect solution. It is a sport accessible to all ages, morphologies and skill levels. And unlike a lot of winter sports, snowshoeing equipment doesn’t have to cost a frozen arm and leg: “You can go spend $ 1,000 on snowshoes, ”says Eli Simon, owner of Atlantic Climbing School, but you can still get great equipment by“ putting affordability over comfort ”. Plus, you can snowshoe almost anywhere. Neighborhood parks and athletic fields are great options, says Mark Elmore, athletic director of the US Snowshoe Association. Or even your own backyard. “All you really need is a little snow,” he says. And the more snow you have, the more fun it is: “Four inches of easily packed snow, you don’t necessarily see a big advantage over a microspike,” says Elmore. “But when you get four to six inches of powder, now you’re going to see a big difference. And when you get into the six to 12 inch range, this is where you’ll notice significant differences in effort levels between snowshoes and walking with microspikes.
To determine the type of snowshoe that’s right for you, think about how much snow you’ll be walking in and what you want to do. “It all basically comes down to the surface of the racket. The deeper the snow or the heavier the load, the more snowshoe area you will need to stay above the snow as much as possible, ”explains Elmore. If you are looking to go fast or even run, the reverse may actually be true: “The smaller the shoe, the easier it is, the more comfortable it is and the less impact it has on your gait. And then there’s the pull. If you are on level ground you don’t need much. Rolling hills require a bit more grip and steep or icy terrain requires aggressive crampons.
As important as finding the right racquet is, finding the right clothing – things that will keep you warm and dry – is even more important when it comes to staying safe and having fun. To help you find the right racquet gear, we asked Simon, Elmore and five other experts to tell us about their racquets, gloves, hats, socks, base layers and more. Here are their choices.
Editor’s Note: With the outdoors more popular than ever this year, the equipment below is in high demand and inventory changes frequently. We will continue to check and update the story to reflect the current stock, but if you see anything available, act quickly.
If you are new to sports, buying an affordable and affordable option may be the best bet. “Some inexpensive brands work very well,” says Simon. “I really like LLBean. They make a great product across the board, and they have a great return policy.
Note: These rackets are currently sold out, but the MSR rackets below (which are also subject to LLBean’s generous return policy) are still in stock.
“MSR is a great brand. The REVO Explore is for someone who wants to improve their game a bit, ”says Stacey Timmons, Director of Retail Sales at Sun Valley. “They are a combination of speed and performance in deep snow.”
If walking isn’t your cup of tea, you can get some snowshoes specifically designed for running. “Atlas snowshoes make great running shoes,” says Elmore. These lightweight aluminum shoes have a narrow frame that helps prevent cutting yourself or snagging one shoe on the other, even when you are sprinting. “The running aspect of the sport is what I affectionately call the crazy bangs,” he says.
“I would really recommend anyone who snowshoes to use poles,” says Sam von Trapp, manager and executive vice president of Trapp Family Lodge. “They give you two more points of contact with the ground and help you keep your balance.” They also allow you to propel yourself with your arms as well as your legs. Unlike alpine poles, hiking poles have a basket to keep you from getting stuck in the snow, explains Timmons. She loves Leki’s poles because “most of them are telescopic, so you can adjust to your height.”
“Boots are very condition dependent,” says Simon. According to Lauren Stagnittie, outdoor recreation manager at Trapp Family Lodge, “at least [you want to wear] a light hiking boot and, on colder days, maybe a super insulated boot. If you can keep your ankle covered, that’s fine. This boot is perfect for snowshoeing, says Timmins, because it’s lightweight, waterproof and warm.
If you choose to wear your light hiking or winter boots (or if you’re going to be in deep snow), Stagnitie says a gaiter like this is a great way to keep your feet dry and out of the snow. snow from your boots.
“On colder days, the Swany’s Legend mitt will keep you warm without sacrificing dexterity to hold a stick,” explains Timmins.
“Anything woolen” will work, says von Trapp, “but I’m embarrassed to be seen not wearing Darn Tough. They’re made in Vermont, incredibly warm and performant, and they come with a lifetime warranty.
“Skida is huge here,” says Tim Harper, a high school cross country coach in Norwich, Vermont. “People love that it’s a Vermont company, and the hats and headbands are warm without being heavy.” The Alpine beanie shown here is lined with fleece for extra warmth.
“A good base layer [keeps you warm and] wicks sweat away from your body so your skin stays dry and not clammy, ”says Mark Elmore. Plus, “modern woolen diapers don’t scratch,” says von Trapp.
A good zip-up diaper is great for keeping warm, while also giving you great options for wicking away excess heat. This jacket is “windproof, dries quickly when wet, and is light enough to fit in a bag if you get too hot,” explains Timmins. “I like that I can give it up if it’s too hot,” says von Trapp.
“It’s good to have windproof pants as an outer layer. And a lot of snowshoes will give you snow blasts in the back, so these pants make sure the snow slips, ”says Elmore. Timmons agrees and says Swix is one of the best brands in Sun Valley.
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