10 Snowshoeing Tips for Newbies

Snowshoeing is a great winter outdoor activity for people of all ages and abilities. It is a good way to get outside and enjoy the snow if you don't want to go skiing or snowboarding.

If you are new to this outdoor activity, here are 10 beginner snowshoeing tips you should know about to make your experience more enjoyable!

What’s So Great About Snowshoeing?

Easy to learn

A snowshoe outing is a winter adventure that may be enjoyed in a variety of ways - a leisurely stroll in the park, an easy excursion to get to know nature, or a challenging backcountry trek.

Even if you are an absolute beginner, it is relatively easy to learn how to snowshoe. Once you have your pair of snowshoes, all you need to do is strap them onto your boots and start walking! You don't need any special skills or equipment, or fitness level.

It's a great social activity

This snowshoeing adventure allows you to meet other people while on the trails. Snowshoeing is a great opportunity to catch up with friends, or even make new ones while admiring the beauty of winter.

Healthy and Low-Impact Exercise

One of the benefits of snowshoeing is improving your cardiovascular fitness. By snowshoeing, you can increase your heart rate without putting too much impact on your joints - it's an excellent low-impact activity.

In addition, a snowshoe hike is a great way to tone your leg muscles. If you are looking for a way to get some exercise this winter, snowshoeing is a great option!

It's inexpensive

All you need for a snowshoe adventure is a good pair of snow shoes and ski poles and you are good to go! Snowshoes can be rented at most outdoor stores at an additional cost, or you can purchase your own pair for around $150. Make sure that the shoe size is right for you so you are comfortable wearing them.

10 Snowshoeing Tips for Beginners

Source: K7Adventures

1. Pack the right gear and essentials

Trekking Poles

Choose poles with snow baskets at the bottom so they doesn’t sink too far into the snow. If you are snowshoeing in deep powder, you may want to consider a longer or adjustable pole to help with balance.

Traction devices

These are devices that you attach to the bottom of your snowshoes or boots to help with traction on icy or hard-packed snow. This protects you from slipping and falling on the trails.

Gaiters

It is vital to keep your feet dry in a snowshoeing adventure. Gaiters are a type of boot cover that helps to keep snow out of your boots and socks and prevents your feet from getting wet.

2. Bring the essentials

First aid kit

Regardless of how short or long your snowshoeing trip is, always bring a first aid kit with you in case of any accidents. Just a small kit with the essentials will do.

Food and water

Don't forget to take a water bottle and some snacks with you. It is always better to have more than you need, rather than not enough.

Communication devices

An emergency device is a must, whether you are snowshoeing alone or with others. Unexpected things could happen while you are on the trail. Your mobile phones could be out of service in some areas, so it is important to have a backup plan. A whistle could be helpful in signaling for help if needed.

Map and compass

Even if you are snowshoeing on an established trail, it is always good to have a map with you. The map will help you orient yourself and know where you are in case you get off the trail.

3. Choose the right snowshoes

The type of snowshoe will depend on the snow conditions and the type of terrain you will be snowshoeing in:

  • For packed snow, choose a snowshoe with less surface area. This will allow you to move through the snow more easily.
  • For deep powder, choose a snowshoe with a large surface area. This will help you float on top of deep snow and prevent you from sinking.
  • For rugged terrain, choose a snowshoe with good traction. This will help you to move over icy or hard-packed snow without slipping.

Depending on your needs, you can choose from a variety of snowshoes such as these:

Recreational hiking snowshoes

Recreational snowshoes are ideal for more laid-back outings, but they may not be the best snowshoe for technical terrain and steep slopes.

Technical hiking snowshoes

With a more advanced traction system, technical snowshoes will provide enhanced traction in difficult and shifting environments.

Racing/fitness snowshoes

These are suited for snowshoers who want a snowshoe for running or speed walking in packed snow conditions. Keep in mind that snowshoes are required if the snow depth is greater than 15 cm.

4. Dress for winter

Layer clothes appropriately

Choose a breathable and waterproof jacket for your outer layer to keep you dry. For your mid-layer, choose an insulating material like wool or down to keep you warm. For your base layer, dress in moisture-wicking fabrics that will help to keep you dry and comfortable. You may also want to pack extra warm layers in case you get cold while on the trail or get caught in a storm.

Keep your hands, neck and head warm

Bring gloves, a scarf, and a hat with you to keep your extremities warm. It is important to keep your head and neck covered as well since these are areas where heat can escape from your body easily.

Choose insulated waterproof boots

Insulated boots will help to keep your feet warm and dry. Make sure that your boots are comfortable and fit well so that you can snowshoe comfortably.

5. Know the basics

Stride

This movement is similar to walking, but with a longer stride. The snowshoes will help you to distribute your weight over a larger surface area so that you don’t sink into the snow.

Kick turn

This is a turning technique that is used when you need to make a sharp turn. It is done by kicking one snowshoe into the snow to pivot your body around.

Getting up

Simply roll over onto your stomach, raise one knee and push yourself up into a half-kneeling position. Then, using your knees to brace your hands/arms, rise back to a standing posture.

Breaking trail

This is just pushing through the untouched snow. The depth of the snow will influence the difficulty of breaking your path. In heavy snow, you may need to take smaller and higher lifting steps.

Stamping and edging

Stand in one place, lightly lift your heel, and then your toe. Pause for a brief moment before shifting your weight to the whole snowshoe. Using the laws of physics and time pressure, this motion helps to solidify snow.

6. Get familiar with common snowshoe techniques

How to snowshoe on flat terrain

Walking on a flat or rolling surface is quite simple. You should take wider steps than you would while hiking to avoid striking the insides of your snowshoe frames. After a few snowshoeing sessions, expect your hips and glute muscles to feel sore.

How to snowshoe uphill

For traction, while climbing a steep hill, you may equip toe or instep crampons. The snow must be firmly planted with your feet in front of you at all times. Depending on the conditions, several methods are used.

How to snowshoe downhill

Keep trekking poles in front of you, slightly bend your knees and relax, and your body weight slightly behind on descents. When walking, stride smoothly and put your heel first. Poles add extra balance and precision as you descend—just make sure they're adjusted to suit your decline.

7. Select a trail

Now that you know the basics, you are ready to snowshoe! But where should you go? Make sure to select a snowshoeing trail that is appropriate for your level of experience and fitness. If you are new to snowshoeing, choose a flat trail because it is less difficult, and the heavily-traveled routes.

Once you have more experience, you can attempt longer and more challenging trails. Also consider the snow conditions when choosing a trail. If the snow is packed and icy, choose a trail with good traction. If it is powdery snow, choose a trail with less elevation gain.

8. Check the weather forecast

After picking the trail, make sure to check the weather reports for the day. You don’t want to be caught in extreme weather conditions or a blizzard. It is better to know the weather conditions before you leave home.

9. Be avalanche aware and educated

Check the daily avalanche forecast before you snowshoe. If the conditions are high risk, choose a different trail. You could also take an avalanche safety class to educate yourself on avalanche warning signs and what to do if one occurs. It is best to avoid avalanche risk trails to prevent injury.

10. Try it with a guide

K7 Adventures in Thredbo offer guided snow shoe trips for all levels. Going on a guided trip with K7 means they can provide the right gear and advice to get you up and going safely.

K7 offer 1/2 day trips morning or afternoon and also full day adventures like climbing Australia's highest mountin Mt Kosciusko, a great thing to do on Snow Shoes!

So book a trip now. There's nothing more peaceful and rewarding than being in the backcountry surrounded by nature and snow!. Just rememeber to take some pictures and share this inspiring outdoor adventure with others!

Snowshoeing in Thredbo? Book your stay at Lantern Apartments!

Lantern Apartments offer the perfect accommodation in Thredbo. With a range of self-contained one, two, and three-bedroom apartments, Lantern Apartments have something to suit everyone. All you need after a long tiring day of snowshoeing is a comfortable place to stay and Lantern Apartments provide just that!

Book your stay today at Lantern Apartments and enjoy snowshoeing in Thredbo! Contact us at bookings@lantern.com.au