Winter is here and I get quite a few questions about snow shoeing and how do I begin so I thought I would do a small write up. I hope this helps out some beginners. Let's take a look at a few things and not make it complicated after all we are just "walking" with tennis racquettes on our feet right? At first it may seem that snow shoeing may be hard even intimidating, choosing snow shoes, using poles, dressing correctly, where do I go? Don't get me wrong these things do come into play at certain times, but here's a few tips we can follow to make the experience easier and more enjoyable to the beginner.
'First time check the weather and dress for success- There is no reason for you to try a new skill in the worst possible conditions such as rain, sleet, or a blizzard that is simple enough, But what if it starts to thaw as well and you have over dressed and find yourself working harder because of slush all things to keep in mind. Follow the layering principle and while you're exerting yourself remove layers and be comfortably "cool" and while at rest add you insulation to snug and warm. Remember a waterproof shell can come in handy as a wind shell and sun glasses to protect you eyes from snow blindness.
Grab some Snowshoes- Don't go crazy here your first pair of snow shoes can be borrowed from a friend or family hand me downs, rentals, maybe they are pretty new from a friend they don't have to be perfect but try to make sure the are sized for you without being too large so that you spend more time getting up than moving forward. Snow shoes make you feet wider and most certainly longer we dont want them to be skis though. Your snow shoes are usually sized by adding your weight and the weight of your pack together this will give the basic size needed. It takes a little bit to get used to walking in them so another piece of gear that is helpful to your balance is adjustable hiking poles. The help you while moving along the trail help you brace and brake while descending, and assist you when getting back up from that fall.
Carry a Pack- It doesn't have to be a 50 liter summit Mt. Everest Pack, just make sure you have a few items we need while going out to enjoy a hike, Water we don't want to become dehydrated if you break trail you will use energy and you're bound to sweat even though you don't want to. High Caloric snacks these will help greatly in colder weather Summer sausage, cheese even bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter are always tasty. Fire starting kit for obvious reasons, maybe an extra pair of socks and mitts. If you are in a controlled area such as a park or a known property some of these things may or may not be needed. Use your head and don't get cocky kid!
Pick a trail and Let someone know - Ask around to folks you may have seen snow shoeing around where they go, or if you rented a pair ask them for good beginner trails. Hop on out to the nearest park go but above all wherever you decide on going "Let someone know where you are and when you're getting back!" Remember this is a new skill you always have the potential to experience that unforeseen mechanical injury. this always a good idea whether you're a novice or an experienced outdoorsman.
Learn Basic Movements- Educate yourself read a few articles there are many good books on the subject that explain them. Start with a flat level terrain as opposed to big mountains and hills. or the best way is to go along with our next tip a
Friend or someone experienced - this is the best way to get moving along the trails!
Lastly, snow shoeing will open a door to you exploring and further your hiking season.
Take the first step in that journey, have fun and "Walk the Woods"