Jill, Day Hiking Ambassador
As an ambassador who has had the joy of introducing friends and family to the world of snowshoeing this past winter I will now share with you the secret tips and tricks I have learned to make your first snowshoeing experience a success!
Stretch! STRETCH! Stretch!
I can’t begin to tell you the importance of stretching before, during, and after you go snowshoeing. When you are snowshoeing you are walking with a different gait than your norm. As soon as you start snowshoeing using this altered gait you will discover:
- Muscles you never recalled ever having.
- Muscles you haven’t used in forever.
- Muscles you have that are weak and in need of a workout.
- All of the Above
Poles in Hand
When snowshoeing for the first time make sure you are using poles. Not everyone’s balance and first time wearing snowshoes is equal. While you may feel confident in blazing down a trail your first time (especially when rocking Tubbs Snowshoes) its best to have poles as your backup plan. Learning your new snowshoeing gait and balance is key to having fun in the long run.
Keep Your Core Warm
Now this may sound like common sense but sometimes you can get caught up in all the fun and forget to keep warm. Wear layers that you can easily put on and take off while you are out in the snow. Have a warm hat and pair of gloves on hand at all times. Once you have finished your snowshoe workout you will notice that you will immediately start cooling off. When this happens make sure you put on an extra layer or two to keep your core warm. You will feel better and regulate your body’s temperature faster.
It’s important to allow your body to be flexible and loose. Make sure you are always snowshoeing with bent knees to allow your body to go with the flow. You can’t judge a layer of snow by its cover. It may look like an inch of powder but in reality it’s a foot. Or it may look like fluffy bliss but there is a layer of ice hiding underneath.
Take Your Time
Take your time and as many breaks as you need. The beauty of snowshoeing is that it opens up a world of winter for you to stop and enjoy. If you are too busy trying to keep pace or stressing out about going fast enough you are missing out on the experience as a whole. Take a moment to breath, take in the stillness, and admire the wild beauty of winter.
Nom! Nom! Nom!
Fend of the hunger monsters that tend to show up on the trail with snacks. Stock up on protein bars, dried fruit, chocolate, jerky, nuts, cheese, or anything that will give you a healthy energy boost.
Mind Your Confidence
Snowshoeing is easy to learn and a blast! If there is one downfall of it being such an easy winter activity to learn, it’s becoming over confident in your abilities. I have been snowshoeing for years but on occasion I hit a rough patch and fall in the snow when on the trail. Just remember to be on your guard when trekking on a trail and to visually sweep the area before taking your next step. It is also important to know your physical limits. Until you are a more seasoned snowshoer make sure you choose trails that are practical and achievable based on your skill level.
Staying hydrated while snowshoeing is vital! You may not think it but you can easily get dehydrated in the winter faster than you do in the summer. Between elevation gain and sweating you are losing a large amount of your body’s hydration. Drink lots of water on the trail even when you don’t feel the inclination of thirst. Want to drink something different? Try drinking hot tea from a thermos for a more flavorful boost. It will hydrate you as well as help keep your core warm.
Know Your Trail
Carry a map of the trail and/or GPS with you when you are snowshoeing. With a fresh cover of snowfall during your hike the beaten path can disappear and the landscape may visually change. If possible check in with a ranger or the party responsible for monitoring the trail of choice for updates and conditions that may be pertinent.
Heel Bars Rock!
You must learn and appreciate the power of the built in heel bars of Tubbs Snowshoes. Before you use heel bars try snowshoeing up a steep incline without them. Then walk back down the incline and pop them straight up. With heel bars at the ready snowshoe up the same incline. It will be magical feeling and you will never again want to use snowshoes that don’t have them.
Whether you are seeking the solitude or social engagement that snowshoeing can provide always make sure you aren’t snowshoeing alone. Whether it’s a plus one or plus ten make sure that you never take on the wilderness by yourself.
Introduce your feet to its new best friend in the whole wide world. Wool Socks are a MUST for snowshoeing. They will keep you warm, dry, and will prevent blisters from sneaking up on you. If there is any accessory that you need with your snowshoes its WOOL SOCKS! Love them! Embrace them! Wear them!
Snowshoeing for the first time is more fun when you do it with friends. Invite your friends, family, co-workers, or anyone who wants to learn how to snowshoe with you. It’s the best winter sport and anyone at any level can do it!