By Sheila Goss, Day Hiking Ambassador
My Tubbs Mountaineer snowshoes have become an integral part of my day hiking snowshoe fleet. This past winter has seen some really wonderful snowshoeing weather, and I was able to explore quite a variety of trails and conditions, giving these snowshoes a good workout. I have used them in deep powder, soft snow, steep uphills, and a few gnarly traverses and descents. The Mountaineers have proved to be a reliable, confidence-inducing snowshoe, suitable for the variety of terrain we encounter in Vermont.
I use the 25 inch snowshoes because we often have to negotiate tight, narrow trails. In some conditions, a longer snowshoe may be more suitable, but for all-around backcountry use, the Mountaineer 25 have worked out great. They are 8” x 25” , with a rugged but light 6000 aluminum frame, and Tubbs SoftTec™ decking that has proven extremely durable. They weigh 4.8 lbs. per pair, with a 178 in. surface area. These are the women’s specific model, so that is a bit smaller surface area than the men’s, most likely due to the slightly narrower nose on this shoe than on the men’s model.
The binding is easy to use, and holds my boots in place throughout some rigorous motion. This asymmetric ActiveFit+™ binding is comfortable, and holds my boot in an efficient position. I will note, the binding is gender specific; I wear men’s boots, and the narrower toe box of this model’s binding does leave some small gaps. However, I am able to snug my boot in the binding quite adequately, and never feel and slip and slide action. I did try my boots in a Men’s Mountaineer Snowshoes, and the boot fit perfectly; hence, your boot style should be taken into consideration for gender model determination. The woman’s specific binding fits up to a woman’s size 11 boot. My men’s boots are a size 8.5 , which converts to a women’s size 10. Therefore, it is apparently the size of the toe box on my men’s boots which results in the slight disconnect with the fit.
The combination of the Pro-step frame (with a longer, lower rise) and durable decking, has resulted in a nice level of flotation, helpful on those outing where I am breaking trail. The articulation of the pin connector and binding allow for my foot to stay in a comfortable, ergonomically efficient position while moving uphill, downhill, or on traverses.
The heel lift is a great assist on steep uphill climbs; it is easily put into position, and then released, by using the end of my pole grip. I do not think I would ever again snowshoe without heel lifts, as they really do relieve the leg stress, and increase efficiency, on steep climbs.
The toe and heel position crampons on this snowshoe provide real confidence; they are aggressive, and have proved to keep me feeling secure in all snow conditions. The toe crampon (the Anaconda) has 8 aggressive teeth, and really hold the shoe in position on steep climbs. The heel crampon (the Python) is positioned under the heel, with 3 side teeth on each side, and a large rear tooth on each side; this gives good traction, grip, and braking on descents. There are no traction side rails on this shoe, but the combination of a good strong frame, and the toe and heel crampons make it reliable on tricky traverses.
The Women’s Mountaineer Snowshoe has white decking, with grey and purple subtle graphics. The binding straps are purple, as is the aluminum frame. This would not be my first color choice, but they actually look spiffy as they work up the trail! The white decking material under my boot area has faded/discolored a bit, but that in no way affects the performance of these fine snowshoes. They have picked up a few minor dings and scratches over the course of an active season, but again, this is only a cosmetic effect. I expect that these snowshoes, much as my other Tubbs snowshoes, with last for many years, and many adventures!