I just went snowshoeing this weekend, and after seeing this article about the practical benefits of snowshoeing, I thought I’d add my own, less objective reasons to snowshoe. I think it’s one of the most underrated activities out there, maybe because it seems like hard work (which it is, but it’s fun work!)
- It’s cheap and low-commitment. The Just Trails article covers this. Snowshoes are not expensive, easy to learn to use, and not super huge, so it’s easy to try out snowshoeing or have it as a minor hobby without expending a ton of effort on it.
- You’ll see parts of nature you wouldn’t otherwise see. On this short hike, we saw bunny tracks going into holes! We also saw some hardy birds and perfect snowflakes that looked just like miniature versions of the paper ones we made as children. It’s another side of nature that comes out at winter, it’s quieter and pristine (and sparkly).
- You can also build snowmen or have snowball fights! If you live somewhere like Seattle where it doesn’t snow much in your city but there’s snow nearby, snowshoeing can be a great excuse to get out and do those things you want to do in the snow. Make a snow angel, try to build an igloo, or build a weird animal out of snow! We made a snow chipmunk.
- It’s a great workout. Seriously. If you want to sweat the most you ever have on a hike, find some fresh powder and try to walk on it. Even in snowshoes, your feet will sink over a foot. It’s a little like trying to walk in a swimming pool. Sure, you won’t go as far, but you’ll feel like you did!
- It’s build-your-own-adventure! Often, there is no trail. You need to be careful of water or tree wells, and unless you are somewhere very popular (which is cool too) you will need a GPS, but you are more free than ever to explore the landscape because defined trails aren’t as necessary when deep snow is protecting all of the life from your impact. Also, in many places you will see few to no other snowshoers, so it’ll feel like following your own path instead of a groomed trail. It is important to follow rules from the place you are snowshoeing regarding where you can go, heed avalanche warnings, and follow reasonable safety procedures as detailed here.
- But it also doesn’t have to be! If you’re a beginner or have kids, you can snowshoe on super-well-established trails where you will see tons of people and have no danger of getting lost or caught in an avalanche. A lot of cross-country skiing locations also have snowshoeing. There is something with the right level of adventure for anyone.
- It’s super meditative. This is my favorite reason of them all. Snowshoeing is more relaxing than hiking because the landscape becomes so visually simple and clean. You hear so much less in the winter (so you really notice what you do hear) and you smell only that strange clean smell of snow. And you are almost always alone. Moving slowly through an entirely white landscape is a great way to clear your head and reconnect with your body.
Do you have any other reasons you love snowshoeing? I hope you get out in the snow this season!
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