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Tips on Purchasing Snowshoes

Winter in Alberta is incredibly beautiful but it can be long, depending on the year.

If you enjoy winter sports then long winters with plenty of snow are a bonus!

If you are looking for a new winter sport to try this year, then you should consider snowshoeing. Snow shoeing is one of the most accessible winter sports for all ages. If you can walk, you can snowshoe.

Snowshoeing in deep soft snow after a winter storm allows you to access and explore not easily accessible spots with normal winter boots. And that can be magical and spectacular!

Before you make the decision to invest in snowshoes, it is a good idea to try rentals, to make sure that you enjoy the sport before investing in a pair of your own.

Snow shoes are generally classified into 4 categories, depending on the type of terrain you’d like to use them in:

  1. Running – Snow shoes built for running are generally fairly small, providing plenty of agility, plus they are light and strong.
  2. Parks / flat terrain – When snow shoeing in parks and flat terrain the trails are often more hard packed and do not require much traction or flotation.
  3. Hills – When snow shoeing on hilly terrain, snow shoes require moderate traction.
  4. Mountains – Snow shoes require plenty of traction to go up steep slopes

At Norseman we offer a variety of the above, with the exception of snowshoes for parks and flat terrain. We also carry adult unisex, ladies and children’s snowshoes.

If you like snowshoeing and are considering purchasing a pair, here are 3 things to consider before purchasing:
•    The size of the snowshoes.
•    How much traction you will require.
•    How the harness is designed.

1. SIZE

Snowshoes act as flotation devices on soft deep snow. They allow you to stay on the surface of the snow. The larger the snowshoes are, the better you will stay on the snow.

If you’re thinking the larger the snowshoe the better, one thing to keep in mind is that as your snow shoe increases in size, your agility decreases. Bigger can mean more awkward in tight spaces, such as when making your way through trees and wooded areas.

2. TRACTION

Before you consider purchasing snow shoes, you need to ask yourself how you would like to use them. Will you primarily use them to walk in the woods on flatter trails? Or will you use them to explore more hilly terrain? Or would you like to use them in the mountains on steeper trails?

When it comes to snowshoes, the teeth provide the traction. If you plan to do lots of climbing in mountainous terrain, then you need as much traction as possible.

3. HARNESS DESIGN

When it comes to the harness design, our best recommendation is to choose a harness that holds the boot evenly and that you can put on and take off yourself while wearing your largest winter gloves. Plus make sure that the harness holds your boot comfortably, does not dig in and that your boot doesn’t slide out.

Also, some snowshoes are unisex and some are designed with the harness on an angle to fit men or women better.

A FINAL TIP

When snow shoeing don’t forget to pack food, water and extra clothing. A general rule to keep in mind is that the further you go the more gear you will require. Also, be sure to stay out of any avalanche terrain.

If you would like to try renting snowshoes, we offer 24 hour rentals of adult and junior snowshoes. Our snow shoe package includes snowshoes and poles. Learn more here: https://norsemanoutdoorspecialist.com/rentals

If you are interested in purchasing a pair of your own, our Norseman Team would be happy to help.

Happy Winter!