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Find national parks and forest preservations with snowshoeing trails and areas.
Strap on your snowshoes and explore snow-covered hiking trails for a hard workout. Mountains are a great place to create your own snowshoeing trails. Many ski resorts offer snowshoe rentals for additional winter fun.
When rivers freeze over, they provide the perfect platform for low-impact, long distance snowshoeing. Be sure that the rivers or lakes you decide to traverse are frozen over completely. Bring a buddy for safety.
Modern snowshoes are more high tech than your great-grandad's rawhide and wood pair. It's best to search a local winter sports shop for snowshoeing equipment, but sporting goods stores will also have otpions
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Snowshoeing is a relatively inexpensive activity that is good for all age groups. Snowshoes range from $60-$300 and can be used anywhere with no lift ticket needed as with skiing and snowboarding. There are many different kinds and sizes of snowshoes available which cater to the depth of snow you'll be hiking in, how long you'll be wearing them and your physical size. When you suit up for your first snowshoeing adventure, be sure to wear good boots, wicking layers, wool or polypropylene socks, water-resistant outerwear and gloves. Even in cold conditions, you may heat up quickly because of the aerobic nature of snowshoeing. It is essential to pull the sweat away from your skin, so that you do not have wet clothes next to your skin once you stop walking. Heat escapes quickly from your head, so regulate your body temperature by wearing a hat or removing it. When strapping on your snowshoes, tighten them to a snug fit and try walking inside before heading into the snow. It will feel different than your normal stride because your feet will have to be further apart. You will also have to pick your knees up high once you are in the snow. Walk as naturally as possible, trying to avoid hitting your snowshoes together or overlapping your snowshoes when standing. Think of standing with your feet as far apart as your hips. You may also want to bring a backpack on longer trips in which you can pack snacks, sunglasses, a compass and a map. You can also try running for a more intense workout; there are snowshoes that are made specifically for running. Get familiar with the different gripping capabilities on your snowshoes before you try climbing uphill.
You don't need to be a super athlete to snowshoe, but you can always try to do some targeted workouts before hitting the trail. Snowshoeing is basically walking, but it does require an added level of balance due to the snowshoes. Abdominal strength, hip flexor strength and calf strength are essential to be able to propel yourself forward in the snow. To stabilize your balance and increase your body's core strength, try the Balance Challenge with Core Workout before or after a day on the snowshoeing trail.
It seems like a no-brainer, but turning right or left while wearing snowshoes can be very difficult. There are a couple of options. You can walk in a full circle, but you'll need space to do so. If you are on a tighter trail or snowshoeing on an incline you may want to try a "step turn". First make a "t" with your snowshoes by placing one shoe perpendicular to the other. Then, bring the other snowshoe alongside to turn your body halfway. You can repeat this move to make a complete half-turn. You could also try the more advanced "kick turn" if you need to move quickly by placing one snowshoe in the complete opposite direction of the other.
Snowshoeing doesn't have an overwhelming amount of terminology. However, there are three important terms you should know: breaking trail, stamping and edging. Breaking trail is exactly as it sounds. When you are snowshoeing on a new trail and if you are traveling with others, someone will have to lead the way. The leader has a difficult job, but should keep in mind that every step they take affects the people behind them because they will step in those marks. A leader's stride should not be too long. You should switch out leaders often to keep everyone energized. While breaking trail, you will want to do some stamping. Stamping involves walking heel first then dropping your toes. This will be lighter on the snowshoeing trail and will make a cleaner step for the snowshoers behind you. When you start ascending a slope, you'll want to use edging to create a stair-like path. To edge a slope, kick the side of your shoe into the hillside then engage the cleats. Next, stamp down to secure the snowshoe edge in the slope, then bring the other foot alongside it and step into the stair you just made. When ascending, be sure to travel in a diagonal crossing formation.
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