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Have you ever showshoed?… NO!… Snowshoeing is a fun winter activity, and a great break from “regular” hiking. It is also a great cardio exercise. And IT IS AN EXERCISE! Believe me! I mean, when you do it in a deep snow… Of course, you need to be in a decent shape…
I had a chance to snowshoe one time in the Crystal Lake area in a deep power snow on my Redfeather Backcountry snowshoes (like the ones above), and I was sinking up to my thighs deep. That was a workout.
To take advantage of the snowshoes you need to have at least about a foot of snow on the ground. I, occasionally, see people showshoeing in 2 – 3 inches of snow… My question is: why?! If it is easier to walk without snowshoes, why would you put them on! You’re still not getting a workout. You only hike in a clumsy manner… It would be an equivalent of jogging in the hiking boots… Doesn’t make any sense… But if the snow is deep – put them on.
Snowshoes are readily available now in many local sport stores. But if you cannot find them locally, you can always order them online from retailers like REI, Amazon, etc. If you do not want to purchase the modern snowshoes, but you’re looking for a traditional wooden design, you can purchase those too. But there is even more exciting option – there are workshops organized, often, in state parks that let you make them. I was able to find few in Michigan and Ontario, but if you research your local area, you should be able to find one, as the snowshoe making workshops became quite popular in last few years.
- Sleepy Hollow State Park has some snowshoe making classes scheduled during this winter. (No longer offered!)
- Ludington State Park . (No longer offered!)
- Hartwick Pines State Park. (No longer offered!)
- Canoe Museum: https://canoemuseum.ca/artisan-workshops/
If you are serious about snowshoeing, or would like to participate in an organized snowshoe event, here are few options: https://www.snowshoemag.com/category/news/events/
If you live in Michigan, or are in northern Michigan, around Traverse City area during the weekend of Jan. 21, 2017, you can participate in a fun snowshoe event called: Bigfoot Snowshoe Race. While it is a regular race and a qualifier for the National Championship, there are always families with kids and first-timers joining in because it’s fun. So, if you have a chance, join in. I’ve done it few times, and as long as there was snow on the ground, it was a memorable experience. If you live in another state or province, you can check locally and, most likely, you will find an organized snowshoeing event there too.
If you are completely new to snowshoeing and would like to learn more about it, here is a resourceful article in Snowshoe Magazine: First-Timer’s Guide to Snowshoeing.