Is Snowshoeing easy? people out snowshoeing

Is Snowshoeing Easy? (Explained)

Snowshoeing can be easy or difficult depending on the terrain, weather, snow conditions, and the fitness level of the person doing it.

When taken at an easy pace. Snowshoeing is often less strenuous than other winter sports such as skiing, cross-country skiing, or snowboarding and is a great family activity for all abilities.  For those looking for a more challenging experience. Snowshoeing over mountains, through deep snow, or at speed can really get the heart pumping.

Snowshoeing can be a fun, easy, and safe outdoor activity with the proper equipment, clothing, and of course some snow!

Read on to find out some more about one of our favorite pastimes

What Is Snowshoeing?

Snowshoeing is a winter outdoor activity that involves walking on snow-covered terrain using special footwear called snowshoes. Snowshoes are designed to distribute a person’s weight over a larger area. This allows snowshoers to walk on top of deep snow without sinking. Allowing people to hike and explore snowy terrain that would otherwise be inaccessible.

You can snowshoe almost anywhere with snow! including national parks, forests, and wilderness areas. Some popular destinations for snowshoeing include the Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevada, and the Adirondacks. You can also snowshoe in many local parks and on designated snowshoe trails.

Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the winter landscape, meet some new friends and get some exercise. It is relatively easy to learn and can be a fun activity for people of all ages and abilities.

A pair of old snowshoes

What Are Snowshoes?

Snowshoes have been used for thousands of years by indigenous people in cold regions to travel on snow. The oldest known snowshoes were discovered in a glacier in Norway and are believed to be over 6,000 years old!

They were typically made of wood and animal hide and were used by people in areas such as the Arctic and subarctic regions of North America, Europe, and Asia.

In the 19th century, snowshoes began to be mass-produced and marketed to people who wanted to enjoy winter sports and recreation.

Modern snowshoes are typically made using a large, flat frame made of wood, aluminum, plastic, or carbon fiber. The frame is designed to distribute a person’s weight over a larger area, allowing them to walk on top of the snow without sinking in.

The frame is usually attached to the user’s shoes with straps or bindings. This allows the wearer to walk or hike with a natural gait. Modern snowshoes often have features such as adjustable bindings, heel lifts, and crampons. Such features improve traction and performance on different types of terrain.

Some snowboarders and skiiers even use snowshoes to hike the backcountry mountains. At the top of the hike, they swap out boards or skis for snowshoes and enjoy some fresh powder on the way down.

is snowshoeing easy? - close up of snowshoes

How To Make Snowshoeing Feel Easy

Those trying the activity for the first time may be anxious about the equipment involved, the terrain, and getting cold or wet. But with the correct preparation and guidance, snowshoeing can be an extremely safe and enjoyable family activity.

To ensure you enjoy a safe and stress-free snowshoeing adventure, we recommend considering the following factors:

Proper equipment 

Having the right type of snowshoes and poles can make a big difference. Snowshoes with larger frames and a more aggressive crampon system will be more effective in deep snow. While smaller, lighter snowshoes are better for groomed trails or rolling terrain.

Level of fitness 

Being in good physical shape can make snowshoeing easier. It will be less tiring and more enjoyable. Summer hikers or those who play sports often will have no problem adapting to snowshoeing.

Snow conditions 

Snowshoeing is generally easier when the snow is well-packed and not too deep, as this will require less effort to walk on. If you are walking through deep snow in a group, it is good practice to walk in a single file, taking turns to “break trail”. This will preserve energy and make it easier for others to follow the trail.


Snowshoeing on flat or gently rolling terrain is generally easier than on steep or rugged terrain.


The more you snowshoe, the more comfortable and efficient you will become at it.

Weather conditions

Good weather, such as clear and sunny days, can make the snowshoeing experience much more pleasant.

Is Snowshoeing Safe?

Snowshoeing can be a very safe activity when done with care, the correct equipment, and respect for the surroundings.

Although snowshoeing is one of the safest ways to enjoy the outdoors in the winter months, like any mountain sport, it does have some risks. If it´s your first time trying the activity, we recommend going with a guide or an experienced friend to show you some good routes.

If you plan to head out snowshoeing and want to stay as safe as possible, we recommend considering factors such as


Be aware of the forecast and plan accordingly. Snowshoeing in bad weather conditions can be dangerous, so it’s best to avoid it if there is a risk of storms, high winds, or extreme cold.


Snowshoeing on steep or rugged terrain can be dangerous if you’re not experienced or in good physical shape. It’s best to start on flat or gently rolling terrain and gradually work your way up to more challenging terrain as you gain experience and confidence. Many ski resorts and national parks have specifically maintained snowshoeing routes. ,


If you’re snowshoeing in an area where avalanches are possible. It’s important to have the right training on how to identify and act in dangerous situations. It is also important to carry avalanche safety equipment such as a transceiver, shovel, and probe.


Dress in layers and wear appropriate clothing to stay warm and dry. Make sure your feet stay warm and dry by wearing waterproof boots, gaiters, and warm socks.


Know your route and carry a map and compass, or at least have a GPS device or phone with location services. Many maintained routes for snowshoeing are designed for your safety. Leaving the marked path may be dangerous

Alert someone

Let someone know your planned route and expected return time, so they can call for help if you don’t return on schedule.

Also, remember to look around as you are walking and enjoy this wonderful and unique activity.

What To Wear When Snowshoeing

When snowshoeing, it is important to dress using the layering system to ensure that you are warm and comfortable.

The first layer should be a moisture-wicking material that will keep sweat away from the skin. The next layer should be insulation to help keep you warm. Fleece or wool are good options for an insulated jacket. The outer layer should be waterproof and windproof to protect from the elements.

It´s always a good idea to carry a backpack where you can store extra layers or stash away clothing if you get too warm.

It is also important to wear appropriate footwear for snowshoeing. Winter boots that are waterproof and insulated are recommended. Make sure they are comfortable and have enough room for thick socks. Additionally, gaiters are a good idea to keep snow out of your boots and pants.

Accessories such as gloves, a hat, and a scarf or neck gaiter will help to keep you warm and protect exposed skin from the cold.

Snow can be very bright and a pair of sunglasses or goggles can protect your eyes from glare and UV rays.

People showshoeing

Where Can I Go Snowshoeing?

You can go snowshoeing in many places, including:

  • National parks and forests – Many national parks and forests have designated snowshoeing trails, and rangers can provide information on trail conditions and safety.
  • Winter sports resorts – Many winter sports resorts have snowshoeing trails and may offer guided tours or rentals.
  • Local parks – Many local parks offer designated snowshoeing trails.
  • Wilderness areas – Many wilderness areas have snowshoeing trails and backcountry routes that can be explored.
  • Urban areas – Some cities have parks or nature preserves that offer groomed trails for snowshoeing.

What should I Look For In A Snowshoe?

When looking for a snowshoe, there are several factors to consider:


Snowshoes come in different sizes, and the size you need will depend on your weight, the type of terrain you will be on, and the amount of snow. A general rule of thumb is that the larger the snowshoe, the more flotation it will provide in deep snow. But be careful as the larger the snowshoe the more weight you will have to carry.


Snowshoes come in different shapes, including rectangular, tapered, and rounded. Rectangular snowshoes are best for flat terrain and packed snow, while tapered and rounded snowshoes are better for uneven terrain and deep snow.


Look for a binding that is easy to use, secure, and comfortable. Some bindings have an adjustable strap, which allows for a better fit, and a quick-release buckle, which allows you to take off the snowshoe quickly and easily.


Snowshoes can have a variety of decking materials, including plastic, aluminum, and composite. Plastic and aluminum are the most durable and resistant to wear, while composite decking is the lightest and most flexible.


Look for a snowshoe that has a built-in crampon or a toe or heel lift, which will provide better traction on icy terrain.

Brand and model

Look for a reputable brand and read reviews from other users. Some of the well-known brands are Atlas, MSR, Tubbs, and TSL


It is important to try on a snowshoe before buying it to ensure that it feels comfortable and fits well. We recommend taking the boots that you intend to use for snowshoeing with you for fitting.

What Shoes Should I Wear For Snowshoeing?

For snowshoeing, you should wear warm, waterproof boots with good insulation.

Hiking boots can be perfect for snowshoeing as they have sturdy soles for traction on snowy and icy terrain. Make sure your boots are comfortable and fit well, as you will be on your feet for extended periods. Also, consider wearing gaiters to keep snow out of your boots.

Gaiters: Gaiters are a type of protective covering that wraps around the leg and ankle. Extending from the ground to just below the knee or higher. They are worn over boots or shoes to protect the feet and lower legs from water, snow, mud, and debris.

Some of our favorite boots for snowshoeing are:

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