This guide will help you determine what kind of snowshoe you will need and other information that will help you get the most workout out and fun out of snowshoeing.
SNOWSHOEING BASICS: How to snowshoe—oops, you already know how! There's not much technique to snowshoeing. In fact, if you know how to walk, you know how to snowshoe. Nevertheless, here are a few tips:
TECHNIQUE CLIMBING To ascend a slope, kick the front of your snowshoe into the snow and press down to compact it into a step. Make sure that each new step is sufficiently above the last one to avoid collapse.
DESCENDING Heel crampons are the key to an easy descent. Keep your knees slightly bent, lean back, and keep your weight on your heels to maintain control.
EDGING To traverse a slope, kick the side of the snowshoe into the hillside, engaging the crampons. Swing your heel hard towards the uphill slope, then stomp down, securing the snowshoe edge and crampons in the slope. Poles are also very helpful for balance and support.
BREAKING TRAIL When snowshoeing in a group, walk in a single line behind the leader who is breaking the trail. When it's your turn to lead, take consistent, even steps that are easy for others to follow.
POLES—The benefits of using Atlas poles: Stabilize upper body Increase cardiovascular output by including upper-body movement Improve balance and stability on difficult terrain Reduce stress on knees, ankles, and feet How to use adjustable two or three-piece poles: Adjustable poles compact for easy carrying and you can adjust the length for different uses. Climbing: Adjust poles shorter Descending: Adjust poles longer Traversing: Adjust the downhill pole longer.
WHAT TO WEAR
First layer: Must wick and breathe, wool or polypropylene
Second Layer: Insulating like wool, fleece or down
Outer layer: Waterproof, Windproof, and breathable like GORE-TEX®
Footwear: Stable, insulated, waterproof GORE-TEX® hiking boots or winter trail runners are your best bets.
*Don't forget warm hat and gloves!
ISSUES OF SAFETY
Take Mother Nature Seriously
There are thousands of untouched acres to explore. To ensure a safe journey we recommend you consult a local mountaineering guide service before setting out. Exploration of the backcountry in winter requires an advanced level of preparation, experience, and outdoor know-how.
PRECAUTIONARY TIPS – Misfortune stalks the unprepared!
Hypothermia tends to hinder good judgment. So do yourself a favor and keep your head, hands, and feet well protected (that's where you lose the most heat). Check the weather forecast and be prepared for abrupt changes. Tell someone where you're going and when you're coming back. Search parties love clues like that. You are aware, of course, that there's less daylight in the winter months. So avoid the embarrassment of helicopters and bloodhounds and get back before dark. Familiarize yourself with a trail map; trails that were easy to follow in the summer may now be hidden by deep snow. Check all your equipment in advance and use an equipment checklist to ensure that you don't forget anything crucial.
AVALANCHE SAFETY – Education is key, be prepared
Know the snow conditions. Do not go out in suspect conditions.
Learn route-finding and snowcraft techniques-learn how to read the conditions that indicate snow stability/instability.
Carry a transceiver, shovel, and probe-these are the minimal safety requirements.
Practice rescue procedures; take a course; train with experts.
Prepare for the worst. An avalanche is a very real, very serious danger. Please educate yourself and take the proper precautions. For information on avalanche safety, conditions and classes, contact:
CYBERSPACE SNOW AVALANCHE CENTER, 131 NW 4th, Suite 397 Corvallis, OR 97330
Last important tip: Bring a Map!!
*Information above is taken from Atlas Snow Shoe
For live phone help between 9am to 5:30pm Pacific Time Monday - Friday
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