I’ve heard many people say “If you can walk, you can snowshoe”. And it’s true! Snowshoeing is for any age and fitness level. However, being a mom, I know I how hard it can be to get outside and get some exercise in especially in the winter time. Sorry ladies – no more excuses! I love walking at our local track, but in the winter when there’s snow on the ground, walking on the track is impossible. It’s not cleared off. It’s icy or slushy. The ground conditions make it more of a hazard, so I just don’t. I’m a forty-something year old mom, my balance is not great and it’s a long way down to the ground. If I fall, it’s going to hurt for days.
But, I am here to tell you ladies that snowshoeing may be just the thing! I rediscovered Snowshoeing on a recent family vacation to Vermont. My 11-year old son and I went with a snowshoe tour through the woods with a small group and guide. My son, Dylan extremely active and agile, hurried ahead and walked at the front with the guide. I brought up the rear of the pack. Fine by me as I didn’t have to hurry and I haven’t been snowshoeing in years. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
The snow shoe tour only lasted an hour but by the end of it, I was hooked! It was heart-pumping, calorie-burning but yet it was also easy and I felt completely confident in my ability not to fall on my ass! Since returning home, I purchased a new pair of snow shoes, found some mom friends who would do this with me and we love it!
Here are some tips for you to also learn to love snowshoeing.
Snowshoes – Get your own pair
When you go in to the store to buy a pair of snow shoes they vary by your shoe size, your weight and what kind of snow you will be walking in. I first tried a pair of my husband’s snowshoes which were for off trails in deep snow. And although I could walk in them, they were awkward and I also fell over my own feet a few times. I then hit up a local store and found these beauties. Check out the mammoth size difference! Definitely get a pair that fits you properly and not your spouse, friend or significant other. Sharing gear is nice, but get your own! They sometimes have package deals and come with the poles and nice bag to keep everything in.
Go with a Friend
Don’t go alone. Safety in numbers and besides, it’s so much more fun to have a friend to chat with as your both getting an awesome workout. Snowshoeing is easy on the joints as it’s low-impact but it will get your heart-pumping. Another great reason to have friend there is if something happens along the trail..you fall, get lost or you need help taking off your snowshoes like I did the first time we went out and I was wearing my husband’s snow shoes. Take a friend!
Dress for the Weather
It’s important to dress for the weather, meaning snow pants, boots, gloves and hat. Snowshoeing is a workout and you will get sweaty! Be sure to be wear a layer of clothing that wicks the sweat away from your body instead of trapping the moisture against your skin. For a complete guide on what to wear, check out Dressing for the Winter.
Find a Trail & Bring a Map
Okay, you’ve got your snowshoes, your friend and your dressed! Now you need to find a place to go. There are many trails that are normally hiking trails that can be used as a snowshoe trail. Search online for local state parks, the Audubon as well as ski resorts that offer trails for snowshoeing. Also check sites such as snowshoes.com and trails.com. Once you decided where to go, print out a map and take it with you!
Tell Someone where you are going
This is another safety precaution. Before heading out to whatever trail, please call your mom, your spouse, another friend, your sister etc…someone that will know if you aren’t home by a certain time; they will know where to look for you. This isn’t to sound scary, this is the same as anyone should do if they were hiking.
A Few Final Safety Precautions while Hiking
Wear bright colors if its hunting season! Areas that are protected such as the Audubon wouldn’t have hunters but if you’re not sure, wear bright colors.
Stay on the paths – If you come across what looks like a field (area with no trees), be wary that it may actually be a pond. Check that map you brought with you!
Dont walk to close on single file trails – I learned this quite quickly after getting hit with low-lying tree branches and brushes a couple of times from the person in front of me. And on the other side of this, if your friend is behind you, be cautious that you’re not slapping branches into them as you walk through.
Depending on how long or strenuous the walk is, you may want to throw on a backpack with a bottle of water and a light snack.
Snow Shoeing? It may at first conjure up images of someone in layers of clothing trekking through deep snow on man-made snow shoes that resemble long tennis rackets. Okay, so maybe this image is what I imagine. However snowshoes now have mental claws on the bottom of them that help you grip the snow/ice when you walk. This is another reason, I find it such an awesome activity. I am able to walk up and down snowy hills without worrying too much about slipping and sliding down it!
Stop and Look Around
Snowshoeing gives you such a unique perspective. Be sure to stop occasionally and take it all in. The bare trees, the pristine snow, the quiet as there’s no rustling leaves like there is when you’re hiking the other three seasons of the year. The woods and ponds are snow-covered. It’s not something you can see unless you get out there and do it!
We all know how difficult it is for us moms to find time to do something good for ourselves. Make time for this. Grab a friend, get some gear and enjoy some mom time outside! And on the weekends or when the kids are not in school, get your little ones in a pair and get them out there to enjoy the fresh air and making snow tracks as you go.