Intro to Snowshoeing
Enjoy the Great Outdoors this Winter
Think the mountain scenery is only to be enjoyed during the summer? Think again! When your hiking boots just can’t cut it anymore, you can always strap on a pair of snowshoes and enjoy stunning, snow-covered vistas. However, before you head out on your first snowshoe adventure, there are a few things to consider.
Clearly, you’re going to need a pair of snowshoes to go snowshoeing. If you’re headed out for your first adventure, we recommend looking into renting or borrowing a pair of snowshoes. This way you can decide whether the activity is for you before making a big investment. There are also a few other things you need to hunt down as well before heading out.
- Clothing: for pants, lightweight ski pants, rain pants with long underwear, snowboarding pants, or trekking pants will work. You just want something waterproof so your pants aren’t getting wet during inevitable falls into the snow. For the upper half of your body, you want to start with a moisture wicking material so that any sweat you work up won’t make you cold. On top of that layer a fleece. It’s ok (and actually preferable) to be a bit cold at the start. You’ll work up a sweat in no time.
- Footwear: warm and waterproof are the most important criteria for your footwear. Sometimes hiking boots will fit the bill, or you can opt waterproof snow boots.
- Gear for the trail
- Extra clothes for changes in temperature
- Poles for steadier climbing and descending
- Plenty of water and snacks – you’ll be working hard!
- Headlamp and/or flashlight – days are short in the winter!
Before Heading out
When snowshoeing, you need to choose your destination wisely. Your favorite summer trail may be avalanche prone in the wintertime. A safe bet is one of the many winter sno-parks maintained by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources during the winter. They have cleared parking lots and are great jumping-off points for snowshoe outings.
On the day of your excursion, check with the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) to see if any warnings are in effect. Check the roads, the weather, and any reports from people who have recently been on the trail. Perhaps most importantly, always inform someone of your excursion so that help can be sent in case the worst happens.
Have fun on the trails this winter!