How to Walk in Snowshoes

How to Walk in Snowshoes
Unlike with skiing or snowboarding, the only real skill you need in order to snowshoe is the ability to walk. You'll find snowshoes used for everything from gnarly backcountry adventures to recreational use in city parks. An important part of walking in snowshoes is making sure that you have the right size snowshoe. Add your own body weight plus that of your pack when fully loaded and any other gear you plan on carrying, then check labels as you shop for snowshoes to make sure you get something that carries that much weight or more.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Put the snowshoes on over boots or sturdy shoes and cinch the bindings down tightly. Your foot shouldn't wiggle at all inside the binding; when your foot moves, the snowshoe should move, too.
Step 2
Avoid walking on ground not covered by snow as much as possible; this will dull or even break the crampons on the bottom of your snowshoes.
Step 3
Practice taking normal strides with your feet slightly further apart than necessary. Avoid the temptation to point your toes in or out; try to keep them pointing straight ahead.
Step 4
Use trekking poles or cross-country ski poles for support if you feel unstable or are traveling through challenging terrain. Poles are especially helpful as extra points of balance if you're trying to step over low obstacles like rocks or fallen trees or if traversing a steep slope.
Step 5
Plant your feet firmly as you walk uphill or downhill. Try to make the entire surface of your snowshoe parallel to the slope and stomp, just a little, as you step down. This helps ensure that the crampons on the bottom of the shoe grip the snow firmly.
Step 6
Follow a similar procedure for walking on icy slopes--make sure that the entire surface of the shoe contacts the slope, and apply enough pressure with each step to sink the crampons into the ice.

Tips & Warnings

Always carry zip ties or cordage as a means of making quick repairs to damaged, torn or broken snowshoe bindings.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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