How to Walk in Snow Shoes

How to Walk in Snow Shoes
While the learning curve for cross-country skiing is steep, those looking to explore the backcountry in winter can master the use of snowshoes very quickly, as the technique isn't much different than walking down the street. Using snowshoes to travel uphill can require a little adjustment, but snowshoes provide a viable method of winter travel--and fun--for those who don't require the speed of skis.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Snowshoes
  • Ski or trekking poles
  • Winter boots
Step 1
Place your boots inside the snowshoe binding and cinch the binding down so it is snug, but not tight, in the binding. You should be able to lift your foot off the floor and shake it without having the snowshoe move off the boot.
Step 2
Stand with your feet slightly apart and walk as you normally would.
Step 3
Be careful to keep from crossing your snowshoes over each other as you step forward.
Step 4
Do not keep your feet too far apart, as that will use excess energy. Keep them just wide enough so that the railings of the snowshoes don't touch each other as you walk.
Step 5
Use the ski poles or trekking poles to help keep your balance on hills.
Step 6
Use a herringbone, or V-walk, on slightly steeper slopes to provide better traction. The backs of the snowshoes should form the bottom of the "V."
Step 7
Sidestep up very steep slopes, always moving the uphill snowshoe first, and digging it into the snow until the crampon under the binding gains traction.
Step 8
Keep your knees bent and use the crampons to dig into the snow when descending slopes; descend facing down the slope unless the slope is excessively steep, in which case sidestepping is the best option.

Tips & Warnings

If you are snowshoeing in deep snow, wear gaiters on your boots to prevent snow from falling inside them.

Article Written By Candace Horgan

Candace Horgan has worked as a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Denver Post" and "Mix." Horgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and history.

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