Snowshoes are one of the oldest forms of transportation. Based on various rock drawings and paintings, archaeologists speculate that snowshoeing began 6,000 years ago, in the area we now call Central Asia. It is believed that the ancestors of the Inuit and Native Americans migrated to North America on snowshoes, which were made from modified slabs of wood.
Today, snowshoeing is a popular winter recreation activity, one that has some specific advantages over other winter sports. First off, it has a short learning curve. Anyone who can walk can learn to snowshoe. Second, it can done anywhere there is deep snow. There's no need to purchase lift tickets or pay trail fees. The snowshoes themselves are also among the least expensive winter sport equipment.
Snowshoeing is also a viable form of aerobic exercise. When icy conditions make running a hazard, snowshoeing is a perfect substitute. However, fitness snowshoes are just one of the many models available. Your choice of snowshoe model depends on your level of activity and the type of terrain you prefer.
Most modern snowshoes are made with aluminum frames and synthetic decking. These decks often feature a material called nylon or Hypalon rubber, which makes it light and responsive.
Recreational snowshoes are perfect for beginners or anyone who plans to stay on flat or rolling terrain. These inexpensive snowshoe models are more suitable for firm snow than they are for deep powder. They have easy to adjust bindings and less aggressive traction systems than the adventure and backcountry models.
Hiking snowshoes are a step up from the recreational models. These snowshoes can handle on or off-trail day hikes on moderate to steep terrain. However, they are not recommended for extremely steep or icy terrain. these snowshoe models have more aggressive crampons and beefier bindings than the recreational snowshoes.
Backcountry snowshoes are designed for those who enjoy hiking icy, steep terrain. They are constructed with climbing-style crampons and rugged bindings, which are designed to withstand the harshest conditions and terrain. Since backcountry snowshoers often hike in deep powder, these snowshoes have greater flotation abilities. They are also designed to fit larger footwear, such as ski or snowboard boots. As such, they are suitable for skiers and snowboarders who like to earn their turns by climbing up the hills.
Fitness snowshoes are designed for aerobic enthusiasts. Since your feet are more active during aerobic snowshoeing, these snowshoes have flexible bindings and an asymmetrical shape, which allows for a greater variety of leg movements. Fitness snowshoes are usually made from a lighter weight material such as titanium.
Article Written By Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.