Techniques
  • To ascend a slope, kick your foot into the snow to engage the toe crampon and maximize your traction or grip. This technique will tire your calf muscles quickly. Some newer snowshoes come with a 'lift frame' that can be placed under your heel to allow you 'walk' up a slope without tiring so quickly!
  • When it's time to head downhill, heel crampons make descending easier. Some older snowshoes and most homemade shoes don't have heel crampons, so it's easier to slip! In either case, bend your knees slightly and keep your weight back to maintain control and balance. If the slope is too steep (you start to slide), swing your poles to the rear and sit on the back of your snowshoes. Sliding down the slope can be fun this way!
  • To traverse steep pitches, edge your snowshoe into the slope, engaging the crampons. It's easiest if you can single track around a slope where you place one snowshoe ahead of the other on the same level of the slope. You may end up double tracking if you have extra long snowshoes where each shoe has a track on a different level of the slope.
  • Poles will help to balance your stride as well as provide added stability in variable terrain and snow conditions. Adjustable length poles (2 or 3 section) are adaptable to most terrain conditions, though fixed length poles are definately better than none at all. Poles also enhance your workout and condition the upper body.
  • When snowshoeing in fresh snow or powder, you'll need to 'break trail'. Have one person in your group take the lead to pack a trail in the snow with the others following. When tired, switch with another memer of your group and keep on truck'n!
  • When you're ready to take a break, be sure to drink plenty of water! Reapply your sunblock to all exposed skin, even under your chin and arms as reflected sunlight off the snow can burn as well! Use your collapsible shovel to carve benches in the snow for sitting. Layout your tarp to sit on. Take your time, enjoy the views, plan the next leg of your hike.
 
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