All About The Winter Sport Of Snowshoeing

It used to be a method of commuting in extreme conditions for our ancestors. Today, snowshoeing is a fun winter activity for those who love the outdoors.
View from Stdjan summit near Idre with snowshoes in the front               credit M. Prinke / Shutterstock
View from Stdjan summit near Idre with snowshoes in the front credit M. Prinke / Shutterstock

Snowshoeing has been catching up as a winter activity. It is a great alternative option for skiing or snowboarding, and is also a less expensive sport. The world is your oyster when you are on snowshoes, because many high-altitude hiking trails double as snowshoe trails nowadays. And added benefit is that this adventure sport also burns more calories than running, cross-country skiing, or walking at the same pace. It truly is the perfect exercise for staying in shape in the winter (especially after all the feasting in the holiday season).

What is Snowshoeing

Various dictionaries descrribe snowshoeing as the activity of taking part in cross-country walks over snow.&nbspIt is a lot like hiking,&nbspbut entails using snowshoes. That is outer footwear with a wide frame to disperse the wearer's weight over a larger area, in order to walk on snow. The goal of this design is "floatation," which stops your foot from getting buried in the snow.

The snowshoes fit over your existing footwear (shoes or boots). There are different kinds of snow, so snowshoes also come in different models. 

The Origins

Various kinds of snowshoes were worn by our ancestors thousands of years back. It is believed that snowshoes can be traced to Central Asia where they were designed&nbspacording to animal footprints. People living in remote snowbound areas would craft such footwear from hardwood and raw hide. 

The Winter Games

Snowshoe races are now part of the Arctic Winter Games and the winter Special Olympics. It was included in the Special Olympics for the first time in 1997. In 2011, 24,582 Special Olympics Athletes competed in snowshoeing events. And 70 Special Olympics Programs hosted snowshoeing competitions. You can find out more about it here.

Best Season

The best time for snowshoeing in India is parallel to the skiing season, from January to around mid-March. 

The Destinations

Some of the best places to experience this sport are

Southern French Alps This part of the French Alps hosts Snowshoeing Weeks wherein you can explore snowbound wildness areas like the Ecrins National Park. You get taken on guided snowshoeing trails with qualified UIAGM mountain guides.

Queenstown, New Zealand&nbspThe Remarkables mountain range located minutes from Queenstown is a destination for many winter sports, including shoeshowing. Do try heli-snowshoeing at this place. 

Kahnpari Tibba, India Go on a snowshoeing trail on Khanpari Tibba and enjoy stunning views of the Manalsu glacier, the Dhauladhar and Pirpanjal range including Hanuman Tibba, and Deo Tibba.

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