Snowshoeing as a Hobby: A Beginner’s Guide to Exploring the Winter Wilderness

Looking for a fun and adventurous way to enjoy the winter season? Consider snowshoeing!

Snowshoeing as a hobby has been gaining popularity in recent years, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a great way to get outside, enjoy the beauty of nature, and get some exercise all at the same time.

So why not give snowshoeing a try and see what all the fuss is about?

Benefits of Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a fantastic winter hobby that offers many benefits for your physical and mental health. Here are some of the benefits you can enjoy when you take up snowshoeing.

Physical Benefits

Snowshoeing is an excellent form of exercise that can help you stay active and healthy during the winter months. It is a low-impact activity that is easy on your joints, making it an ideal choice for people of all ages and fitness levels.

When you snowshoe, you engage many different muscle groups in your body, including your legs, glutes, core, and arms. This can help you build strength and endurance over time. Snowshoeing can also burn a significant number of calories, making it an effective way to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Here are some of the physical benefits of snowshoeing:

  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Builds strength and endurance
  • Burns calories and aids in weight loss
  • Low-impact activity that is easy on your joints

Mental Benefits

In addition to the physical benefits, snowshoeing can also have a positive impact on your mental health. Spending time in nature and getting fresh air and exercise can help reduce stress and anxiety, boost your mood, and improve your overall well-being.

Here are some of the mental benefits of snowshoeing:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Boosts mood and confidence
  • Helps you connect with nature
  • Provides a sense of accomplishment and adventure

Snowshoeing is a great way to get outside and enjoy the winter landscape while also improving your physical and mental health. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced snowshoer, there are many benefits to be gained from this fun and rewarding activity.

Physical BenefitsMental Benefits
Improves cardiovascular healthReduces stress and anxiety
Builds strength and enduranceBoosts mood and confidence
Burns calories and aids in weight lossHelps you connect with nature
Low-impact activity that is easy on your jointsProvides a sense of accomplishment and adventure

Equipment and Gear

When it comes to snowshoeing, having the right equipment and gear is crucial to your success and enjoyment. In this section, we’ll take a look at the essential items you’ll need to get started.


Snowshoes are the most important piece of equipment for snowshoeing.

They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so it’s important to choose the right pair for your weight, the terrain, and the snow conditions. Look for snowshoes with good traction and a sturdy frame.


Adjustable poles with snow baskets are not required for snowshoeing, but they can be helpful for balance and stability.

They can also help you navigate through deep snow or icy terrain. Look for poles that are lightweight and durable.

Clothing and Footwear

Dressing in layers with warm, waterproof clothing is essential for snowshoeing. Look for boots that are waterproof, insulated, and sturdy. Wear wool socks and consider adding gaiters to keep snow out of your boots. Sunglasses can also be helpful to protect your eyes from the glare of the snow.


There are a few other accessories that can be helpful for snowshoeing. A map and compass can help you navigate through unfamiliar terrain.

A first aid kit is always a good idea in case of any injuries. Mittens or gloves can help keep your hands warm and dry. Traction devices like crampons can also be helpful in icy conditions.

Here’s a table summarizing the equipment and gear you’ll need for snowshoeing:

SnowshoesLook for snowshoes with good traction and a sturdy frame.
PolesAdjustable poles with snow baskets can be helpful for balance and stability.
ClothingDress in layers with warm, waterproof clothing. Wear wool socks and consider adding gaiters to keep snow out of your boots.
AccessoriesConsider bringing a map and compass, first aid kit, mittens or gloves, and traction devices like crampons.

Overall, having the right equipment and gear can make all the difference in your snowshoeing experience. Take the time to choose the right items and you’ll be well-prepared for a fun and safe adventure.

Choosing the Right Snowshoes

When it comes to snowshoeing, choosing the right snowshoes is crucial to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience.

There are several factors to consider when selecting snowshoes, including terrain, weight capacity, size and shape, binding type, and frame type.


One of the most important factors to consider when choosing snowshoes is the terrain you will be walking on. Snowshoes are generally designed for flat, rolling, or mountain terrain, so where you go will help determine what you’ll buy.

If you plan to snowshoe on rolling terrain or deep powder, look for snowshoes that are wider and longer to provide more flotation.

Weight Capacity

Another important consideration is weight capacity. Most snowshoes come in different lengths designed to match recommended weight ranges for the user and their gear.

You’ll want to choose a snowshoe length that best matches your weight, though some models allow you to add an additional tail (sold separately) to the back of the snowshoe for extra flotation as needed.

Size and Shape

The size and shape of the snowshoe will also impact your experience. A larger snowshoe will provide more flotation and stability, while a smaller snowshoe will be more maneuverable.

Additionally, the shape of the snowshoe can affect how it performs in different snow conditions. A tapered snowshoe is better for deep powder, while a rounder snowshoe is better for packed snow.

Binding Type

The binding is what holds your foot in place on the snowshoe. When choosing bindings, look for ones that are adjustable and easy to use.

Toe bindings are the most common type of binding and are suitable for most types of snowshoeing. However, if you plan to do more aggressive snowshoeing, consider a heel binding for added support.

Frame Type

Finally, the frame of the snowshoe can impact its performance.

There are two main types of frames: aluminum and composite.

Aluminum frames are durable and provide good traction, while composite frames are lightweight and flexible. Consider your needs and preferences when choosing a frame type.

TerrainSnowshoe Type
FlatRolling Terrain
RollingMountain Terrain
MountainDeep Powder

Overall, choosing the right snowshoes is essential to ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable experience. Consider your needs and preferences, as well as the terrain and snow conditions you’ll be facing, when selecting snowshoes.

Clothing and Footwear

When it comes to snowshoeing, dressing appropriately is key to staying comfortable and safe. The right clothing and footwear can make all the difference in your experience. Here are some tips to help you choose the right gear:

Base Layer

Your base layer should be made of a moisture-wicking material like merino wool or synthetic fabric. This will help keep you dry and comfortable by pulling sweat away from your skin. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and can make you feel cold and clammy.

Mid Layer

Your mid layer should provide insulation to keep you warm. Wool is a good choice because it retains heat even when wet. Fleece is another option, as it is lightweight and breathable. Make sure your mid layer is not too bulky, as this can restrict your movement.

Outer Layer

Your outer layer should be waterproof and breathable to protect you from the elements. Look for jackets and pants made of Gore-Tex or similar materials. These will keep you dry while allowing sweat to escape. Make sure your outer layer fits well and allows for a full range of motion.


Your socks should be made of a moisture-wicking material like merino wool or synthetic fabric. Avoid cotton, as it retains moisture and can make your feet feel cold and damp. Look for socks that are thick and cushioned for added warmth and comfort.


Your gloves should be warm and waterproof. Mittens are a good choice because they keep your fingers together for added warmth. Look for gloves or mittens made of Gore-Tex or similar materials. Make sure they fit well and allow for a full range of motion.


Gaiters are a must-have for snowshoeing. They cover your boots and lower legs to keep snow and moisture out. Look for gaiters made of waterproof and breathable materials like Gore-Tex. Make sure they fit snugly and are easy to put on and take off.

By following these tips and choosing the right clothing and footwear, you can enjoy a comfortable and safe snowshoeing experience.

Technique and Safety

Basic Techniques

When snowshoeing, it’s important to maintain your balance and traction. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, and try to step flat-footed to distribute your weight evenly. This will help prevent you from sinking too deeply into the snow.

When traversing rolling terrain, lean slightly uphill to help maintain your balance. If you’re moving through deep powder, lift your knees higher to avoid tripping.

To turn, simply pivot on the ball of your foot and shift your weight in the direction you want to go. When going downhill, lean back slightly and use your poles for support. If you’re going uphill, lean forward and use your poles to help pull you up.

Advanced Techniques

As you become more experienced, you can try more advanced techniques. For example, you can try “running” on your snowshoes by taking quick, short steps.

This is a great way to get some exercise and cover more ground. You can also try traversing steeper terrain by kicking your snowshoes into the snow to create steps.

Safety Tips

When snowshoeing, safety should be your top priority. Always carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. Be aware of the risks of avalanches, and avoid traveling in areas with a high risk of avalanche. If you do travel in avalanche terrain, make sure you have the proper equipment and training.

Stay within your limits and avoid pushing yourself too hard. If you’re feeling tired or cold, take a break and warm up. Always let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to return.

Where to Snowshoe

When it comes to snowshoeing, there are plenty of options for where to go. Whether you prefer hiking trails, state parks, or ski resorts, there’s a snowshoeing destination for everyone. Here’s a breakdown of some of the best places to snowshoe:


Snowshoeing on trails can be a great way to explore new landscapes and get some exercise. Many hiking trails are open year-round, so you can snowshoe on them in the winter. Some popular snowshoeing trails include:

  • Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State
  • White Mountains National Forest in New Hampshire
  • Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado

Parks and Wilderness Areas

If you’re looking for a more secluded snowshoeing experience, consider heading to a park or wilderness area. These areas offer a chance to enjoy nature in solitude and often have designated snowshoeing trails. Some top parks and wilderness areas for snowshoeing include:

  • Yosemite National Park in California
  • Adirondack Park in New York
  • Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota

Ski Resorts

Ski resorts aren’t just for skiing and snowboarding – many also offer snowshoeing trails. These trails are often well-maintained and offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Some ski resorts with snowshoeing trails include:

Ski ResortLocationSnowshoeing Trail Length
VailColorado10 miles
Whistler BlackcombBritish Columbia15 miles
KillingtonVermont8 miles

No matter where you choose to snowshoe, it’s important to be prepared and follow safety guidelines. Always check the weather forecast and trail conditions before heading out, and bring plenty of water, snacks, and warm clothing.

Additionally, consider going with a group or letting someone know where you’ll be in case of an emergency. With the right preparation, snowshoeing can be a fun and rewarding hobby for anyone to enjoy.


Overall, snowshoeing is a fun, affordable, and accessible winter hobby that is well worth trying. Whether you go alone or with friends, it is a great way to stay active and enjoy the beauty of winter. So why not give it a try this season?

Additional Outdoor Hobbies
Friends And FamilyCamping
Metal DetectingFruit Picking
ShoppingOutdoors with Dog
Trying New RestaurantsDriving
Picnicking Winter
SnowmobilingSun Bathing
BeachcombingAmusement Parks
RC ModelsKites
Lomography Snowshoeing
Bushcraft Canyoning
TunnelingTreasure Hunting
Survivalism Online Dating
Social WorkSnorkeling
Stone SkippingStorm Chasing
Safari Fossicking
Museum VisitingMushroom Hunting
Fossil HuntingLARPing
NatureRenaissance Fair
Ghost HuntingGold Prospecting