Six thousand years ago, Central Asian nomads modified slabs of wood and raw hide to assist in deep snow winter travel. While the materials may have changed, snowshoeing’s popularity hasn't as people look for low-impact aerobic exercise during the cold winter months. Many Central Oregonians already appreciate the sport as one all ages and ability levels can enjoy together. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Each winter, as the snow caps the mountain peaks and fills in our favorite hiking trails, people look to our surrounding wilderness to get out of the house and into nature. Because snowshoeing costs considerably less than a day spent on the ski hill, it reigns supreme in accessibility. With a little preparation and desire to be outside, snowshoeing can become an ideal family activity. Begin by selecting the correct snowshoes for your outing. Make sure your choice is based upon your weight, the terrain, and the snow conditions. If you’re new to the sport, renting or borrowing gear is the perfect idea for starting your adventure.
Grab Your Gear. Dress in layers based upon the weather and consider gaiters to keep the snow out of your winter boots. Like any winter activity, don’t forget your 10 essentials; map, shelter, sun protection, extra layers, light, First Aid kit, water, fire starter, knife, and food.
Choose a Destination. Central Oregon is blessed with many sno parks offering trails of varying degrees of difficulty, views, and isolation. Off trail works too, but take care not to get lost.
Go. While adventuring, work on some simple techniques to improve your snowshoe game. Flat areas only require a little wider stride. Try the kick-step technique of kicking into the snow to create a stair-like step when climbing uphill. Poles provide additional balance and control on downhills.
Enjoy the Winter Endorphins. Just remember, aprés-ski isn’t just for skiers. Relax with a favorite hot toddy.