Snowshoeing for Beginners

Posted by on Dec 11, 2019 in Blog | Comments Off on Snowshoeing for Beginners

Snowshoeing for Beginners

Most of us consider winter to be our annual opportunity to hibernate for a couple months and really focus on the things that matter, such as naps, binge-watching marathons, and plenty of eating. While great in moderation, these activities don’t necessarily allow for getting the recommended daily activity you need in your day. Well, we have just the solution – snowshoeing!

Why snowshoeing, you ask? It’s simple – snowshoeing through a winter wonderland is fun! Beautiful scenery, challenging routes and a chance to get the blood pumping are all great things. Not only is it terrific exercise, it’s social and can be enjoyed by all ages. Best of all – it’s super cheap! For those of you who are new, here are some snowshoeing tips to get you started. Remember, thermal socks!

Quick essentials:

  • Buy or rent snowshoes that are right for your weight, the terrain, and the snow conditions
  • Wear warm, waterproof boots. Think insulated snow boots; they’ll keep your feet warm
  • Layer up! Wear clothing that can handle cold, wet conditions
  • Bring along a pair of adjustable poles with snow baskets
  1. Choose the right snowshoes

If this is your first time, renting some gear might be an ideal way to get a feel for what you are comfortable in. Then, when you’ve decided that this an activity that you’re going to want to do more of, you can shop for your own gear. Since we’re talking about beginners, we won’t get too in depth here; we want to keep it simple.

You’ll more than likely start your new winter hobby by adventuring on flat terrain, so you’ll want a pair of flat terrain shoes. There are several terrain options available for all skill levels, but you’ll get there when you get there. Flat terrain shoes are extremely easy to use, and allow you to simply slip your boots in, strap up snug enough that your feet aren’t moving around and get on your way.

  1. Layer up

Yes, it’s probably going to be a bit chilly, so you’re going to need to wear layers! Similar to skiing or winter hiking, layering your clothing is a must. That is, if you want to stay warm enough to enjoy your adventure. Take a look:

  • Base layers- Thermals, you’re going to need them. Leggings, such as long johns, and thermal tops should be wool or synthetic material. They help wick moisture and dry quickly if they get wet. Do not skip your base layers!
  • Mid layers- These can include fleece jackets, down jackets, down vests, or soft-shell jackets. On colder days, it’s important to keep your core warm. These are all great options to do so. Better to get warm and take it off than to be cold and not have one!
  • Outer shell- Outer shell jackets and pants keep you dry. They should be waterproof and breathable.
  • Accessories- Don’t forget about your fingers, ears, and toes! Wool socks, waterproof boots, waterproof gloves and a good wool hat will keep you trekking on down the trail.


  1. Stay hydrated

This often gets overlooked due to the fact that people forget that you’ll actually get dehydrated faster by cold, dry air. Keep some water bottles in your backpack, or use a CamelBak with a water bladder. If going on a longer trip, maybe pack a water filtration bottle that can be filled with water from a stream if you run out. Whatever your method, stay hydrated!

  1. Use snowshoe poles

When you’re first starting out, using poles is highly recommended to help you get going. Make sure the poles are the right height before you start, which should allow your elbows to be slightly bent when holding them. You’ll also want to put your wrists through the straps to have a sturdy grip on them the whole time and prevent injuring others should you lose control.

  1. Know your limits

Yes, we get it. You’re super excited to get in the game; you hike during the summer, go skiing in the winter and are an avid outdoor enthusiast. But be careful right out the gate, because snowshoeing is not the same. Don’t go taking on steep mountain terrain until you’re more familiar with your gear and your abilities. Try out some cross-country ski areas or even some open parking lots to get yourself acclimated.

  1. Know the terrain

Chances are, when you’re just starting out with the sport, you’ll be following in someone else’s well laid tracks. But if not, and you’re the first on a particular trail, you’ll need to move slower and really lift your feet up high to flatten out the snow. Those who come after you will be thankful that you broke the trail ahead of them!

  1. Downhill techniques

Heel to toe, that’s the ticket, when you’re going downhill, keep your knees bent, and keep your poles out in front of you. Your body should be slightly tilted backwards to avoid falling forward and eating snow. With each step, place your heel down first, then your toe. This will provide the stability you need to make it safely down the hill.

  1. Uphill techniques

This can be a tricky undertaking, but a must learn technique if you want to make the most of your adventure. “Kick stepping” is the most common approach to tackling those steep hills, and involves kicking the front of your shoe into the ground, past the snow, to create a sort of step. This will help ensure you don’t fall backwards and end your day early.

  1. Fall from grace

Don’t get discouraged, it’s inevitable. You will fall! Getting up gracefully is not always an option, but getting up at all is a must! If you go down, simply roll onto your front side, and come to a half-kneel on one knee. Get yourself steady and push yourself back up to a standing position. Then, keep on going!

There you have it, the basics of getting started with snowshoeing! This is winter recreation at its finest, and offers not only a chance to get out into nature and see some fantastic sights and scenery, but it’s also a tremendous workout. Not to mention the fact that getting out into nature is good for the soul. Give it a try this winter, you might be surprised just how quickly it becomes your favorite winter activity! And, as always, make the Sandhills Motel your destination for affordable, comfortable lodging to warm up in after your winter fun!