Despite being one of our favourite activities, lots of ramblers have never heard of snowshoeing. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this handy introductory guide, detailing what you’ll need to get started and the best spots to try it out.
What is snowshoeing?
Put simply, snowshoeing is just like hiking, but on snow. This fun activity involves the use of snowshoes, a type of footwear that attaches to your boots and makes it easier to walk across snowy terrain. Unlike regular hiking shoes or boots, wide snowshoes increase your contact with the ground and distribute your body weight so you don’t sink into the snow with every step you take.
If you’re a keen walker who loves to visit winter destinations, then snowshoeing could be perfect for you. Anyone who relishes the thought of traversing snow-covered valleys and reaching remote locations should give it a try.
This brilliant way to explore icy, mountainous landscapes often takes place at popular ski resorts. However, unlike skiing, snowshoeing lets you venture off-piste and explore your frosty surroundings further, taking you away from the hustle and bustle of the resort centre.
What equipment do you need for snowshoeing?
Aside from the necessary snowshoes, there are a few more bits of gear that you’ll need before you set off on a snowshoeing adventure. Firstly, you’ll need walking sticks or ski poles to help you navigate the snowy landscape.
You should also bring a pair of lightweight and waterproof walking boots with strong soles. We’d recommend a pair that offers good ankle support too. When embarking on a walking break to a wintery destination, consider buying ice grips for your boots; these will help when traversing any particularly icy trails.
Then, you’ll just need the same equipment that you’d use when hiking in a chilly location. This includes waterproof outerwear (jacket and trousers), walking clothing and warm socks, a warm hat and gloves, and a daysack and liner. If you can, try to find a daysack that lets you strap your snowshoes to it when you’re not using them.
If you decide to book one of our holidays, snowshoe rental for the week is included in the price. Ski poles are often provided too (check with us).
How difficult is snowshoeing?
Snowshoeing is a little more difficult than regular hiking, as it requires slightly more effort. However, strapping on a pair of snowshoes makes the task at hand much easier than trying to trudge through thick snow in only your boots. Plus, the rewarding scenery and tranquility will make each step worth it.
The majority of our snowshoeing getaways are graded as moderate – that’s about mid-way between our most leisurely and most challenging holidays. For more information, take a look at our walking grades.
Beginners are more than welcome on our snowshoeing breaks. On some of the packages, we will be rambling alongside a local snowshoeing expert who is on hand to offer useful tips and tricks to get you up to speed in no time. From our experience, most people pick up the technique in about 5 minutes!
Where can I go snowshoeing?
Truly, you can try out snowshoeing wherever there is snow. However, we’ve compiled a few of our favourite destinations for the activity below:
Starting your trek in St. Zyprian in South Tyrol, you’ll amble past the incredible snow-capped ridges of the Dolomite Alps. It’ll be tough to look away from the magnificent vistas ahead as you make your way across ski slopes, through winter woodland and down into bright white valleys.
The Bulgarian mountains provide a peaceful and less-travelled place to try this new activity. In the Pirin Mountains, you’ll board a chairlift taking you high into the peaks, before slipping on your snowshoes and trekking both above and below the treeline.
Relish the crisp mountain air and breathtaking unspoilt scenery of the Aigues Tortes National Park in the Pyrenees. Here, you’ll get the feeling of being a true adventurer as you press the first footprints into the pristine, snow-covered trails.
Book an unforgettable experience
Why not step out of your comfort zone and try a new activity in a beautiful winter wonderland? Browse our winter spirit holidays and book a snowshoeing break today.