Bryon snowshoeingWith all the focus on skiing in Colorado during the winter, it’s easy to forget there are other ways to have fun in the snow during winter.  After getting ten inches of new snow at our home in Nederland in the last 24 hours, we wanted to stay closer to home, but still take the dogs out to enjoy the snow.  For those of us who love hiking, and love snow, snowshoeing can be great fun as well as a great workout during winter.  Fortunately for us, we have Forest Service land and trails right in our neighborhood, which makes it easy to just take a nice snowshoe hike right from our door.

Often, newbies to snowshoeing will ask what’s involved with snowshoeing — how hard is it, do you need instruction.  Fortunately, unlike skiing, no special skills are involved.  Basically, if you can walk, you can snowshoe.  When I used to work for nordic skiing centers in Lake Tahoe, we rented snowshoes, and would often get asked if we offered lessons.  My favorite response was from my co-worker, Ivan, who said this:  “Put one foot in front of the other, then do the same with your other foot.  Repeat as often as necessary….”  In all seriousness, there are some tips that can be helpful.  Getting the right snowshoes for instance.  Since the purpose of snowshoes is to give you float on top of the snow, and prevent you from postholing, it’s helpful for men, and taller, heavier people in general to get a larger snowshoe, giving them more surface area.  For lighter women, smaller snowshoes are more nimble and easier to walk in through the snow.  I also find it super helpful to use trekking poles to help with balance as well.

I love snowshoeing as an alternative to skiing, because there is lots of terrain in the mountains that is too tightly wooded, with lots of rocks and logs that make cross-country skiing less than ideal.  I also love it, because it’s a great way for anyone to enjoy the outdoors during wintertime.  While nordic skiing can be very challenging when trying to navigate up and down hills, it’s relatively easy to do in snowshoes.  Even though I greatly enjoy all types of skiing, it’s nice to have a pair of snowshoes as part of my quiver, and it’s a great way to burn off some of those calories from all those Christmas cookies I enjoyed the last month.