When you think of snowshoes, you probably think of the small, lightweight, metal snowshoes that have grown in popularity over the past two decades.
As a kid in the 80’s and early 90’s, I grew up snowshoeing, but I didn’t have the fancy snowshoes. No, I had the old fashioned, gigantic, cumbersome, wooden snowshoes. I believe they are called vintage now. Now that’s seriously old school!
I remember the first time I told my dad I wanted to start snowshoe running, and he looked at me like I had 4 heads. How could I run with those big things strapped to my feet?
Thankfully, times have changed. Although my dad still swears that wooden snowshoes are way better in deep powder snow than any lightweight metal pair.
Now that I have kids of my own, I’ve continued the family tradition of getting outside on snowshoes. My husband and I started taking our twins in backpacks when they were babies, and eventually they graduated to their own snowshoes.
Snowshoeing is a great way to spend time with my kids outside and away from the distractions of everyday life. There are none of the day-to-day worries that take up so much of our time. A big bonus is that it’s fairly simple, has a small learning curve, is cheap, and doesn’t require a special resort or trail to go.
My kids never get tired of trying to hide behind trees and scare us or stopping to make a snowman in a random place on the trail. Snowshoeing has quickly become an activity that we love to do together as a family. For me, that is priceless.
Benefits of Winter Play
If you live in a cold climate, the last thing you want to do is hibernate for the winter. You are not a bear! Winter can seem like it lasts forever. It can be easy to become depressed whenever there is a great deal of snow on the ground.
Children and adults alike may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which can affect nearly every aspect of one’s life. When children (and adults!) are allowed to play in the snow, the odds of them suffering from seasonal depression are much lower. They may even develop a love of snow after spending some time having fun in it.
Snowshoeing Tips & Tricks
What to Wear
Dress in layers. Snowshoeing is definitely an aerobic activity, so plan to work up a sweat. However, since it is winter you will cool down very quickly when you stop, so make sure to have layers available.
Avoid cotton if you can since it does a poor job of wicking moisture away from your skin. Wool and synthetic fibers are a good choice for base layers because they keep you warm while still allowing moisture to wick away.
Snowshoeing can be done in almost any type of shoes from sneakers to boots. We prefer to wear heavy-duty hiking boots or snow boots since they both offer increased warmth. Wool socks are best, too.
What to Bring
Pack lots of water. Remember, that it is just as easy to get dehydrated during the winter as it is in the summer.
Make sure to pack lots of energy-filled snacks (dried fruit, nuts, larabars). Those snacks will come in handy with kids who are slowing down and becoming whiny. Because let’s face it, there probably will be some whining! They wouldn’t be kids otherwise.
Above all else, remember the most important part of snowshoeing is to HAVE FUN!