Efficient Snowshoeing

If you're often in steep terrain, especially if icy, make sure your snowshoes have adequate heel crampons. A step up from this is some of the MSR models which are like one giant crampon. I use Atlas 1235's which are perfect for my typical combination of flat, rolling, and some steep/slippery terrain in all snow conditions from powder to wet.

Unless I'm on very steep or icy trails, I've found that I can travel faster and more efficiently without poles. Last winter, I was on a trip in the UP of Michigan in a snowstorm (with 4 feet already on the ground) where it took about an hour to go 1 mile in some sections of the trail. The snow ate both snow baskets, and my poles became useless in the deep, fresh powder, so I quit using them. It was then that I discovered that on oblong snowshoes, the most floatation is gained using a slightly modified step where the back of the shoe goes down first, and the rest of the foot slowly rocks forward, slowly packing the snow as it goes. I lengthen my stride slightly. This type of stride is difficult to do with poles because planting poles throws off the careful transfer of weight onto each foot.

Make each step count.


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