Snowshoeing: The perfect winter activity!

With all the winter activities one can participate in, snowshoeing might just be one of the best.  Why?  Simple: it’s relatively inexpensive to purchase the gear, practically anyone of any age can do it, and you can finds dozens of places to hike in your area for free.

Photo Credit: www.snowlink.com

                                                                                                                 Photo Credit: www.snowlink.com

We all know the benefits of leading an active lifestyle, yet finding ways to stay active in the winter proves to be difficult year after year.  While walking during the warm summer months is one of the most popular forms of exercise, many call it quits once the snow starts to fall due to snow covered paths, icy sidewalks, and cold feet.  Thankfully, with a good boots and a pair of snowshoes, winter walking and hiking is made easy and people can reap the benefits of daily walking year round.

Interested?  Great!  Let’s talk gear.  Most people who live in cold weather climates already own a pair of winter boots, and for the most part, those work just fine for snowshoeing.  We always say if you can walk comfortably in your current boots, they’ll work perfectly for use with snowshoes.  So grab your trusty Sorels and read on!

Clothing is another important part of snowshoe gear and like boots, most people only need to purchase a few key items to add to their existing outdoor clothing collection to complete their outfits for the cold and snow .  It’s important to start with a good base layer, made with a non-cotton material able to wick moisture away from the skin.  Brands like Smartwool, Patagonia, and Terramar are constructed with wools and synthetic materials that are very efficient at keeping you warm and dry.  From there, a mid layer should be worn to provide insulation and warmth.  Fleece, power stretch, wool, or any other heavier weight fabrics work great for insulation while continuing to move moisture from the base layer away from the skin.  Lastly, a good outer layer rounds out the perfect winter activity outfit.  Most are windproof and waterproof, yet breathable, and should allow for good mobility.  Jackets, vests, shells, and snow pants provide a great barrier to keep you warm and dry.  Top it off with some warm gloves and a hat and your all set to go!

Last but definitely not least, you’ll need a pair of snowshoes.  Here at Shep’s we carry three brands of shoes for a great selection at all price points.  From our great performing, great value Yukon Charlies to the locally made Redfeather line of snowshoes, we have a snowshoe to fit any budget or activity.  All our shoes are durable, lightweight, and very easy to use, requiring little to no learning curve for new users.  The old saying remains true: ‘If you can walk, you can snowshoe!’

If you have any questions about getting started snowshoeing, or if you are a current snowshoer looking to take things to the next level, our friendly and knowledgable staff are always eager to help in any way possible!  Call or stop in today!

Snowshoe Tracks

If You Can Walk, You Can Snowshoe!

Put one foot in front of the other.  It’s that easy!

Snowshoeing is a great way to make an adventure of your daily walk by adding aerobic benefits and perhaps a change of scenery.  According to SIA-Snow Sports Industries of America-snow shoeing burns 45% more calories than walking at the same speed.  And you’ll be able to walk where you usually couldn’t before!  It is also a great way to make light of woodsy work, like getting to your hunting stand or wood-making location.  Snow Shoes are highly maneuverable, allowing you to go places cross country skiers and snowmobilers can’t.

All modern snow shoes have a strong aluminum frame, durable material for flotation, a stainless steel crampon or cleat and bindings that accept all types of boots. All of the manufacturer’s we stock at Shepherd & Schaller offer bindings that are flexible enough to accommodate most any footwear.  We like to recommend a light-weight hiking boot or shoe (which we have for sale in the store, if you’re without a pair).  While you can generally use any winter boot you have in the closet, your super-heavy hunting boots would likely spoil the advantages your show shoes provide.  The lighter you are on your feet, the better.

Redfeather snowshoes are made in LaCrosse, Wisconsin! Get them and other brands at Shepherd & Schaller.

What kinds of snowshoes do you need?  That depends on your goals.  There are three types of snowshoes available: Recreational Hiking, Aerobic/Fitness and Hiking/Backpacking.  Snowshoes are fit to your weight.  Remember to consider if you’ll be carrying something heavy, like a chainsaw.

Recreational hiking snowshoes are a basic selection and are perfect for first-timers. Usually, these snowshoes work best on simple terrain that doesn’t require a lot of steep climbing or descents. These are best for most of our customers who want to enjoy winter casually and recreationally.

Snowshoes for aerobic/fitness are best suited for those who are active snowshoers – like runners and cross-trainers. This type of snowshoe has a very sleek design and is generally tougher and lighter than most available.

If you’re shoeing in powder and are more experienced, purchasing a pair of hiking/backpacking snowshoes is your ticket. These are as tough as they come.

Do you need anything else?  Yes.  1.  Poles (adjustable trekking poles are probably the best, but you can use your cross country poles too.)  2.  Appropriate apparel.  Wear the same thing you would for cross country skiing or running.   This is an aerobic activity and you will work up a sweat so moisture moving light or mid-weight base layers under a softshell jacket or other light jacket work works well for most people.  Your ski or snowboard pants will work, but they will be “noisy” and warm compared to the pants runners and x-c skiers wear.  Lighter gloves or mittens and hat are good choices too.  Don’t forget lip balm and sunscreen.

Where to go?  In central Wisconsin mother nature provides a wonderful variety of locations suitable for snowshoeing.  Start at your local park, visit a bike trail (rail trails are great, they are flat and wide!), call and check with golf courses, or head to state parks like Rib Mountain in Wausau. You can even check out the river’s edge for a beautiful setting (keeping safety in mind of course).  Only a few inches of snow on the ground make for a great outing.

Put a granola bar in your pocket, strap on a hydration pack or water bottle and have fun!

Shepherd & Schaller has every snowshoe in stock on sale.  Adult prices start at $79.99.  Kids start at $59.99.  Call for more information 715/845-5432.