Oct 082012

Author: Lia Conger

Hopes are high that this winter season is going to have downpours of fresh powder to make up for last year’s pitiful snowfall, so if you’re looking for a sport that’s a medium between hardcore skiing and plopping marshmallows in your steamy hot cocoa, then snowshoeing is quite possibly the perfect sport for you.

We will help you cover the basics: how to get started, where to get your gear, what trails are close-by, which relatively close excursions are taking place and a few health benefits.

Snowshoes come in three variations: recreational, aerobic and backpacking. The type of snowshoe you use depends on the difficulty level. The recreational snowshoe is a great fit for the first-time snowshoer and good for using on simple terrain. If you’re looking to do a little cross country, you should look into the aerobic shoe because its polished design is perfect for more agile movements. Lastly, a backpacking snowshoe is made for durability, with its aluminum frame and resilient bindings to support boots.

“Something that most people don’t realize about snowshoeing is the level of difficulty,” said Rob Sharp, a sales associate at Sports Authority. “They’re just not aware how difficult it really is until they actually do it.”

The length of your snowshoe depends on your weight; lengths range from 25, 30 and 36 inches long.

Sports Authority rents and sells snowshoes, as does REI. According to Snowshoe Magazine, prices usually range from $100 to $300 when purchasing snowshoes. The most popular type of snowshoe is the aerobic because it makes movement easier, Sharp said.

The top five things to bring with you on your excursion would be a friend or hiking partner, leather boots, a GPS, a plethora of layers and gaiters, which keep snow out of your boots when you’re trekking in deep snow. Whatever you do though, don’t wear anything cotton because it will soak up and store moisture. Make sure to wear wool or polyesters and, if you can, waterproof your whole body to avoid any frostbite.

As for places to go snowshoeing, you can go anywhere snow has fallen. For a laid-back hike, you can visit Cirque Meadows and Emmaline Lake, which is 6.5 mile trek and has a view of Pingree Park. There’s also Little Beaver Creek Trail, which is just two miles. To ramp up the pace to a moderate difficulty, you can visit Crown Point Road, which is 12 miles, or take a trip to Signal Mountain, which is five miles. For the daredevils, you can trek Stormy Peaks trail, which is six miles in length, or visit Lake Agnes for a strenuous five mile hike.

The CSU Rec Center is organizing a snowshoeing day hike to Lory State Park for Dec. 1, starting at 10 a.m. to go till 5 p.m. The last day to register is Nov. 29.  The hike costs is $20, which includes transportation, instructors, gear, food and poles.

The health benefits of snowshoeing includes little risk of injury and little energy exertion while working wonders for a person’s cardio fitness. Snowshoeing can burn more than 600 calories per hour.

“I loved it,” said Victoria Suha, a CSU freshman who has snowshoed before. “I did it at Steamboat Springs. It’s quite a different experience because you are able to see things you wouldn’t have otherwise seen while skiing because you are taking things in at a slower pace. It’s very peaceful and makes me feel adventurous.”

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