Tips and Hints

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Trail Tips for Snowshoeing

When breaking a trail through fresh snow, take a marching approach, lifting your knees high taking even and consistent steps this way you don't pick up or drag snow that could bog you down.   When you are in a group, follow the leader in a straight line trying to stay in the leaders tracks.   This will help pack the snow further down for a better trail.   Take turns being the leader in breaking the trail to decrease tiredness in the group.

When on flat or rolling ground trails, they are pretty easy and straight forward for snowshoeing.   However, once you take on a more challenging terrain, you will be using your toe or instep crampons for better traction up hill.   When you ascend a hill or slope, kick the front toe of your shoe into the slope then press down for full contact step.   This will have your snowshoe on the angle of the slope, with the tails hanging behind you with the front tips above your boot.   You can now plant the crampons firmly into the snow directly under your feet for stable and secure footing.   Snowshoe poles can help add support and leverage when you are ascending slopes and hills.

When you descend downhill, you will feel that you want to lean back on your snowshoes.  Only if the snowshoes are designed with rear heel crampons built into the heels will you be able to take this approach.   If your snowshoes do not have rear heel crampons, you will have to keep your weight balanced over your foot, this way your front toe crampons will plant firmly in the snow.   Using snowshoes poles can be beneficial when descending downhill.

Traversing or edging is what is referred to as the act of crossing steep or hilly terrain sideways.   Balance is the most important thing to keep in mind when edging. Kick the side of your foot into the hill so that your crampons are in contact with the snow.   Then swing your heel hard towards the uphill slope while you tread heavily so that your snowshoes are secure in the snow.   It should look as though your snowshoes are creating a shelf of some sort as you traverse you way across the hill.   Adjustable poles can be very useful on a difficult terrain like this, this way you can shorten the uphill pole while you lengthen the lower pole for better balance and stability.