Monday, December 19, 2011

Snowshoe Techniques

Dijukno snowshoeing is almost as easy as walking?  The shoes require a wider than normal stance that may take some time getting used to, but it doesn't take long before you become comfortable and start enjoying your day.

Let's start by  learning how to ascend a
slope.  Kick your foot into the snow to engage the toe crampon and maximize your traction.  This technique will tire your calf muscles quickly.  You may find it to your benefit to purchase a snowshoe with a heel lift that can be placed under your heel to allow you walk up a slope without tiring as quickly!

When descending, heel crampons make it easier.  You will need to bend your knees slightly, and keep your weight back to maintain control and balance.  If the slope is too steep causing you to slide, swing your poles to the rear and sit on the back of your snowshoes. Sliding down the slope can be amazingly fun this way!

To traverse steep pitches, you will want to edge your snowshoe into the slope, using the crampons. You may find it easier to single track around a slope placing one snowshoe ahead of the other on the same level of the slope. You may have to double track if you have extra long snowshoes so each shoe has a track on a different level of the slope.

Trekking or ski poles can help to balance your stride as well as provide added stability in variable terrain and snow conditions.  Poles can also balance your workout by conditioning the upper body while at the same time decreasing the effort from your lower body.

When snowshoeing in fresh snow or powder, you'll need to have a person in your group take the lead to pack a trail, or ''break trail" in the snow with the others following. When the leader is tired, switch with another and keep rotating as needed.

Be sure to drink plenty of water, reapply your sunblock to exposed skin, including under your chin and arms since reflected sunlight off the snow can also burn in those areas. You can use a collapsible shovel to carve benches in the snow for sitting during breaks.  You can even layout a tarp or foam pad to sit on.

Take your time, enjoy the views/company, plan the next part of your hike, and remember to practice Leave No Trace Principles.

Storing Your Down Sleeping Bag

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