By Jim Watson, Little Bear Snowshoes
can snowshoe? If you can walk - you can snowshoe, and this holds true for even
the youngest members of the family. If your child walks with good balance (is
beyond toddler stage), then they can snowshoe. Snowshoeing is low impact and about
as strenuous as walking down a trail.
Think of snowshoeing as
hiking or going for a walk. You are outside enjoying the fresh air and getting
some exercise. But the trail you are hiking is a fantastic winter wonderland.
A blanket of clean white snow muffles noises so you only hear the trail crunching
underfoot. Because snowshoes give you good traction and balance you can look around
as you walk, watching for birds, deer and animal tracks. Snowshoeing is very social,
so you can share this special winter experience with a friend, chatting as you
stroll. Think of snowshoes as a
vehicle that gives you easy access to winter walking. Now think of your favorite
hiking trail in winter, trees covered in snow, icicles hanging from branches with
clear blue sky above. Enticing isn't it?
Snowshoeing is a natural
family activity. There really is nothing to learn, and once you have walked 50
feet in snowshoes you are an expert. Children enjoy being on snow and don't need
a lot of entertaining. Give them a sled and a hill and they are very happy. Go
exploring and see what the kids can find, tune them in to animal tracks in the
snow and keep an eye out for white bunnies. See how many different kinds of birds
you can spot. Play tag.
What kind of equipment is
needed to snowshoe? To begin with you will need snowshoes. It is a good idea to
try different models of snowshoes from different manufacturers to see what you
like. Most shops have rental snowshoes with the rent applying toward purchase
if you decide to keep them. Snowshoeing is an active sport, and most beginners
end up over dressing and getting hot. Boots should be, above all else, comfortable
but they should also be fairly waterproof. Light cotton socks inside wool socks
are an excellent
Water and wind resistant pants are a good idea. Layering a fleece jacket with
a water and wind resistant shell lets you ventilate and cool down as you go. But
don't get hung up on equipment. Snowshoeing is by nature simple, which is one
reason it so enjoyable. Just strap on your snowshoes, walk off into the woods
and enjoy yourself.
Want to give it a try? See our KidzStore
for snowshoes for even the littlest tykes.