If you love winter sports but prefer a bit more wilderness and serenity than ski resorts offer, then snowshoeing may be right up your street!
Winter sports like snowshoeing are the perfect way to get into unspoiled nature. After all, who could say no to making fresh tracks through pine forests and along alpine pastures!?
6,000 years of history
Snowshoes were first used in central Asia around 6,000 years ago as a way of getting around in deep snow. At the time, they were simple slabs of wood strapped to feet, but they soon evolved into wood frames with raw hide underneath. This new variety gave them more float in the snow.
This ancient mode of transport made a revival in the ’80s as the fitness industry began to boom, and its popularity has increased steadily ever since. And as far as fast-growing winter sports go, snowshoeing has overtaken snowboarding as #1.
What’s so great about winter sports like snowshoeing?
1) Off the beaten track
Snowshoes allow you to escape crowded resorts and access unspoiled winter landscapes, making it far more likely that you will spot wildlife. By going snowshoeing with a guide, you can learn about local flora and fauna. You’ll even learn how to identify animal tracks in the snow!
2) Easy to learn
Unlike winter sports like skiing and snowboarding, which take years to master, snowshoeing is straightforward. If you can walk, you can snowshoe! The main thing to bear in mind is to keep your stance wider than usual to avoid tripping.
Compared to skis and snowboards, snowshoes are very inexpensive, and you can pick up a decent pair for around $50. And if you like trekking, you will probably already have most of the clothing you need too. See what to wear for snowshoeing for a comprehensive list of equipment.
4) Fantastic for fitness
Snowshoeing burns over 600 calories an hour — 45% more than walking at the same speed! That leaves plenty of room for a lovely Swiss fondue when you get home to your chalet. Snowshoeing is also a low-impact sport, so it’s perfect for those who find skiing too hard on their knees.
5) Suitable for everyone
Suitable for all ages and fitness levels, snowshoeing is a great activity for families.
If you’re out with people of mixed fitness levels, then it’s a good idea to place the fittest person at the front to break trail. Not only does this make it easier for everyone behind, it will also slow that person down to everyone else’s pace!
How to get started
If you live near a dedicated snowshoeing track, then it can be as easy as just strapping on your snowshoes and having a go! However, if you want to start venturing ‘off-piste’, then you will need to make sure you have some training in avalanche safety and navigation.
To find out more about how to get started you may find these blog posts useful:
Looking for a guided snowshoeing trip?
If you are looking for a real adventure holiday this winter, led by experienced guides in some of the most stunning areas in the Alps, check out our Swiss Alps winter adventure.