Anyone Snowshoe or Cross Country/Touring Ski in Off Season? Getting Started Tips?

hh76

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I'm not a skier, but a good friend is. Couple of things that I've noticed from trips together.

when he is skiing on good trails, it looks like a lot of fun, but the skis he has need the right trail to be "fun"

When you decide that the snow isn't deep enough, you can take off snowshoes and your still in good walking boots

Snowshoes are easier to just throw in the back of the truck in case you need to go for a walk in snow.
 

Rokwiia

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I agree that snowshoeing is an excellent way to get or stay in shape. If you have any inclination towards jogging, several companies make snowshoes for running.

I've gone to events and there are the elite runners who just happen to use snowshoes then there's the ham-and-egg jogger like me who just has fun and isn't competitive with it.

I have the Northern Lites backcountry model and also the racing model. I never use the backcountry ones any more.

With the Dion, you can have you running snowshoes customized.

It's a lot of fun, even just jogging along by yourself. .

https://northernlites.com/collections/ultralight-race-series

https://dionnevitrek.com/

 

Poser

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I’d agree that terrain recognition is the most important tool for avalanche avoidance. Also learn what alpha angles are and how to determine them. Snowshoers frequently get taken out from above while they are down in the flats.

Yeah, this is the biggest thing. We recently had some slides triggered from over 1,000 yards away in the san Juans. If you have multiple parties out in an area, this can definitely create a hazard. But also, we had fatality a few years back from the embankment of a FS road sliding. It was only ~30 feet of snow but it buried a person and they died.
 

Tock-O

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Get the book that's titled something like "surviving in avalanche terrain..." I can't remember the exact title. It's invaluable.

Read one of the bigger avalanche forecasting centers forecasts every single day to learn and read the forecast for your area every single day. The Utah Avalanche Center has very good educational information on their site.

Take an avy class if possible

Don't forget to take your 22 or 17 out with you
 

Lawnboi

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I xc ski, but my kind of xc skiing here in WI is probably different from where you are.
I despise snow shoeing. They are a means to get through deep snow for me and that’s about it. If I’m going out for exercise it’s on skis.
 

WCB

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I do a bit of snow shoeing just for fun but most times it is while coyote hunting...so no trails or paths. It will definitely burn calories and like others have said, you can really find yourself away from everyone. Low entry level cost and IMO more versatile than skis. Snowshoeing is fun until you are waist deep in snow with them on or punch through a pocket and have one leg up and one leg straight down hahaha.

I have never understood "like the video above" why someone would snow shoe on a path or course that you could just walk down with regular boots? If you have access to a groomed ski trail that is the only way I would "start/learn" to XC ski.
 
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lifeisgoodsteve

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Bitterroot Valley
Lots of great input. Sounds like starting with snowshoes makes sense, if nothing else than to have that tool in my arsenal for winter mountain time. After some ss experience I'll consider touring/altai skis.

Been researching the various shoes and wonder what your experience is with the actual size vs snow conditions/terrain?

I'm 210 before clothes, gear, pack so most models call for 30" with option of tails if I carried a bigger pack.

For the off trail exploring we're talking about, what have you found works well?

Do the models with more crampons/grip make a big difference? Any key features you've found make the biggest difference from your experience?
 
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NickKreutz

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Saskatchewan
I use two different lengths of snowshoes 28" and 36" i think, and tend to prefer the shorter ones, more maneuverable and not as heavy. Get good wide ones though. Those cheap little ones that are barely bigger than the size of your boot are no good. They will be awkward at first but the more you walk in them the more natural they will feel.

Mine have the big aluminum teeth on the bottom of the pivoting section and below the heel and have saved me a couple times, especially on a steep trail that i have previously travelled and packed down.

Also make sure the bindings are solid. Good snowboard binding style straps and adjustable heel straps that are stiff and stay done up are key. good quality materials are a must because when its -30c that cheaper plastic gets mighty brittle.

Last word of advice, take a predator call and rifle! Its great to have a destination and a goal to get you outside and a 20 minute calling session is a good worthwhile rest stop! Helps the fawns and calves out as well!
 

BBob

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I have MSR Lightning's and went with the length that fit body weight and a small pack. I figured if I wanted to go heavier I'd add the tails. That said I don't have experience on if a longer would be any real hindrance for lighter loads. I'd guess a longer shoe in some conditions won't be as maneuverable like in steeper up and down terrain. I picked the MSR's because at the time recommendations were they climbed and handled steep terrain better than some others. Never used anything else (snowshoe) other than my Verts.
 

zion zig zag

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Get the book that's titled something like "surviving in avalanche terrain..." I can't remember the exact title. It's invaluable.

Read one of the bigger avalanche forecasting centers forecasts every single day to learn and read the forecast for your area every single day. The Utah Avalanche Center has very good educational information on their site.

Take an avy class if possible

Don't forget to take your 22 or 17 out with you
"Staying Alive In Avalanche Terrain" by Bruce Tremper. It's the bible.
 
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lifeisgoodsteve

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I have MSR Lightning's ...
The MSR Lightning Ascents are still the top recommended shoe is so many reviews, but they don't seem to be available anywhere in the 30" that's recommended for me.

So I'm considering other options. The Revo Ascents look available in a slightly smaller 25", and sound like they just have a little less crampon and some differences in the frame stiffness and platform.

Like many things, supplies are limited so imagine I'll make some compromises if I want to use them this winter.
 

seww

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Here's my 2 cents...
For deep snow, we use these back in the old country: https://www.tegsnasskidan.se/produkt/rajd-vallningsfri-bankiraywood/
A wide, 75mm, long 7+ ft, wooden ski that you either oil or use tar for grip. You almost float on any sort of powder snow. Can't beat it.

But here in the Rockies, they would be a challenge as the terrain is a bit steeper. Woodski's aren't known to be great downhill. My buddy and I did some dives ptarmigan hunting a few years ago.

I've got some snowshoes now, got a pair of MSR's for $5 at a thrift store, might head out this weekend.
 

WCB

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The MSR Lightning Ascents are still the top recommended shoe is so many reviews, but they don't seem to be available anywhere in the 30" that's recommended for me.

So I'm considering other options. The Revo Ascents look available in a slightly smaller 25", and sound like they just have a little less crampon and some differences in the frame stiffness and platform.

Like many things, supplies are limited so imagine I'll make some compromises if I want to use them this winter.
Brand wise I have no idea...The one I have were like $130 with poles like AP Trek or something and are 30" long. I Personally think they are about right on length for a do all utility type shoe. I have used smaller and punch throw WAY more...and longer get annoying when crossing fences or having to navigate obstacles.

Mine being definitely on the "cheaper" side have zero issues with them and I have put countless miles and beat on them pretty good the last 5 years or so. As long as there is some Crampon I don't see too much of an issue as normally you are naturally digging in more...Down hill is always a blast when you get leaned back on some packed snow haha
 

Sandstrom

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What ever you do, please don’t be one of the d-bags that is out on your snowshoes with trecking poles in the city park on a groomed trail (or off trail in 3 inches of snow)!!
Ryan
 
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Yellowknife

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Fishhook, Alaska
I'll be the odd man out and say I strongly prefer skiing over snowshoeing. I've got the full suite of gear from hotshot carbon skate ski's to backcountry ski's to snowshoes of all sizes. Snowshoeing is great for it's utility, but covers very little ground and can get boring quickly. Not really a recreational thing for me. And anybody that says you can't get injured snowshoes has never taken a header off a log in waist deep snow. ha.

XC skiing is a much work as you want it to be. Most people use relatively fat waxless "touring" skis and use the "grandma shuffle" technique. That is admittedly a minimal workout. On the other end of the spectrum, burning around groomed trails on skate skis is a TREMENDOUS work out that works every muscle group, takes significant skill/coordination and is more cardio than running.

My favored style is in the middle. I live near a large network of multiuse trails that are lightly groomed. I can take a 6+ mile touring loop from the house, see a lot of country, and be back at my door in an hour and half. That's using skinny nordic classic skis, which are the favorite ones in my personal quiver. With decent nordic technique, the workout is entirely dependent on how hard I want to push it.

What you pick is going to largely depend on what you have access to. Very few people are going to load snowshoes in a truck and drive any distance on a regular basis.

The other thing work looking at is fat-biking. Super popular in this area, probably more than either skiing or snowshoeing, and for a lot of people it's easier to do from the house.

Yk
 

seww

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I'll be the odd man out and say I strongly prefer skiing over snowshoeing. I've got the full suite of gear from hotshot carbon skate ski's to backcountry ski's to snowshoes of all sizes. Snowshoeing is great for it's utility, but covers very little ground and can get boring quickly. Not really a recreational thing for me. And anybody that says you can't get injured snowshoes has never taken a header off a log in waist deep snow. ha.

XC skiing is a much work as you want it to be. Most people use relatively fat waxless "touring" skis and use the "grandma shuffle" technique. That is admittedly a minimal workout. On the other end of the spectrum, burning around groomed trails on skate skis is a TREMENDOUS work out that works every muscle group, takes significant skill/coordination and is more cardio than running.

My favored style is in the middle. I live near a large network of multiuse trails that are lightly groomed. I can take a 6+ mile touring loop from the house, see a lot of country, and be back at my door in an hour and half. That's using skinny nordic classic skis, which are the favorite ones in my personal quiver. With decent nordic technique, the workout is entirely dependent on how hard I want to push it.

What you pick is going to largely depend on what you have access to. Very few people are going to load snowshoes in a truck and drive any distance on a regular basis.

The other thing work looking at is fat-biking. Super popular in this area, probably more than either skiing or snowshoeing, and for a lot of people it's easier to do from the house.

Yk

I'd prefer skiing too, but having a hard time finding long, wide skiis for deep snow.
Not interested in climbing mountains but would be nice to cruise around. Any tips on long wide skiis? I don't care too much for the shorter ones mentioned earlier in the thread but I like proper skiis. No need for steel edge but nice to have.
 

Yellowknife

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I'd prefer skiing too, but having a hard time finding long, wide skiis for deep snow.
Not interested in climbing mountains but would be nice to cruise around. Any tips on long wide skiis? I don't care too much for the shorter ones mentioned earlier in the thread but I like proper skiis. No need for steel edge but nice to have.
All ski's are hard to find this year. Backcountry nordic touring ski's even harder.

My preferred deep snow skis are around 70-80mm wide and have detachable kicker skins for steeper uphills. Fischer Traverse/Excursion or Madshus Panorama series currently do that. For those that live close to Colorado, you can get Asnes skis in Boulder and they make a full range for backcountry touring. Longer is always better for covering ground, so I recommend the longest available if you aren't doing turns or in the brush.

Rossignol also makes the BC series, and I've actually seem some of those in stock. As far as I know they don't have the kicker skins, but that may or may not be important for non-steep touring.

It's all highly dependent on the local snow and terrain, so finding a good ski shop is the place to start!
 

zion zig zag

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I'd love to have some of these for late season cow hunts.

 

durangobrad

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I'd prefer skiing too, but having a hard time finding long, wide skiis for deep snow.
Not interested in climbing mountains but would be nice to cruise around. Any tips on long wide skiis? I don't care too much for the shorter ones mentioned earlier in the thread but I like proper skiis. No need for steel edge but nice to have.
What dimensions are you looking for?




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