Snowshoe recommendation

farmer14

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2015
Messages
263
I’d like to try to get into a pair of snowshoes this winter. Any recommendations? Will mainly use for winter fitness/hiking. I don’t see my self getting into crazy powder type stuff but will hike steep slops from time to time. I’m 5’10” 170 lbs. I’m guessing a 25 will work for my sizing. Thanks in advance!
 

Decker9

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
322
Location
BC goat mountains
I have a bunch of years on the MSR lightning accents, they’v given me no reason to try anything different. Excellent in steep mountain terrain, but not the best in deep powder. The tails are worth looking at if a guys going to be in the powder a lot.

My gal uses the MSR evo’s, and can say they don’t compare to the accents. They squeak a lot and don’t have the best traction, she spends as much time sliding backwards as hiking upwards.
 

Graves14

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 23, 2015
Messages
711
Location
Idaho
I have 25” and 30” shoes and I’d suggest going with the 25’s. They’re way more maneuverable especially on steeper slopes.
Just make sure whichever you get have a heal rising bar. Otherwise inclines are a nightmare
 

Marbles

Senior Member
Joined
May 16, 2020
Messages
685
Location
Anchorage, AK
For your described use, I would go with MSR Lightening Accents. How much weight you expect to put on them (you plus whatever you carry) along with if you will be breaking trail or not will dictate the size you need. The MSR's have floatation tails you can get to make them a larger size. This lets you have the maneuverability of shorter shoes with the option for more flotation if needed.

I have the 25" with tails and with a pack on I have wished for the 30" a couple times. But, I have also been in tight spots where a bigger shoe would have made life more difficult.
 

GotDraw?

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2015
Messages
810
Location
Maryland
There are a number of great posts on the MSR Lightning Ascents on this site, I suggest searching that topic.

Lightning Ascents won't give you quite as much "flotation" as the classic aluminum tube frame style snowshoes, but Ascents will save your ass in frozen hard pack every time when going up, down or side-hilliing.

I use Ascents and you are v close to my size, I run 25" w/o a pack or a light pack. In v soft powder or w/a heavy pack you'll want the 30"ers for sure. Extended tails are an imperfect solution but work.

Adding tail extensions on the 25" models will give you more float, but will shift the center of your balance to front of the snowshoe because the foot hinge point is designed for that 25" format not 30". This is okay when climbing, but a bit of a PITA when descending in soft snow, not a huge PITA, but enough of a pita. I found 'cause the snow under evergreens can be v soft and the front of your snowshoe will want to submarine and dive down a little while your extended tails will tend to float more.

Anyhow, great shoe. You cannot go wrong. And they hold their resale value pretty well.

My 2 cents, buy the 30" if you intend to carry a full pack with winter gear. Buy the 25"ers if you will mostly be day hiking or training. Drop me a note w/any questions.

Depending on where you live, you might find someone that would loan you a set for a weekend to try out. You could always post and ask...

Count on the fact that it may be VERY difficult to find Lightning Ascents this year, so buy them EARLY. Last year had many folks out and about due to COVID and snowshoes were tough to find. This winter could be a repeat.

Best,
JL
 
Last edited:

thinhorn_AK

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2016
Messages
4,305
Location
Alaska
I have some atlas montagne snowshoes that I’ve been relatively happy with, no complaints really. I havnt done a ton with them but when I have taken them out they have worked well. They’d upport the weight, the spikes are good and the binding has been easy to use.
 

MtnMuley

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2016
Messages
389
I prefer the Tubbs Flex Alps over the MSR Lightning Ascents. They're both excellent though.
 

Decker9

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2015
Messages
322
Location
BC goat mountains
For reference, I’m 5’11” 160, and use the 25” MSR’s, and have many times wished I had 30’s. Without a doubt I’d go 30” the day I need new ones.
 

Ross

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
3,687
Location
Liberty Lake, WA
Tough to beat MSR snowshoes for anything but deeeep powder🤙A love hate Relationship with them....great durability to them along with traction and the binding straps will last a long time and reminds me I need to replace a binding strap on one before the fun starts
 

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