If you are looking for a high outdoor family-friendly activity while staying at Creekside Chalets in Salida, Colorado, check out snowshoeing. It offers something for everyone. Great for the entire family, it is an excellent exercise for all activity levels. It is also relatively inexpensive, and the equipment is readily available. It offers social interaction while allowing you to check out some of the most beautiful and pristine landscape that you have ever seen. And it is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

What is Snowshoeing?

Webster defines snowshoe as: a usually lightweight platform for the foot that designed to enable a person to walk on soft snow without sinking, and that typically consists of an oblong frame crossed with leather thongs or synthetic material. 

But you already know that, right? But did you know that snowshoes date back to some 4000 years ago in Asia? The primitive snowshoe was developed so that hunters would be able to traverse large amounts of snow to hunt for food. What started as a necessity, has grown over the years into a recreational activity. And as the reason for snowshoes has evolved, so has the equipment. 

Snowshoe Gear

The equipment you need to get started is effortless. Snowshoes and poles are all that is required to begin. The snowshoes are specific to your weight and height, as well as the terrain and conditions. Snowshoes are either made of aluminum or composite and can either have free or fixed-rotation bindings. You can rent or buy equipment, as well as get advice from pros at several nearby shops such as Mt. Shavano Ski and Snowboard Shop or Salida Mountain Sports. If you are going to be traveling on hilly terrain, telescopic poles might be the best for you since they can help you navigate the inclines and declines more easily. And if you are planning on carrying a backpack with you, you might want to include the weight of the pack when sizing up your shoes. 

Most snowshoes will fit over any footwear. 

You will want to be sure to wear warm, waterproof boots. Warm socks are a must, and if you are a first-timer, you may want to throw an extra pair into that backpack. Even experts occasionally fall, so for a beginner, wet feet could put a real damper on the day. Snow gaiters are great to have as well. Relatively inexpensive, they can be worth their weight in gold by keeping the snow and moisture out of your boots.

Dress in layers. The beauty of Colorado weather is that it can change on a dime. You will be getting your heart rate up, so if you get too warm, you want to be able to remove a layer. And if it starts to cool down, well, you know the drill. 

Make sure that your coat is water-resistant. It should fit comfortably enough to allow you to use the poles easily. Wear gloves that are resistant to moisture but allow for free movement. 

A hat or lined hood is necessary to keep in the warmth. You can always shed a layer if you get too toasty.

Don’t forget the sunscreen and sunglasses. The glare of the beautiful white snow can play a number on your eyes, so make sure you protect them. A sunscreen of SPF 30 or more will protect your skin and keep you from having sunglass tan.

Beginner Tips

  • Although snowshoeing is walking, your stance is wider and, at first, may seem a bit unnatural. Turning corners can start a bit awkward, as well. But this is a fun activity! Take your time and enjoy yourself! If you fall, get back up and try again!
  • Be Prepared. Take a pack with you that includes a snack, extra socks/gloves, water, and sunscreen. Trail maps, a first aid kit, and a compass are all helpful to have as well. 
  • Check the forecast. Well, it is still winter. It is excellent if a few flakes are coming down, but be aware of the weather. Keep an eye out for harsh winds or high snowfall amounts. 
  • Go with a friend. Or your family. After all, this is a fun, social experience. And, besides, there is safety in numbers.
  • Let others know where you are going. Cell service can be a bit spotty, so it is always a good idea to disclose your plans.
  • Start with short or flat trails. And at first, stick to the tried and true trails instead of going straight into the backcountry. If you don’t know which ones fit your criteria, ask for recommendations, and we can point you in the right direction.
  • Bring a camera or your phone. Although cell service may be less than optimal, you can still rock that camera phone! And you are going to see some photo-worthy scenery. Just imagine the selfie you can take!

Where to go

Where you go is, of course, personal preference. The Arkansas Valley is close to several trails. Old Monarch Pass caters to all ability levels. Snowshoeing continues to be a favorite activity and an amazing experience that offers a new look at Colorado’s stunning natural beauty. Old Monarch Pass is a great choice for your first snowshoeing excursion. It’s relatively easy and short, plus it’s particularly beautiful after a fresh snowfall. This trail offers easy to access and mellow terrain- perfect for beginners or experienced skiers alike.  For a complete listing of some of our favorite trails, check out this article

After Snowshoeing

Do you feel like you had a workout? After returning from your snowshoe adventure, it is comforting to know that you are coming back to Creekside Chalets, where you can relax in your private hot tub. Haven’t booked yet? Contact us to reserve your chalet today. That snowshoe selfie can be yours soon!

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