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Authored by Roger Timbrook

Everyone talks about skiing. The more adventurous even get their thrills from heliskiing. But strapping two planks to your feet and hurtling down a hill may not be your idea of a dream winter vacation.

With skiing, what most people don’t talk about how tough it is to learn. Yes, you will spend hours on your butt for the first few days. On top of that, it is usually insanely expensive!

As someone who lives in Switzerland, I actually moved here partly because I love skiing. So, don’t get me wrong. I love it. But in the past few years I have been checking out other winter options and soon fell in love with snowshoeing.

Have you heard about this old-school sport, or ever considered it? Let me tell you why snowshoeing is a great idea for your next winter adventure!

Try Snowshoeing Instead Of Skiing On Your Next Winter Adventure

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Get Away From The Crowds

If you’re the kind of person who’s sick of the lines and crowds that are associated with skiing (or any other popular activity) then snowshoeing might be the perfect alternative.

Although it has become popular in the last few years, snowshoeing is still a great way to get away from the crowds. Here in tiny Switzerland, where people are virtually everywhere, it is still extremely easy to find somewhere to go snowshoeing, and often you will be alone.

All you have to do is go early or venture a little bit further than most. And I am sure that will be the same in any other snow covered country you happen to be visiting.

It’s Like Hiking, But Everything’s White

Love hiking, but don’t know what to do in winter? Keep on hiking. Just with bigger shoes! Snowshoeing is not as popular or well known as hiking, but in reality it is pretty much the same thing.

Depending on where you decide to go, the amount of trails and quality of signage will vary, but in most parts of Switzerland you can always find a few snowshoeing trails.

Basically, there are pink signs (easy to see in the snow) plastered on trees, in the middle of fields and other creative places. All designed to guide you to amazing places with stunning views.

Snowshoe Herlan Peak of Lake Tahoe

You Can Go Almost Anywhere

A lot of sports we love to do are restricted to specific locations. Take skiing, you generally have to go to a resort. The same with swimming, cross country skiing and many other activities.

The beauty of snowshoeing is that you can go almost anywhere. Why? Because snow is the great equalizer when it comes to terrain. It makes often uneven terrain easy to walk on.

So, if you are good with navigation and direction, you can go almost anywhere. Just be aware that avalanches in steep areas are a big issue – so get the right training and advice.

It’s Super Easy To Learn

Unlike a lot of other sports, snowshoeing does not require much skill. You need to learn how to put them on, and drag your feet instead of taking big steps. That’s about it. And, if you get it wrong, no one will notice. It’s honestly just walking, but on snow.

If skiing scares or intimidates you, or maybe it’s just not your thing, there are always fun alternatives. Imagine you are on the way to a winter holiday with friends or family but with no desire to start skiing – now you can give snowshoeing a go. It might become your next outdoor passion!

Snowshoeing RF

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Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn’t know about travel, ain’t worth knowing!

You can find him blogging about his experiences at Expert World Travel.

Photo credits: Pinterest image close up of snowshoe by Elizabeth Lord. Snowshoe Herlan Peak of Lake Tahoe by Kee Yip

    23 Comments

  1. Nice write up Roger! We try and get a lot of snowshoeing here in Montana, it helps that we’ve got a good 8 months of snow to work with too. We even have some that are specially geared for runners.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Jim! Sounds like Montana is the place to be for snowshoeing!! Wow, I can imagine running in the snow would be quite the skill!

  2. I’ve never snowshoed, but the idea of gliding over the snow, especially fresh-fallen snow, is very appealing. I used to snow-ski, and that had it’s thrill, but it is usually crowded and even noisy sometimes. I’d love the calm and quiet of snowshoeing on trails without all the people.

    • Yes, skiing seems to have taken off as the world’s hottest snow sport, so resorts and runs always seem crowded no matter where you go. Which is a huge perk of snowshoeing :)

  3. I’ve tried both and although I’m a terrible skier, I’d have to say I prefer skiing. Snowshoeing is hard work! It’s great if you want to burn some calories though.

    • I’m always up for burning calories :D

  4. Claire and I tried snowshoeing in Lapland a couple of weeks ago and totally enjoyed it. It makes walking on heavy snow so much easier and also we could balance very well on them. It is hard work and a great way to keep fit and would recommend this to anybody.

    • Glad to hear you guys gave it a go! I haven’t tried skiing or snowshoeing yet myself, and have always been worried about my balance on skis! Sounds like it would be a lot easier to maintain with snow shoes instead :)

  5. This looks like a lot of fun! So much better than skiing. It reminded me of crampons. I wore them for glacier trekking in Patagonia.

    • Wow, glacier trekking in Patagonia sounds incredible! If you have the chance to try snowshoeing in the future, let us know how they both compare!

  6. I’ve been snowshoeing in Colorado and it is definitely exercise. I prefer it to skiing because I am not big on that downhill feeling. Besides, no lift lines!

    • Very true about the no life lines – the ability to go where you want, when you want and not have to fight against a crowd is one of the biggest perks in my mind!

  7. I’d love to give snow-shoeing a try, but I think it would really test my fitness. When I ski I just glide down the mountain and get a lift back up. Hiking through the snow sounds like a lot of hard work!

    • From everyone’s comments above, it definitely sounds like proper exercise!! Will be interesting to try :)

  8. I love skiing – maybe it’s that thrill of gliding through fresh powder.I’ve never tried snowshoeing but it seems like a lot of work. Probably more exercise than skiing.

    • From everyone’s comments above, it definitely sounds like proper exercise!! Will be interesting to try and compare the two!

  9. Snowshoeing definitely sounds interesting. I have never tried skiing either but I can imagine that it sounds scary and a bit tough while snowshoeing looks more fun and better since it can be done independently once learnt. Would love to try it someday :)

    • Hope you have the chance to try each soon – yes, I like the sound of snowshoeing much more from the stand point of independence and not being tied to a resort :)

  10. Great article! We wholeheartedly agree and have been persuading our winter clients to choose snowshoeing over skiing for 10 years! Check out our snowshoeing in the Alps trip for this January – now guaranteed to run. Or get in touch with us for a tailor made trip! We love snowshoeing!!

    • Thanks Sally, glad that you enjoyed the post :)

  11. I would prefer this Roger because it is like slow travel, snow-style. Plus no chance of slamming into a tree and dying LOL.

    • Haha that’s very true Ryan! I’ve not tried Skiing myself yet but thinking snow showing might be a good place to start … the slamming into a tree and dying feels like something that would happen to me on skis lol

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