This past weekend ushered in the start of snow sports season for most residents of the Mid-Valley, with unprecedented snow and cold weather for the early winter. While skiing and snowboarding are incredibly fun sports, they require a certain amount of skill, desire for risk, and can come with a hefty price tag. For a less expensive way to enjoy the winter wonderland, I’d highly recommend snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is a wonderful way to see your natural environment in a new light, and to enjoy time in the outdoors with your family and friends.
Snowshoes are also an essential piece of equipment (when snowshoeing), which come in a variety of styles. However, there is no need to buy snowshoes if you are just trying out the sport. They can be rented from Peak Sports for $10.00 a day, and other companies in Portland and Bend also rent if you are looking at snowshoeing in those areas.
So where do you take these new kicks? There are a variety of great snowshoeing locations, both locally and around the state. Be sure to check with the local forest district offices regarding necessary permits and weather conditions. And remember, almost any hiking trail becomes a snowshoeing trail once it snows.
To be a successful snowshoer, one has to be prepared for winter weather. This means dressing in many layers, and NO cotton (cotton doesn’t dry quickly, and loses its insulation qualities when wet. Acrylic fabrics or wool will still insulate even if they are wet). Layers are important for a variety of reasons, but the most obvious being that you can peel them off once you get moving and your body heat picks up. It’s important to take all of your usual essentials (food, water, flashlight, map, compass, whistle, etc), but extra food and water is particularly important, as your body expends more energy in the winter weather.