by Diane Spicer
You want the best safety tips for snowshoers, right?
Let's not waste another minute with a long winded wind up.
Here's the delivery, in three part harmony: basic safety tips for snowshoeing. These include:
Of course we start with planning! It's the key to a safe snowshoe trip.
There are several things you've got to be on top of before you head out the door.
Failing to plan is planning to fail, as they say.
And for this vigorous winter sport, planning is your ticket to safety.
Especially if you're heading into mountainous backcountry!
Let's lump weather and location together.
Your body is your vehicle into the snowy wonderland, so treat it right.
Use Hiking For Her's snowshoe gear guide.
Heed these snowshoeing food and drink tips.
Now let's turn to the second major way
to stay safe as a snowshoer.
You've got two things to be smart about:
Winter hiking adds a brand new dimension to the joy of the trail.
It also adds new worries.
Examples: dealing with the cold and adjusting your pace to accommodate conditions.
And you will meet brand new hazards as a winter hiker:
Be especially alert for them as you move across the terrain.
If you have even a shred of doubt about your ability to surmount them, turn around.
There is no shame in knowing that you need a stronger outdoor skill set for snowshoeing. Keep reading for tips on how to tackle that deficit.
Every group has leaders, whether by overt agreement or tacit understanding.
If you're the leader, you have responsibility for pacing, destination, safety, and morale.
If you're following someone's lead, you've got responsibility for keeping up.
And speaking up.
No matter your role, you've got to pay attention to the people who are snowshoeing in front of and behind you.
And not only that, you need to communicate clearly.
Women seem more willing to talk about what's going on. Yet we are hesitant to inconvenience anyone.
Here's the deal:
If you have to be the one who brings up a problem, so be it.
While I have done this, I don't recommend it any longer.
Short winter days.
Unpredictable weather patterns.
Thin margins for staying safe in the face of an error or injury.
Increased fatigue due to heavier winter gear.
All these make me hesitant to recommend solo snowshoeing to anyone.
And with age, comes wisdom.
Now we move on to our third big snowshoeing safety topic.
Here's where most women shine: being able to change plans on the fly when it's clear that Plan A is not working out.
A few examples:
I urge you to let go of the rigidity of a plan to make it to Location X, no matter what.
Don't let your trail companions talk you out of what you know, or feel, to be the right decision for you.
And when you just don't feel the snowshoeing love, you know what to do!
If you're going to be spending your day on snow, know how to approach it.
For example, if you're heading into steep terrain, learn the basics of avalanche safety.
Backcountry Babes runs courses and trips.
More of a do-it-yourself-er? Read this:
Another source of outdoor education for snowshoers: classes and events at REI Co-op.
The freedom of tromping over snow laden hills and valleys wearing snowshoes?
It is something you have to experience for yourself, at least once!
Relax and enjoy your snowshoe trips by heading out prepared, smart and flexible.
Let me know if you need answers to questions, I'm here to help.
Best Safety Tips For Snowshoers
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She’s been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for nearly five decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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