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Becoming familiar with one's snowshoes

Discover how to optimise your comfort and your strength to enjoy your snowshoe hikes to the full: 

ADJUST YOUR SNOWSHOES CORRECTLY

Before leaving, have you adjusted your snowshoes correctly ?

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USE POLES

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To improve your balance, we recommend using poles. Especially is you wish to walk on hilly terrain, or powder snow, where you may sink in more. These poles will be great help when walking uphill, downhill, on banks and over small obstacles (such as fences).

Need help ? Discover how to choose your poles.

 

 

 

 

CHANGE YOUR STRIDES ON BANKS

When traversing, that is walking more or less horizontally on a relatively steep slope, it is important to transfer your weight onto the uphill edge of the snowshoe when taking a step (similar to edging when skiing). This technique reduces the tendency of the snowshoe to slide downhill.

 

CHANGE YOUR STRIDES ON BANKS                                                                                                                 cale-de-montee-raquettes-neige

When going uphill, as soon as the slope is steep and the snow is relatively hard and stays firm beneath the snowshoes, the heel lifts come in useful. This part, used on some models (such as Inuit 450 snowshoe), is derived from touring skis. It is used to artificially compensate for the slope by approximately 10°. Result: you feel almost as if you're walking on a flat surface. 

 

ADAPT YOUR POSTURE WHEN THE GRADIENT INCREASES

When the slope becomes steeper, you need to shift your weight right onto the front of the snowshoes, to the point where you will sometimes be standing on your toes. When the slope is even steeper, you have to "kick steps". This involves kicking the snow with the snowshoe pointing downwards rather than horizontally, as shown in the illustration.

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GOING DOWNHILL

If the descent is gradual, you can walk freely using a curved or zigzag route. However, if it is steeper, it is important to descend facing the slope. Your snowshoes must be parallel, never in snowplough or "step" position. Shift your weight to the back of the snowshoes, slide them in the snow or under the snow if there is powder snow; and be confident. Place your poles slightly in front of you, and be ready to stick them in the snow if necessary.

Now that you know how to use your snowshoes on all terrains, consult our advice on how to dress to ensure you are comfortable on your future outings. 

 

You are ready at last! If you go off the beaten track, be careful and observe snow conditions in the mountains.

You can head off into the snowy wilderness.

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