Check out our advice to help you choose the equipment and suitable clothes for snow-shoeing!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT PAIR OF SNOWSHOES
The flotation of a snowshoe is its capacity to remain on the surface of the snow, and depends on the weight of the walker (and the weight of their rucksack). Therefore, there are different shapes and sizes of snow shoe to better adapt to walkers and the activity of hikers (find the weight supported by each snowshoe in the product cards or store labelling).
If you are hiking on groomed slopes, you can use a model with a smaller deck (it will be lighter and easier to move) as your need for flotation will be less than off piste in powder snow.
Some pairs of snowshoes are have a left and right shoe (the 2 snowshoes are not interchangeable). This enables deck shapes with a narrower inside edge which makes walking easier.
For better support, some models have a boot in addition to the bindings. Remember to check that the boot size matches your shoe size.
If you intend to walk on paths with uphill sections, choose snowshoes with climb bars under the heel (such as the Inuit 450): this equipment is derived from tour skis and artificially compensate for the slope, up to 10 degrees. Result: it almost feels like you are walking on flat and will save energy!
To keep your balance, we recommend you use poles. Especially is you wish to walk on hilly terrain, or powder snow, where you may sink in more.
Make sure you use wide baskets on snowy ground to stop them sinking into the snow.
Adjustable height poles can be very useful to adapt to snow conditions. There are also poles with longer handles, you can therefore reposition your hands depending on the depth of the snow they sink into. This is the case with Forclaz 550 all seasons poles.
WHICH CLOTHES SHOULD I WEAR ?
Even if you are in the snow, snowshoe hiking will warm you up and there is no need to dress with overly warm clothes.
The best system is to adopt the "3 layer technique" and adapt your clothes to your effort: et: remove a layer when you are hot and add a layer when it is colder or during breaks. If you are too hot you will sweat, which will cool you down when you stop.
Near the body, wear breathable technical underwear, in merinos wool for example. You can also take spare underwear with you to change after your trip.
On your bottom half, the ideal is to wear warm trousers (with brushed fabric on the inside for example) that are water repellent (in case you fall into the snow) with good freedom of movement such as the Forclaz 500 Warm trousers. You can also wear classic hiking trousers and add leggings underneath to not be cold.
Finally, remember to take a pair of gloves and a hat as 8% of heat is lost through the extremities!
For snow-shoeing, you will need high, waterproof and breathable hiking shoes. Prefer shoes with good grip for sections where you will remove your snowshoes (on car parks or when there is not enough snow, etc).
Choose warm and breathable socks to wick away perspiration and not keep feet damp.
For outings in powder snow, you can also wear gaiters to ensure that the snow does not get into your socks.
WHAT SHOULD I CARRY IN MY RUCKSACK ON A SNOWSHOE HIKE?
Remember to take a snack or some cereal bars, depending on the duration and intensity of your hike.
Don't forget the usual tube of sun cream and sun glasses. UV rays are powerful in altitude and glare on the snow can even cause conjunctivitis.
NEVER FORGET SAFETY
For off-piste hiking, take maps, a compass and/or a GPS and take an avalanche victim search appliance, a spade and probe. These three pieces of equipment will also enable you to be found or search for a victim. Do not forget to revise safety basics.
Head off to the snowy hills!