Dan's Outside

I go, I see, I do, I walk, I think, I like…

Snowshoe or Ski?

(An old article – posted here so as not to lose it during the site transition.)

I know how I would answer that question.

Tom (at Two-Heel Drive) returned from a recent trip to Yosemite waxing rhapsodic about snowshoe hiking. (But somewhat less rhapsodic about cold, wet socks… you’ll have to visit his site to read about that.)

I have cross-country skied for more than 30 years (yes, since I was 2 years old… or maybe I meant 20? ;-) and more recently done some telemark skiing. I did try snowshoeing a several years ago when we took a large group of high school and middle school kids on a winter hike up the road to Donner Pass near Lake Tahoe. I had never tried snowshoeing before because, compared to magically gliding through the woods on skis (hey, it is possible to get the waxes right once in awhile… ;-), snowshoeing seemed so, well, plodding. But I decided to give it a try.

It did feel like plodding. I can’t say that I really enjoyed it much at all. I’ll admit that it is an effective and practical means of getting out and about in snow country, but there didn’t seem to be much poetry in slogging along on giant loose-fitting “shoe extenders” – at least not compared to cross-country skiing. For me the downhill sections were especially bad – I wanted to take advantage of all of the gravity equity I had built climbing the hill, and enjoy a good schuss back down the hill. Contrary to the photos I see in outdoor magazines, the downhill was not faster than the uphill – and if anything is less exciting than slogging uphill it is slogging downhill.
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January 29, 2007 - Posted by | Commentary

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