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Snowshoe guide

 Snowshoe guide

it's snowing. The world is transformed into silence.

Rediscover the connection to nature covered in snow, at the slow pace of its paces by experiencing this transformation: Thanks to snowshoes.

a little history

The history of snowshoes appears to have begun in Central Asia 4,000 years before Jesus Christ. Perhaps the primitive peoples were inspired by the observation of some large-legged animals that moved without difficulty on the mass of snow, while their feet were sinking in it.

Then people from these regions migrated from Central Asia to the East and West. If skis flourished in Scandinavia, then the idea of ​​snowshoes crossed the Bering Strait and reached the North American continent. The Indians who settled in Quebec, in eastern and northeastern Canada, in the United States used pine branches that they combined to form a base whose shape was inspired by the footprints of the animals they captured.

In Europe, snowshoes did not appear until 1700, and they were brought back by the British and French armies, who used them to cross the border regions of Quebec and New England during the War of Independence. Three centuries passed before snowshoeing became a pastime in the United States and Quebec, so much so that many clubs promoting the activity through competitions, obstacle courses and

 night trips have seen the day. Soon they became important places for socializing. Even in Europe, and especially in the Alps, times have changed, and snowshoeing is now a hobby, allowing unforgettable walks without the clutter of sleds, just to enjoy a walk in the fresh and wonderful snow of the mountains.

types of rackets

There are different types of snowshoes, which should be chosen based on the rate of use, body weight to shoe size ratio, and planned routes and activities. In general, for deep snow and generally flat terrain, taller snowshoes are recommended, while on rough terrain, shorter, slimmer snowshoes are more appropriate.

As for the material, it is made of plastic or aluminum, in this case its surface is made of neoprene or polyurethane.

Speculators are categorized into three main categories.

Snow boots in the shape of a bean. These are traditional snowshoes, now of little use. Its external structure is made of wood or aluminum, the support surface is made of braided rope, the shoe is fixed by means of straps and ropes. no longer used.

Canadians. They are the largest snowshoe (about a meter), and they often have a tail. Despite its size, it is excellent for deep snow and has different mounting systems. It is not very suitable for rough terrain and harsh snow.

modern. They are of different shapes, but generally represent an intermediate form between the two previous types and are made of plastic or aluminum. They have very technical attacks, and different types of tapes, depending on the needs. Due to its technical characteristics, it is also suitable for rough terrain.

The modern snow boot includes a main frame that allows it to float on fresh snow. The larger the frame, the greater the flotation, but the more weight that must be carried on the feet. The sole has a joint attached to the shoe to reduce fatigue and make walking smoother. In most technical parts (steep descents, slopes), when it is necessary to control the snowshoe well, it is possible to block the joint with a hook at the back.

The shoe strap is adjustable in length to accommodate different foot sizes. It generally includes a front lace-up in which the tip of the shoe is placed, and a rear lace that goes over the ankle.

Under the snowshoe, the metal straps provide good grip on rough snow and on the slopes. For climbing, climbing wedges placed under the heel are preferred to reduce calf stress.

How to walk in snowshoes

One can mistakenly think that it is enough to walk normally in snowshoes. In fact, to properly use snowshoes, a number of precautions must be taken.

Snow is never the same, it can be powder, frozen, wet, or a combination of these, and you will have to adapt your path to each step.

However, in general, snowshoeing is a bit like Nordic walking: the arms and legs move alternately, when the right foot moves forward, you have to plant your left stick in the snow, and vice versa.

The most common mistake made on a first snowshoe outing is to start with a long, wide stride, which is the best way to dive into the snow. It is better to find a good rhythm, with small steps and legs slightly apart from the usual (snowshoes 40-50 cm wide), by following the path already open in the snow if you are not a pathfinder.

On flat ground, the racket (free heel) should be opened to allow for a comfortable, natural movement. The legs should be slightly apart to prevent the rackets from touching and tangling. It is not necessary to raise the snowshoe high when walking, it should glide almost over the snow.

When climbing, the wedge is used to make the progression less stressful and to reduce tension in the calves. Climbing should always take place on the line of the maximum slope to allow the front hook to hang. If the incline is too steep, to avoid slipping, you should sand my words well before taking the next step. It is also possible to create steps by tapping your foot several times on the snow.

Some tips for safe outings

Kids can also enjoy snowshoe picnics, it's a sport for everyone, even if it's necessary to remember a few simple rules for off-piste picnics.

Choose the appropriate methods. They must be adapted to the physical and technical capabilities of the participants and lap times must be calculated according to the slowest walker.

Use appropriate clothing and equipment. We recommend wearing onion peels and avoiding bulky clothing that hinders movement. That's why we recommend wearing a T-shirt, a first layer of long-sleeved synthetic technical fabric, or fleece, or a second layer also of breathable, wind-resistant technical fabric if possible, which will keep you warm while wicking sweat. A third windproof and waterproof layer, if possible with a breathable Gore-Tex or Polartec membrane. Unlined, windproof and water-resistant long pants. At the feet, socks and walking shoes, gaiters can be worn that protect shoes and calves from snow. Finally, always wear a hat, gloves, and goggles.

Always check the weather before you go. The weather is known to change quickly in the mountains, so it is best to prepare for all eventualities by referring to the weather forecast bulletins and avalanches. If the weather is uncertain, it is better to return. It is helpful to always have an alternate route back.

Equip yourself with DVA. DVA is a radio transmitting on a single fixed frequency (457 kHz) common to all devices. In the event of an avalanche, transponders receive “beeps” from avalanche victims and significantly reduce search time.

You are not alone. We recommend that you do not go out alone on snowshoes, even if you know the mountain well. In any case, it is recommended to inform someone of the itinerary.

Snowshoe training

Snowshoeing is an energy-intensive sport. It is possible to burn up to 1000 calories per hour. It is therefore recommended that the preparation focus on improving aerobic resistance.

Use Technogym Elliptical. The movement on the Technogym Elliptical is reminiscent of Nordic walking or cross-country skiing and is close to that of snowshoeing. By applying an appropriate resistance, it is also possible to reproduce the effort on the uneven road of a snowshoe walk.

Do squats. Squats are an ideal exercise to strengthen the leg muscles. You can do it with or without weights,

side panels. In addition to the legs, it is also important to train the abdominal muscles. The side plank is one of the most effective exercises. How do you perform the exercise? Lie on your side, only the outside of the leg

The hips touch the ground. The elbow is placed under the shoulder, perpendicular to it, and the body rests on the forearm. Inhale, start the movement: by contracting the transverse muscle, raise the body from the floor so that it remains supported only on the lateral part of the foot, the elbow and forearm. Maintain this position. Return to a resting position, and repeat the exercise on the other side.


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