Tuesday, March 13, 2012

snowshoeing - vermont style

When I picture snowshoeing, I normally picture a nice, flat, walk in the snow. A workout if you keep yourself going at a reasonable pace, but nothing all that strenuous. This weekend, I got a lesson in how fun (and how much of a workout) snowshoeing can be when you hit the ski hill with snowshoes.
Mad River Glen. A ski co-op. No snowboarding allowed (for real).
We took the "easy" trail because we weren't sure that we had the 3 hours the advanced trail would take us. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The sun was out, it wasn't all that windy, and it had snowed several inches (I'm using inches since we were in the states ;-) the night before - so there was a beautiful covering of fresh snow. It started off fairly easy with the terrain looking a lot like this:
Flat and powdery.
Then we started climbing. For the most part, it wasn't too bad on the way up. We were glad we had poles and we were glad we were all in good shape so that we didn't struggle going up. It was a good to get our legs moving and our blood pumping out in the sunshine! Plus, we had scenery like this:
It started to get a little more "extreme" when it was time to go down hill. First off - it was kind of sad to have done all the work climbing up the hill without being able to glide down the hill. I think we all wished we were on skis at that point. Plus, some of the snow had been worn off and there were some definite icy patches - making the steep downhills a little intimidating. Something I learned while trying to go down a steep hill on snowshoes: if you've grown up skiing, your instinctive method of sidestepping down the hill is completely wrong. You just have to walk down the hill. There are metal spikes on the snowshoes for a reason...and even though every part of you thinks that pointing the things strapped to your feet will result in disaster, it is the right thing to do.
Going down
Another thing I learned - snowshoe trails shouldn't be marked with white diamonds attached to trees. They're really hard to see when you've made a wrong turn and you're trying to find your way back to the path. Shockingly, the white on the trees blends into the white snow when you're looking up the hill for them. But, we found our way back to the path (after going down a mighty steep slope and then hoofing it back up) and quite enjoyed our snowshoeing adventure.
Done! Now where's my apres-shoe beer?
Definitely something I would do again. Though if I'm going back to Mad River Glen, I think I'd rather go skiing. It looked like a really fun hill to ski - even if one of the chair lifts looked really lonely (what looked like the longest lift was a SINGLE chair. I had no idea those even existed).

And just in case you were wondering - as long as it is a warm day, trail shoes actually work pretty well with snow shoes!

Have you been snowshoeing? Thumbs up or thumbs down?


Marlene said...

Never been!

Going down sounds like it would have scared the bejesus out of me. Sounds like quite the adventure & workout!

Anonymous said...

I have a set of snowshoes that I've never used. This sounds like fun.

The ski co-op sounds like a dream to me! No snowboarding? Really?


Rebecca said...

This was the first year in 3 years that I didn't go snowshoeing. I go to Gatineau Park regularly and went to Mt. Tremblant park (different from the ski hill) last year. It is a really good workout. I do prefer going up hill compared to a flat trail. I get too bored :)

I would prefer skiing though!!

Leigh said...

I have never been snow shoeing, but it looks kind of fun! I've been cross country skiing once and that was a lot of work!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I haven't had a chance to go snowshoeing yet but I'd really like to! A group that puts on trail races here also puts on a snowshoeing race every year but I haven't been able to participate yet. Maybe next year!

lungesandlunch said...

This looks absolutely beautiful! Where we went was much smaller and not as snowy as we've had uncharacteristically warm weather here in Ontario!

healthy ashley said...

I've never been but that looks so fun!!! You're making me miss the north a little :)

Nicole @ Haute Runner said...

I have only been once- while 7 months pregnant and I loved it! Can't wait to do it again!! Maybe we will get out before this winter is over. Looks like the conditions were way better for you than they were for us- there was barely any snow on the ground. We really didn't need the snowshoes but it was fun!

Anonymous said...

FUN! I've never been snowshoeing before but there are some good spots (so I've heard) to do that around here. I would be up for it for sure. Also, I would love to do cross country skiing. I've never done that either. I downhill skied once and I hated it. I think xc is more my style.

Glad you had fun. I'm sure the beer was delicious! and well earned.