For families who love the snow and outdoor winter fun, a low investment, easy-to-do sport is to snowshoe.What I like about snowshoeing is that you can do it just about anywhere, as long as there is sufficient snow on the ground.
We’ve trekked both at ski areas (many have cross country or snowshoe trails at varying levels of difficulty), at golf courses, and on the horse riding trails in our backyard.
Snowshoes are light and easy to carry. When we bought ours, we also purchased the sturdy snowshoe bags. They are worth it! Poles are retractable and easily fold to fit into the bag as well. So everything is in one place.
Snowshoeing also provides a great workout for any age participant. First, the weight of the snowshoes along with the weight of your winter boot makes you work harder to move. It’s like wearing weights on your feet and ankles as you hike. Also, contrary to popular myth snowshoes don’t prevent you from sinking; they just minimize how far down you go. That depth depends on a number of different factors: the size of the snowshoe, your weight, the type of snow, and the terrain you are walking on.
What I like about occassionally going on “official” snowshoe trails is that you can get a good challenge. For example, an intermediate or expert trail may have you maneuvering your way up or down steeper inclines or narrower paths. You can challenge yourself by finding terrain that offers opportunities to test your abilities for free. For example, many public golf courses have hills that will cause a burn in your quads as you make your way up, or will force you to test your patience on the way down.
If you decide to outfit your family, the investment is reasonable but make sure you get decent equipment. We also keep our gloves, hats, and other ski gear – which is also ideal for snowshoeing – together and near the door so we’re ready to go when that snow falls.
For an inexpensive family activity that is fun, gives you a great workout, and let’s you enjoy the outdoors in the middle of winter, try snowshoeing, the sport that gives year-to-year enjoyment at any age.