Snowshoe Utah!

Skiing has large resorts and great movies by Warren Miller. Snowboarding has crazy tricks and rock stars like the "Flying Tomato," Shaun White. Even bobsledding, cross-country skiing, and curling – yes curling – have the winter Olympics. But what about snowshoeing? Nothing. No stars and no visibility. Snowshoeing is a forgotten winter sport, yet it is one of the most enjoyable.

Simply put, snowshoeing is winter hiking with special shoes that prevent you from sinking too deep into the snow. It is believed that snowshoeing has its roots in Central Asia over 4,000 years ago, when it was used as a means of getting around in the snow. Today, snowshoeing is a recreational sport enjoyed by many, especially in the western United States.

Mention the word SNOWSHOE, and most people think of the large, tennis racket-like snowshoes made of bent wood and leather lacings. Snowshoes today are high tech. They are made of lightweight, durable materials, such as aluminum, plastic, neoprene, and polypropylene. Some snowshoes even include crampons – small teeth on the bottom of the snowshoe that give better traction on packed trails.

Snowshoeing requires little skill but does take some getting used to. Those that have never used snowshoes would be wise to practice in a local park or school playground before hitting the trail. The flat terrain is great for learning basic techniques, including turning. Luckily, learning to snowshoe takes less time than learning to ski or snowboard. Also, mistakes while snowshoeing are less painful than those made while skiing or snowboarding.

The beauty of snowshoeing is that it can be done at your own leisurely pace. Like hikers, showshoers can stop to watch wildlife, take photos, or enjoy some hot chocolate. There are no lines for lifts, no boundaries, and no rude individuals trying to run you off the mountain – just freedom and enjoyment.

The Wasatch Front is home to dozens of hiking trails that make great snowshoeing trails when the snow flies. In many ways,
snowshoeing gives new life to familiar trails. There are sights, sounds, and smells that are only experienced in the winter. Only those who have snowshoed a trail they hiked in warmer weather can fully understand the experience.

Interestingly, local ski resorts, including Alta and Snowbird, have dedicated snowshoeing trails. Sundance Ski Resort in Provo Canyon has over 10 km of trails that offer stunning views of the backside of Mt. Timpanogos. Soldier Hollow Cross-Country Ski Resort in Midway is one of the most frequented locations for snowshoeing. Visit the Web sites for these resorts for more information about the trails and guided snowshoe tours that some of them offer.

Snowshoes can be rented for $8 per day from the Outdoor Adventure Center. A discount is available if the snowshoes are needed for multiple days. The Outdoor Adventure Center is hosting a full moon snowshoeing trip on the night of March 21. The $10 fee includes snowshoe rental.

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