Snowshoe Safety 101
By Chris Gorski
Snowshoeing truly is a wonderful sport. But like any other sport, if you are not careful you may encounter some dangers. Here are some basic rules of thumb to keep you safe while snowshoeing.
• Try not to snowshoe alone – Were not saying that we never do it, but especially if you plan on going off the beaten trail, having a companion makes everything safer.
• Dress in layers – Proper dress for snowshoeing is very important. Not only will you be more comfortable, but you will be protected against things like frostbite and hypothermia. So be sure to dress appropriately.
• Stay away from untested or thin ice – Snowshoeing on frozen lakes is a lot of fun. But be sure to test the ice and stay away from any sections that look thin.
• Keep a map or know your trail – Getting lost is a very scary thing, especially when snowshoeing. Be sure to keep a map or GPS if you are snowshoeing in unfamiliar territory. Weather can change quickly in some areas, so be prepared to know a way out.
• Stay hydrated – This rule is probably the least obeyed. Most people don’t realize how many fluids they lose through snowshoeing. If you plan on making a day out of it, be sure to bring plenty of water. This will give you more energy and keep your temperature better regulated.
• Watch where you tread – Always be mindful of where you are stepping. Snow can bury a number of hazardous objects such as stumps, boulders, and other sharp objects.
• Know your snow – If you are snowshoeing in the backcountry, always be mindful of avalanches. Be sure to get the avalanche report, and if you plan on hitting the backcountry, consider purchasing an avalanche beacon.
• Keep it light – Do not snowshoe at night. If you are in an urban environment, it greatly increases the chance of problems with cars, and if you are in the backcountry, it makes everything difficult to see. Snowshoeing is a day sport, keep it that way.