The Benefits of Poles When Snowshoeing
By Chris Gorski
Although poles are by no means necessary for snowshoeing they certainly do have their advantages. Poles help with balance and rhythm as well as helping with power in deep snow. So if you are considering taking up snowshoeing in any sort of serious manner, poles might be a very good investment.
Snowshoe poles are different from alpine or cross country ski poles in a number of ways. Therefore, we do not recommend using them in instead of snowshoe specific poles. Snowshoe poles typical have large baskets. This is because they are often used in deep snow, and the extra basket size helps to prevent the pole from being pushed all completely through the snowpack. Most snow shoe poles are also adjustable. This is because if you are snowshoeing uphill, you want your poles to be shorter than if you are snowshoeing downhill. Having adjustable poles with allow you to have the perfect sized pole no matter what terrain you are taking on. For these reasons, snowshoe specific poles offer a much better snowshoeing experience than their alpine or cross-country pole counterparts.
If you plan on snowshoeing on relatively level terrain, your snowshoe poles should be adjusted so your arms are at a right angle. To adjust them correctly, flip your poles upside down and grab right under the basket. Then adjust the pole length so your arm is at a right angle to your body. After your poles are properly adjusted, it is important that you use the straps properly. To use the straps properly, put your hand up through the straps from the bottom. This allows you to rest your hands on the straps if they need a break. This grip also you to have the firmest hold on your poles.
Once you head out, practice stepping with one foot and planting with the opposite hand. This will help you get used to the rhythm. Once you are used to the rhythm, you will find that poles help greatly with stamina and power. So if you plan on taking up snowshoeing, pick up a pair of poles. We promised they will only help you love the sport even more!