We’ve Got The Snowshoes!
When one floats over the soft powder wearing snowshoes, in some snowy glade, it is easy to go back to the time of the ancient hunters, who relied on these devices in order to navigate the North Woods in wintertime.
The snowshoes at Bluefin Bay and Surfside (complimentary to guests) are a little different from the traditional models made from wood and hide. The lightweight aluminum frames make for easy navigation on the powder, while the metal teeth on the bottom allow for traction on icy surfaces. Many of them come with a single pull strap in order to hold the foot in place. For others, the adjustable straps fit into place easily enough. Several kids’ snowshoes are available also.
Snowshoeing is a popular sport in part because there are very few skills needed to get started, setting a low bar for beginners. Walking in snowshoes is basically like walking – except it’s a little different.
Most people want to take at least one pole with them on any snowshoe expedition, though some prefer to have two for the added stability and propulsion. Yellow-handled snowshoe poles are available in the Activities room downstairs below Bluefin Guest Services. Cross country ski poles are available also, however, these are lighter weight and could bend on a snowshoe expedition.
These snowshoes are also come for right and left feet, so when you get outfitted, you should make sure that you have a pair. All the adult snowshoes are marked. Here’s another helpful hint: the snowshoe bindings always go on the outside of the foot.
What kind of footwear goes with snowshoes? The adjustable bindings are pretty versatile and fit with just about anything. That said, boots are much better than sneakers – to prevent frozen toes amongst other things.
The lake shore is a beautiful place to hike, but the snow still isn’t deep enough for snowshoes. Only the hill-country above the lake has enough powder to float above the roots and rocks. River hikes like Temperance, Caribou and Cascade are great candidates for Bluefin Bay’s Ice Trekkers, which will grip the icy trails. The deeper powder around Oberg Mountain, Leveaux Mountain and Carlton Peak makes snowshoeing an option at these locations, although the trails are packed down enough by other hikers so that the snowshoes aren’t required.
If you are just getting used to snowshoeing, the packed trails offer a great place to practice. More adventurous folks can wander through the trees off-trail or explore the safe sections of frozen rivers.
Keep in mind that it takes longer to walk in snowshoes and a bit more effort than it takes to walk in hiking boots during the warmer months. The snow is shallow enough now to allow beginners to travel easily enough. If some really deep powder comes down, then walking becomes a serious workout snowshoes or no.
– Tom Fagin, Activities