Why Snowshoeing is Good For The Soul

The best things about going for a snowshoe is the exercise, the fresh air, clearing your mind and experiencing the beauty of the snowy landscape.

Winter! The snow, the cold, the winter wonderland vibe. I love it. Winter is hands down my favourite season.  Not many people would agree with this, but that’s o.k.  I like to think that as a resident of a North Shore community in Superior Country that I embrace the landscape and lifestyle. To me this means enjoying our four seasons, but most of all our longest and harshest season of winter! I love waking up and looking outside after the first snowfall.  The white blanket of snow outside makes me feel excited because I know that I will be outdoors doing activities that I love to do.

One of my favourite winter activities is snowshoeing. I find it good for the soul. I only started four years ago.  I am by no means an expert. But I fell in love with it for so many reasons. I believe that snowshoeing is an outdoor activity that most people can do solo or with family or friends. The best things about going for a snowshoe is the exercise, the fresh air, clearing your mind and experiencing the beauty of the snowy landscape. I think winter is beautiful.

Snowshoeing is something that I do on my own when I need some time to just be alone.  It is peaceful being outdoors in the winter. This is the connection with the outdoors that a soul needs. I either put my headphones on and listen to music as I go, or sometimes I just enjoy the sounds of nature and take in the peace and quiet. Either way I am outside getting fresh air exercise and looking after my mental health. It makes me feel free and relaxed.

I also love to snowshoe with my husband and son.  It is something that all three of us like to do together for quality family time. We will walk into the bush and explore. Often, we are breaking trail into deep powder.  This isn’t always easy. You can work up quit the sweat using all your leg muscles. It is important to dress in layers so you can take off a heavy jacket or sweater to cool off. Once we have a trail broken in, we will go back to that spot a week later and use it again. After a new snowfall we will go exploring and find another trail to tryout and explore.  We also enjoying snowshoeing into lakes and on the frozen lakes. It gives us chance to check if the ice is safe and then the following day we may go back to icefish and do some more snowshoeing. If we skidoo into any lake I always bring my snowshoes in the sleigh. I never leave home without them in the truck, snowmobile or sleigh.

My son and I like to use poles when going in deep snow. It keeps our arms moving and helps to balance. My husband doesn’t like the poles, so he carries our bag.  We always bring a backpack with extra dry mitts and socks, water, snacks, a knife and a lighter. When we are tired and find a good spot to take a break, we have a small campfire. I also pack the necessary items to make smores. We can’t forget the most important snack.  After our break we either continue or head back on our freshy broken in trail.  We enjoy this time together because of all the things we see and experience during our snowshoe.  It’s the little things! 

We see so many animal tracks, which excites my son.  He loves to look for lynx, moose and rabbit tracks. Because we snowshoe often, he is getting better at identifying different tracks and recognizing game trails. He is learning skills such as being able to gather materials to make a fire, build it and how to put it out properly. Snowshoeing allows us to be outside together with no noise, no video games, no T.V., just us. We talk, we laugh, we exercise.  It has become a winter outdoor activity that we regularly do together. We watch the weather closely and pick days that are not too windy or cold. Let’s face it, although I do love winter, no one wants to go out in a blizzard. Pick temperatures that are comfortable for you and your family, it is always a plus to have days with sunshine or a beautiful light snowfall. It is an opportunity to take some fantastic photos. We have some memorable photos in temperatures of -40, trust me we always look back and laugh at the frosty hair, eye lashes and rosy cheeks.

Another plus about snowshoes is that is not a super expensive sport. You can purchase or rent snowshoes. Snowshoes range in price from $50 on sale to $250. They come in different sizes for children and adults. You will need to know height and weight if purchasing snowshoes. There are different types of snowshoes available and recommended for weather and trail conditions. You may want to consider the type of snowshoeing you will be doing or interested in trying. You will need to think about what level of snowshoeing you are at before you purchase a pair. It never hurts to do a bit of research on what is available to purchase.  You may be a beginner, intermediate, or expert. There are many different types of materials used for snowshoes as well. Traditional wood and modern snowshoes made of metal, plastics and synthetics. Practise taking them on and off before going out so that you are familiar with them.

One piece of advice I have is to spend a little more to get a good quality pair if you can.  You get what you pay for! I learned from this the hard way. I made the mistake of purchasing 3 cheap pairs that were on sale.  The straps were plastic and I discovered that in the frigid temperatures of -25 to -35 the straps would freeze and often be very difficult to tighten and take off. It was frustrating. The following year I ended up doing some research online and shopped around. I bought three new pairs for Christmas and these ones were wonderful.

Although my husband loves his new metal frame pair, he often goes back to his wooden snowshoes. He swears by them in the deep powder. And for a moose hunter they are quiet for walking in the bush compared to the metal frame snowshoes. Apparently metal ones can be heard a mile away by moose, especially crunching on an already hard packed trail.  Once you have a pair, purchased or rented, the snowshoeing itself is free if you decide to go explore in the bush or around your community, or on local trails.  If you choose to go to a ski and/or snowshoe club the pricing is usually relatively affordable. The plus side of using these trails is that they are well groomed and have mapped routes. Whatever your preference is there are options for everyone.

Snowshoeing can be a winter activity for you and your loved ones. I highly recommend trying it. If you don’t like it at least you have some laughs and a story. If you do like it then you have endless opportunities to make memories in the beautiful outdoors of winter in Superior Country. Being outdoors is always good for the soul.

About Shalane Sarrasin

Shalane is a staff writer at Superior Country. She has spent most of her life in Nipigon. She loves to acrylic paint trees and landscapes. Shalane loves boating, hiking, fishing and camping. Her favourite season is winter and enjoys the beauty of being outside in the snowy landscape cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice fishing with her husband and son.

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