Photo by m.prinke

If you’re looking for something different and a bit quirky to adopt as this winter’s outdoor activity, consider taking up snowshoeing.

Mellower than sledding and less painful than snowball fighting, snowshoeing may be the perfect way for you to get outside and enjoy the crisp air of the winter months. You won’t have to deal with lift-lines and screaming tourist children.

Here are 7 more reasons to try out snowshoeing this winter:

1. See your favorite nature spot in all its wintry glory.

There’s nothing like rediscovering your favorite hike from a winter perspective. Everything is calm and quietly blanketed in snow, and snowshoes enable you to hike off-trail and into densely-wooded terrain you wouldn’t reach otherwise. Be prepared to feel slightly God-like.

Photo by a4gpa

2. It’s a great workout.

Feeling fatty after all that delicious holiday food? According to Calorie Counter, snowshoeing can burn up to 330 calories in 30 minutes. That’s all the calories in a Burger King Whopper Jr. or one sip of Grandma’s eggnog. Snowshoeing is also better on your body’s joints than walking or running, since the snow cushions the impact.

3. You’d have to be an idiot to get lost.

Just follow your tracks back to the car. Unless it snows over the trail. Then you’re just plain screwed. (Or you’ve properly prepared for a winter outing with map, compass (and / or GPS), extra food, clothing, and emergency shelter).

Photo by RL Johnson

4. Snowshoeing is exponentially cheaper than skiing or snowboarding.

With average lift ticket prices creeping past $79 (and don’t forget to add in equipment costs), you’ve got to have money just to get on the mountain. At around $20 for an all-day rental, you can’t beat snowshoeing for getting the most bang out of your buck.

5. If you can walk, you can snowshoe.

It might feel a bit funny at first, but just put one foot in front of the other and voilà! You’re snowshoeing, baby! Snowshoeing’s simplicity makes it an ideal family sport, as everyone from little Bobby to weird old Aunt Esther can probably manage.

6. Snowshoeing is gentle on the environment.

In the same way that snowshoeing is kinder on your joints, it’s also less detrimental to the environment. The snow buffers the earth against the impact of hikers and campers, cutting back on trail erosion and other effects of heavy use.

7. It just sounds cool!

“What did you do today, Mick?” “Oh, you know, I went snowshoeing.” Right on!

COMMUNITY CONNECTION

Ready to get out in the snow? Matador has several guides to winter sports, including and winter hiking.

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