For centuries, outdoor enthusiasts have creatively devised excuses to be outside in Mother Nature’s harshest season. From simple ice fishing excursions
to adrenaline-filled toboggan runs and even to the modern snowmobile
, there has always been a drive to brave the cold and enjoy the snowy landscapes of New Hampshire. And snowshoeing is no exception.
The feel of soft snow packing underfoot, miles of forested snowscapes in every direction, and an innate sense of calm are just a few of the many benefits snowshoeing can offer. But if that’s not enough to lure you into a pair, here are 5 reasons to give the sport a try this winter.
#1: It’s a budget-friendly activity that anyone can do.
If you can walk, you can snowshoe. It’s really just about mastering the nuances of walking with a pair of large, clunky shoes strapped to your feet. But those large, clunky shoes allow you to maneuver gracefully through challenging wintry landscapes, up rolling hills draped in snow and along icy paths with ease. But if you’re new to the sport, be sure to check out REI’s Beginner’s Guide to Snowshoeing
for great tips on honing your skills.
As far as equipment—the most you’ll need is the snowshoes themselves and an optional pair of extendable poles. And the cherry on top is that you can rent snowshoes
from outfitters, inns, and trail networks all across the state with groomed tracks right on site. So all you really need to bring is a warm winter coat, a pair of comfortable winter boots, and some good snowpants!
#2: There are tons of unique snowshoe tours and experiences all across the state.
Here in New Hampshire, we like to keep things interesting. And that means coming up with new and exciting ways to enjoy a timeless classic like snowshoeing.
Be sure to keep in mind some basic snowshoeing etiquette when you’re exploring groomed trails via snowshoes. If the trails are shared with cross country skiiers, best practice is to snowshoe along the sides of the track as skiiers have right-of-way. Snowshoe prints can also damage groomed trails for cross country skiing, so it’s important to mind where you step and be respectful of the paths you’re on. Many cross country ski trails are groomed by local organizations with limited resources, but these common courtesies can help extend trail accessibility for all during the season.
#3: It’s a great way to stay in shape during those sluggish winter months.
The American Council on Exercise
claims that an adult weighing 160 pounds can burn approximately 580 calories per hour of snowshoeing! That’s 341 more calories burned than if that same person spent an hour walking at a moderate pace. Plus, snowshoeing is a low-impact, aerobic sport which means you can get your heart pumping without worrying about damaging impacts to your joints. Being out on the trails might even expose you to some rare winter sunshine that can boost serotonin levels and provide the much-needed Vitamin D that many of us New Englanders lack in the winter.
#4: Connect with friends and nature in the great outdoors.
The great thing about snowshoeing is that no experience is required, so you can spend quality time with friends or family doing something that’s approachable for all skill-levels. Plus, our state parks are perfect playgrounds for snowshoers, and the Division of Parks and Recreation has even curated a list of the Best State Parks to Snowshoe In.
Or if you’re looking to hit the trails solo to have some one-on-one time with Mother Nature; snowshoeing is a great way to do just that. You can wander trails all over the state and clear your mind in the company of serene forests and beautiful winter vistas. Looking to create your own adventure? Follow the expertise of locals and check out AllTrails’ list of the Best Snowshoeing Trails in New Hampshire
#5: The views.
And last but certainly not least… the incredible views are reason enough to gear up and explore via snowshoe. New Hampshire’s forests are simply stunning in the winter! With bold evergreen firs huddled in fluffy white snow and soft blue skies above, our snowy landscapes never fail to inspire wonder. When you’re out on the trails, you’ll find the forests have a way of stealing your troubles and making the noise of everyday life a little quieter.
So consider this your open invitation to hit the trails and discover New Hampshire by snowshoe! Who knows; you just may find a new passion in the process.