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A Guide to Snowshoeing

  Contrary to common belief, you don’t need to be able ski or snowboard to explore the snowy outdoors. What began thousands of years ago as a ... Read more
A Guide to Snowshoeing


Contrary to common belief, you don’t need to be able ski or snowboard to explore the snowy outdoors. What began thousands of years ago as a vital means of mobility for communities needing to travel and hunt in winter, has transformed into a versatile way to enjoy the beauty of the winter season. Snowshoes are footwear that are designed to distribute the weight of a person over a larger area, preventing them from sinking into deep snow. They consist of a frame with a webbing or decking material stretched across it, which provides a platform to walk on top of the snow.

Though the idea of navigating yourself through deep snow might initially appear daunting, it is a widely embraced belief in the snowshoeing community that if you can walk, you can snowshoe. This accessibility makes it an activity suitable for people of all fitness levels and experiences. Our guide to snowshoeing provides an insight into why you should swap your slippers for a pair of snowshoes this winter, and after getting up off the sofa, where to embark on your winter journey.


What is snowshoeing and why should I do it?

Snowshoeing is believed to have originated in Central Asia around 4000 years ago. The communities that inhabited this part of the world at the time needed a way to get about and hunt for food in the cold winter months. As a result, they created a shoe that was essentially a piece of leather attached to two wooden blocks that enabled them to glide across the snow more easily. Over time, due to significant technological progress, the snowshoe has undergone notable transformations. Today, snowshoes are typically crafted with an aluminum frame, fabric decking, and lightweight, robust bindings, all aimed at optimising the performance, durability, and weight of the shoe. Some snowshoes also feature stainless steel crampons or cleats for superior traction, making them versatile and dependable tools for winter adventures.

However, the question that really needs answering is what is the point of snowshoeing and why should I do it? Especially in a world where our meals are conveniently obtained with a quick visit to the supermarket, and the need to trek through deep snow in search of dinner has passed.

In short, snowshoeing provides the opportunity to explore winter wonderlands that otherwise would be inaccessible. Whether it’s backcountry, cross-country, hiking and trail, or just leisurely snowshoeing, this activity lets you “float” across the snow and discover off-the-beaten-path locations. Furthermore, like hiking, snowshoeing is an excellent low-impact physical activity that offers a substantial cardio workout and helps burn off the extra calories that may have been added over Christmas.

On top of this, unlike many winter sports, it requires minimal skill and equipment. People of all fitness levels and ages can enjoy snowshoeing, making it an inclusive outdoor activity. With the correct snowshoes and suitable winter attire, it is easy to explore snow-covered landscapes, providing a gateway to the winter wilderness for everyone.


What are the fundamental techniques required for snowshoeing?

As mentioned earlier, snowshoeing is an accessible activity for everyone and requires only a few basic techniques. However, like every sport, practice makes perfect.


Putting on your snowshoe

Putting on your snowshoe is easier than you would think – as long as you know your left from your right. Many models come equipped with pre-attached straps on the bindings. The left snowshoe features straps pointing to the left, while the right one boasts straps oriented to the right. To get started, place your foot, along with your boots, into the binding, and then secure the straps snugly, ensuring they are tight but still comfortable. Once properly fastened, you're all set to hit the snow.


Walking on flat terrain

Snowshoeing on level ground feels quite natural, with movements closely resembling regular walking, albeit with a few distinctions. To avoid stepping on the frames of your snowshoes, aim for a slightly longer stride compared to how you typically walk. It may feel slightly awkward at first, but you’ll get used to it in no time.


Snowshoeing uphill

When snowshoeing uphill, use a toe-first stepping technique to help prevent sliding backward. Dig the front of your snowshoes into the snow, creating a secure platform, and take smaller, deliberate steps. Leaning slightly forward can help maintain balance and prevent fatigue. Utilise the heel crampons or cleats for added grip and traction as you ascend steeper slopes, and consider using trekking poles for stability.


Going Downhill

When snowshoeing downhill, it's crucial to maintain balance and control. Bend your knees, lean back slightly, and take shorter steps to prevent falling forward. Keep your weight centred and use your heels and the crampons or cleats on the snowshoes to dig into the snow for stability.


How to get back up if you fall

While falling whilst snowshoeing is not very common, it does happen, especially within the first few hours. However, there's no need to panic. Thanks to the soft, powdery nature of the snow, injuries are unlikely, but the process of getting back up can be somewhat strenuous. To simplify this, aim to fall toward the uphill side of the hill whenever feasible. To regain your footing, begin by releasing your hands from the pole straps (if you're using them) and shifting your position so that your head is uphill, your feet downhill, and you face the slope with your knees drawn close to your chest. From here, the objective is to push against the slope until you're kneeling upright. From there, transfer your weight onto your snowshoes to stand up fully.


Where will your snowshoes take you this winter?

So now we’ve established what snowshoeing is and how to do it, it is time to get to the exciting bit; where are the best places to go snowshoeing this winter?



At KE, we provide snowshoeing adventures across a variety of different countries and locations around the world. A popular destination, and one that provides snowshoers with some of the most spectacular landscapes and terrain in the world is in the French Alps.

  • Queyras Snowshoe Winter Paradise - the Queyras Regional Natural Park is considered to be one of the most beautiful in France. Snowshoe in quiet and wild mountain valleys with impressive rock faces and jagged ridgelines are all there just waiting to be explored.
  • Mont Blanc Snowshoe Week - Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe, presents a majestic backdrop for snowshoeing adventures. The surrounding Chamonix Valley and its extensive network of snowshoe trails provide awe-inspiring views of snow-capped peaks and glaciers.
  • Snowshoe Summits of Haute Savoie - stay in the idyllic mountain village of Samoëns and conquer up to five summits in one week including Pointe Ratti and Le Parteset with outstanding views of the Mont Blanc massif.
  • High Level Pyrenees Snowshow Holiday - snowshoe expedition in the Aigues Tortes National Park, a veritable wonderland of steep cols and frozen lakes, surrounded by jagged white peaks. Optional snowshoe ascents of Pic Montardo (2,833m) and Tuc des Monges (2,699m)
  • Snowshoe Traverse of the Chablais - a special journey through the mountains of the Haute Savoie between the French village of Megevette in the valley of the Arve in the west, to the shores of Lake Geneva in the east. Expect wuiet hidden valleys, pristine snow conditions and epic views of the Mont Blanc range. 



  • Snowshoeing in the Dolomites - the Italian Dolomites are famous for their towering rock formations and jagged spires, possibly the most well known (and arguably the most impressive) are the three towers of the Tre Cime and the Tofana di Rozes. You can enjoy the very best views of these thorughout your week and snowshoe in the shadow of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo


  • Bulgarian Snowshoe Adventure - with its jaw-dropping alpine scenery, dramatic mountains, tasty cuisine, undiscovered trails and larger-than-life welcome, Bulgaria is a unique destination for a snow-shoeing adventure in the heart of the Balkans. You can savour a snowy journey through the enchanting region of the Seven Lakes, explore the slopes of Mount Maliovitsa and discover the beauty of Vitosha Natural Park.



  • Finland Wilderness Snowshoe Adventure - with its serene boreal forest, frozen lakes, traditional saunas and cosy, snow-blanketed cabins, the Hossa National Park in Finland is the perfect place for an introductory snowshoe adventure. Immerse yourself in the enchanting beauty of Finnish Lapland and you might even witness the captivating Northern Lights, making it a winter adventure like no other.


Do I need any specific equipment for a snowshoeing holiday?

During a snowshoeing holiday you will be using lots of different equipment, however, with KE, all of the technical bits are provided for you. The type of equipment that will be provided for you includes:

  • Snowshoes: The primary equipment for snowshoeing, which allows you to walk on top of snow and distribute your weight.
  • Poles: Snowshoeing poles, similar to trekking poles, offer balance and stability, helping you navigate varied terrains.
  • Safety Gear: Depending on the terrain and location, you may need safety gear such as avalanche beacons, shovels, and probes in avalanche-prone areas.
  • Along with this, you should bring with you all other necessary items of clothing to keep you warm, dry, and protected.


What should I wear when snowshoeing?

Before you strap on your shoes and get crunching through the snow, make sure you have brought the correct things with you to ensure you have the best – and warmest – time you can.

  • Boots: Make sure you bring Insulated and waterproof boots that are comfortable and provide warmth during cold conditions.
  • Warm Clothing: Layered clothing to stay warm and dry, including moisture-wicking base layers, insulated outer layers, waterproof jackets and pants, and warm accessories like gloves, hats, and neck scarves.
  • Socks: High-quality, moisture-wicking socks are crucial to keeping your feet comfortable and warm – there’s nothing worse than getting cold feet when you’re out in the snow.
  • Sunglasses and Suncream: Snow can be highly reflective, so eye protection and suncream are essential to shield yourself from the sun's glare and UV rays. No one wants to forget their suncream and go back to work looking like a panda after a week on the snow.
  • Backpack: A small backpack to carry essentials like water, snacks, extra clothing, and any other personal items.

Remember that the specific gear and equipment you need may vary based on the terrain, climate, and the duration of your snowshoeing excursion. It's essential to be well-prepared and to tailor your gear to the conditions you'll encounter. More information on the specific gear you need will be provided prior to your trip.

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