Snowshoeing

Winter recreation

The resurgence of interest in snowshoeing in the late 20th century was in some part due to snowboarders, who took to them as a way to reach backcountry powder bowls and other areas while they were still banned from most ski areas. Their similarities to snowboards, in shape and binding, led many of them to continue use even after snowboarders were allowed to use most ski slopes. Despite most ski areas now allowing snowboarders, there is a growing interest in backcountry and sidecountry snowboarding in the search for fresh powder. The recent development of splitboards has enabled snowboarders to access backcountry without the need for snowshoes.

Downhill skiers, too, found snowshoes useful in reaching the same areas.

Another popular expedition, particularly among hikers, is the “ski-shoe” trip combining a cross-country ski portion on a level, widetrail with a snowshoe up a less skiable section, usually to a mountain summit.

Competition

Runners have found that using light snowshoes allows them to continue exercising and racing during winter. Like their warm-weather counterparts, events cover all distances, from sprints of 100 m to the 100 km “Iditashoe.” There are even hurdle events.

Snowshoe segments have become common in many multi-sport events and adventure races, including a required snowshoe segment in the winter quadrathlon. Some competitors in those events like Sally Edwards and Tom Sobal have emerged as stars.

While snowshoe racing has probably been around as long as there have been snowshoes, as an organized sport it is relatively new. The United States Snowshoe Association was founded in 1977 to serve as a governing body for competitive snowshoeing. It is headquartered in CorinthNew York, which considers itself the “Snowshoe Capital of the World” as a result. Similar organizations, such as the European Snowshoe Committee and Japan‘s Chikyu Network, exist in other countries and there is an international competitive level as well.

Snowshoe races are part of the Arctic Winter Games and the winter Special Olympics. However, they are not yet an Olympic event.

Reference: Wikipedia Snowshoeing