With so many snowshoe designs out there, selecting a pair to purchase for yourself or as a gift for someone can seem like a daunting task. To help, we reached out to experts at local outfitters for some tips. Here’s what they had to say.
First, ask yourself this question
When a customer walks through the door looking for snowshoes at Epic Sports in Bangor, the store’s owner, Brad Ryder, usually asks them this initial question: “What kind of snowshoeing do you want to do?”
“Are you going out in the backyard or maybe in the [Bangor] City Forest, which has nice, gradual, easy trails?” Ryder said. “Or are you looking to be a little more adventurous and hike some more rugged terrain?”
Different snowshoes are designed for different types of activities. There are recreational snowshoes that are designed for easy trails. There are mountaineering snowshoes, designed for navigating steep slopes and gripping ice. There are even snowshoes designed for running. Each design has different features.
Cost varies greatly
What’s your budget? Snowshoes vary greatly in price.
Simple snowshoes are available for $60 online and through big box stores. On the other end of the spectrum, high-tech mountaineering snowshoes can cost more than $300. Some of the most popular snowshoes sold at Maine outfitters land somewhere in the middle, costing between $130-$180.
Price is usually related to quality, Ryder said. But it’s also related to the type of snowshoe. Mountaineering snowshoes are usually the most expensive designs because they have so many special features and are often made of more durable materials. Yet for many people, mountaineering snowshoes are overkill. Which leads you back to the first question: “What kind of snowshoeing do you want to do?”
Traditional vs. modern
Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.
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