Sure, enjoying the splendors of the great outdoors is therapeutic for the body and soul. But if you are ill equipped or unprepared, doing so can be less than relaxing, if not downright terrifying. The first step to ensure preparedness is to educate yourself on the sport and terrain you are about to embark on. One valuable resource for snowshoers is outdoor expert Alan Apt’s latest book Snowshoe Routes: Colorado’s Front Range 2nd Edition.
Apt’s second snowshoe book, published by the Colorado Mountain Club Press (CMC), was released last fall. The first edition of the same title, a best seller released in 2001, was well reviewed by outdoor enthusiasts. Apt, a former Fort Collins, City Council member, and contributing columnist for the Fort Collins Coloradoan considers himself kin with Colorado recreation. But his inspiration for snowshoeing, and writing about snowshoeing came from a near and dear family connection.
“I’ve always been into hiking but in general I love most outdoor activities,” Apt said. “One of my daughters inspired me to try snowshoeing, and it became another great way to enjoy winter.”
The motivation for Apt’s second edition included CMC’s stellar layout and design team and the desire for updated trails, Apt said from his home near Nederland, Colo. “The first edition wasn’t in color, so the maps and pictures in this edition are far superior,” he said. “The Colorado Mountain Club Press did a great job. I also added many more trails close to Front Range cities; so less driving is necessary.”
The second edition is a complete guide to snowshoeing at all levels. The book outlines the many different aspects of the sport from where to go, how to be prepared and how to get the most out of your outdoor experience. The guidebook includes suggested snowshoe routes with detailed, full color topographic maps provided by the National Geographic and photos of each trail or location. It also includes guides on nutrition, from what to eat before trekking and what to bring along for provisions. There are also sections describing equipment and how it differs based on the shoers desired work level and terrain. There is also a comprehensive section on avalanche awareness training. Something that Apt, a Ski Patrol volunteer feels is essential to any mountaineering expedition.
“Safety is something you have to learn and teach in back country search and rescue,” Apt said.
Apt offers tips for extreme mountaineering however 80 percent of the routes in Apt’s book are safe and enjoyable for any level of snowshoer. That’s because the sport, in general, is easier to pick up and easier control. “There’s no huge learning curve with snowshoeing,” Apt said. “You can be safe, happy and have fun the first time you go out.”
The other major component to being prepared is gearing up. When it comes to snowshoeing in the unpredictable Colorado Mountains or any other snowshoeing Mecca, you should be prepared to adjust to any situation.
“My friend calls me the ‘Master of Infinite Adjustment’,” Apt said. “Be prepared with layers and have a day pack with a clothing change.”
As the snow continues to melt at the lower elevations there are still many higher elevation spots to enjoy throughout the year, Apt said. Being prepared all year is just as essential to picking out the right route. Apt’s guidebook will help you do just that.
“Enjoy yourself, don’t be too goal oriented,” Apt suggested. “You can enjoy the snow through June. Always take a day pack and be prepared for any kind of weather and trail conditions. Don’t be afraid to eat chocolate while snowshoeing; you will be burning lots of calories.”
Snowshoe Routes is available at most REI’s, the Sierra Club and book sellers including Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. For more information about the book and other outdoor guides visit www.cmc.org.