After one winter here, I discovered I needed something distinctly different – and much, much larger – to handle the snow conditions in the Western Arctic two degrees into the Arctic Circle if I wanted to do more than just follow snowmobile trails.
I turned to GV Snowshoes for assistance, and they quickly pointed to their Wide Tail model, and that was a serendipitous moment.
I haven’t been able to use the Wide Trails as much as I would like due to the lingering effects of the H1N1 flu and a nagging bout of plantar fasciitis, but when I’ve used them, they’ve been a Godsend.
The best example of just what a difference they make could be seen a few weeks ago, when my wife and I took a friend out snowshoeing for the first time.
We tackled a territorial park and campground that of course is closed for the season. The laneway leading in to the park had been broken to a welcome degree, and provided some easy walking.
On the way back, though, we cut through an interpretive walking trail that looked as if it hadn’t seen a human foot since October when the snow started falling.
Let me tell you, that stuff was deep and powdery due to the lack of humidity here on the fringes of the polar desert. It’s the kind of snow that you can roll – or flounder – around in for minutes or hours without ever getting wet.
As the proud possessor of the Wide Trails, it fell upon me to break the trail for the outing. That’s not to say, though, that we didn’t try to switch it up a little. I didn’t want to ruin my friend’s first time on snowshoes by introducing her to trail-breaking in those conditions, but my wife gave it a try and promptly threatened to sink out of sight.
There simply was no comparison between what she was wearing and the floatation of the Wide Trails. I could wade through snow that left them floundering, and even the trail I left wasn’t quite enough to keep either of them totally afloat.
As my wife told our friend Mary, it was a classic example of what different styles of snowshoes can achieve.
It was about a mile back to the car, and I broke the trail 95 per cent of the way.
That was a bit tiring, but I was thankful I wasn’t in their shoes – literally.
I’ve had similar success with the Wide Trails on other outings, and they’ve allowed me to expand my travels nicely, to the limits of what my stubbornly ailing foot will allow.
The only complaint I have about them is relatively minor. While the harness get’s a big thumb’s up from me, especially the ratcheting buckles, I did manage to break one of the vertical Achilles support straps on the heel on the very first outing with them.
That was at a temperature of only -15C, so conditions weren’t extreme. I’m hoping that was simply a one-time flaw in the material. I haven’t used the remaining strap since, and haven’t particularly missed it so far.
So if you really want to trying going where no one has ever gone before – at least in the winter – strap on a pair of the GV Wide Trails and go further.
For more information on GV Snowshoes, visit http://www.gvsnowshoes.com.