There’s no doubt that one of the biggest improvements in snowshoe design recently are the bindings. I started snowshoeing about 10 years ago, and the only thing I disliked about the sport was putting on the equipment on my feet — and making sure everything stayed put.
The Yukon Charlie’s 825 Pro II Series women’s snowshoes have a Fast Fit binding that makes shoe entry easy, even with gloves on. The bindings are easily adjusted, too, and come off simply by pulling the strap out to the side.
When I first tried the shoes, it did take me a little bit to realize the importance of positioning my heels on the center of the rear heal plate. If my boots were too far forward, the toe side would stick on the front lip of the snowshoes with every step.
Once my heels were in the right place, I loved how the bindings held my boots in place as I made my ascent through an unbroken snow up Meadow Mountain outside of Minturn, Colo.
One of my favorite features on the snowshoes, especially on steep grades, are the heel lifts, which keeps the heels up to help calf muscles from straining on uphill climbs.
On this rigorous mountain walk, I really noticed and liked the light weight of the Pro II snowshoes (just around four pounds for the pair), and the V-shape tail made for a natural stride with every step.
This several-hour session was made more sustainable with the use of the Yukon Charlie’s Aluminum Trekking Poles. I hadn’t tailored the length of the poles to me until I was at the trailhead, and I found the Fast Lock system both intuitive and fast to adjust.
The three-piece poles are light and easy to compress and pack into a bag (like the convenient carry bag that comes with the snowshoes). The soft rubber handle was easy to grip with gloves and bare hands.
The snow baskets on the end of the poles were great for keeping the ends of the poles pressing firmly into the top of the snow. I did lose one of my snow baskets on the hike up (I didn’t check to see how tight it was on the pole), but then found it on my descent and screwed it back on tightly to the base of the pole.
For an even lighter experience in your hands, try Yukon Charlie’s Carbon Lite Trekking & Snowshoe Poles. They are 100 percent carbon fiber, strong, and have an easy locking systems for fast adjustments. The feather-like weight of the poles makes them easy to transport in your pack, or even carry in your hands when your snowshoe walk turns into a run.
For more information on Yukon Charlie’s, visit http://yukoncharlies.com.