Snowshoe Magazine https://www.snowshoemag.com The snowshoeing experience for snowshoers around the world: snowshoe racing, snowshoes, gear reviews, events, recreation, first-timers. Fri, 17 Jan 2020 00:02:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 28162661 Snowshoeing Trails & Events Near Chama, New Mexico https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/16/snowshoeing-trails-events-near-chama-new-mexico/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/16/snowshoeing-trails-events-near-chama-new-mexico/#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2020 21:07:35 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=95150 Taking advantage of a foot of powder, we snowshoed under a clear, blue sky in the small town of Chama, New Mexico. Our snowshoeing location of choice was Edward Sargent Wildlife Area, only a 5-minute drive north of Chama. We … Continue reading

The post Snowshoeing Trails & Events Near Chama, New Mexico appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
Taking advantage of a foot of powder, we snowshoed under a clear, blue sky in the small town of Chama, New Mexico. Our snowshoeing location of choice was Edward Sargent Wildlife Area, only a 5-minute drive north of Chama. We were practically alone aside from a few snowshoers far in the distance, and able to leisurely enjoy the mountains, streams, and forests surrounding us. Luckily, Edward Sargent Wildlife Area is not the only option for those wishing to snowshoe around Chama. Here, we focus on several trail options, as well as events for snowshoeing enthusiasts.

Chama, a small town of around 1,000 people, is a beautiful mountain town at 7870 feet (2399 m), located just 7 miles (11 km) from the Colorado-New Mexico border. In the summer, the city is home to the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. This grand adventure draws visitors from around the country who wish to explore the Rocky Mountains by train. In the winter, though, the railroad is closed, and the area becomes far less populated. The smaller crowd offers plenty of unexplored terrain for snowshoers wishing to get off the beaten path.

Read More: Snowshoe New Mexico: Where To Go In The Land Of Enchantment

Cumbres & Toltec, Chama, Susan by station in winter

Exploring the outskirts of Chama and the Cumbres and Toltec railroad in winter.

Snowshoeing Trails Near Chama, NM

Chama has several snowshoeing trails within and near the city to check out!

Edward Sargent Wildlife Area

One of the largest draws to Edward Sargent Wildlife Area, as the name suggests, is the opportunity to view the vast array of wildlife in the park. Elk, deer, porcupines, coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, snowshoe hares, beavers, turkeys, and a variety of other birds reside in the park. You never know what animal tracks you may find along your journey! With this in mind, though, certain areas of the park are restricted during hunting season. So, please review the park guidelines beforehand to make sure you’re prepared.

Read More: A New Found Passion: Wildlife Tracking & Identification

Elk Interpretative Trail, Chama, New Mexico

The Elk Interpretative Trail, just to the north of the parking area, is a short 1/3 of a mile (0.5 km) to a wildlife viewing area. Even though the trail is short, it’s wise to take snow conditions into account. We were the first to break trail in about a foot of fresh powder. So it took about 45 minutes or so round-trip. If no wildlife is out for the day, the viewing area offers a beautiful view of the park and surrounding area.

Alternatively, once in the parking area, you can snowshoe northwest onto state rd 29, which is unplowed. Following NM 29 for approx 1 mile (1.75 km) from the parking lot will provide you access to additional snowshoe trails in the park (like this loop), as well as views of the Rio Chamita and surrounding mountains.

Rio Grande National Forest

Located in southwest Colorado, Rio Grande National Forest offers several snowshoeing trails worth exploring if you’re staying near Chama.

One sure way to add some extra beauty to your outing (I mean you can never have too much), is to snowshoe along a river. If you are a waterway lover, the Chama River Trail follows the river to the confluence for a view of the Upper Chama Basin. This 4.9-mile (7.8 km) trail has relatively gentle terrain and is excellent for snowshoeing beginners.

The Red Lake Trail is a 5.2-mile (8.3 km) easy-moderate trail and only 24 miles (38.6 km) north of Chama. Snowshoe through the La Manga Creek Valley up to an alpine plateau to catch views of the Continental Divide.

Susan at Edward Sargent in Chama

The author is enjoying beautiful snowshoeing in Chama!

Chama Chile Ski Classic & Winter Fiesta

Each January, the Chama Chile Ski Classic brings avid snowshoers and skiers from around the area to celebrate winter athleticism in this multi-day event. Located about 12 miles (19 km) outside of Chama, the event will be Jan 18-19, 2020. Bring the family for a weekend getaway for some fun racing and recreational activities!

For interested racers, the weekend begins with an 18K freestyle and 6K snowshoe junior race. Notably, the junior competition is also a qualifier for the USSSA Nationals in Leadville, CO, in February. Then, on day 2, races include a 12K or 6K classic ski, 12K or 6K snowshoe race, or 12K or 6K combined event.

If you’re new to the racing game, the 1K or 3K rookie race is a noteworthy starting point. Dip your toes in the water….er snow and see if competitive snowshoe racing is of interest!

Elk Interpretative Trail, Chama New Mexico

That beautiful blue sky, typical in winter for New Mexico, was the perfect backdrop for snowshoeing among the trees and mountains in Edward Sargent Wildlife Area.

After or between race activities, engage in the plethora of clinics and tours offered throughout the weekend. Choose to participate in the beginner cross-country ski clinic, freestyle skiing clinic, advance cross-country ski clinic, and ski waxing clinic. Or if exploring the area is more of your style, jump on the guided snowshoe tour at Edward Sargent Wildlife Area or ski tour of the Spruce Hole Area & Yurt.

To refresh and to have some fun, there will be yoga, music, and a costume contest as part of the event. Then, after Sunday, you can non-competitively snowshoe or ski the groomed course. The course is available on Monday, 1/20, or the following weekend on Jan 25th or 26th.

Go Snowshoeing Near Chama, New Mexico!

Whether you explore the trails near the town or in the surrounding area, Chama will provide the beauty you’ve been looking for in an area off the beaten path.

Have you gone snowshoeing in the Chama area or participated in the Chama Chile Ski Classic? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

Read Next: The Divine Spirit of Snowshoeing At Angel Fire, New Mexico

The post Snowshoeing Trails & Events Near Chama, New Mexico appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/16/snowshoeing-trails-events-near-chama-new-mexico/feed/ 0 95150
Snowshoeing In the New York Empire State Winter Games https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/16/snowshoeing-in-the-new-york-empire-state-winter-games/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/16/snowshoeing-in-the-new-york-empire-state-winter-games/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2020 20:09:41 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=95137 For all of us winter lovers out there, the Winter Olympics are the perfect way to celebrate winter recreation, athletes, and the season. However, why wait for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022 when you can experience an Olympic-style event … Continue reading

The post Snowshoeing In the New York Empire State Winter Games appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
For all of us winter lovers out there, the Winter Olympics are the perfect way to celebrate winter recreation, athletes, and the season. However, why wait for the Olympic Winter Games in 2022 when you can experience an Olympic-style event right now in 2020. Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee, the Empire State Winter Games in New York bring all winter sports enthusiasts together. Now celebrating its 40th year, this community-driven event will take place Jan 29- Feb 2, 2020. As an annual multi-day, multi-sport event, the Winter Empire State Games are not to be missed!

Read More: A Winter Olympic Sport In The Making

racers at the 2007 ESWG

Snowshoe racers getting started at the 2007 Empire State Winter Games

About The Winter Empire State Games

In 1978, a gentleman by the name of Herbert Mols created the New York Empire State Games in Syracuse, NY. The first games, held at Syracuse University, were summer games. A great success, the Empire State games became part of the National Congress of Games shortly after the games. The first Empire State Winter Games (ESWG)  began in 1981, and we held in Lake Placid, NY, which was also the home of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Games. There were six events at the first WESG: alpine skiing, ski jumping, cross country skiing, indoor speed skating, figure skating, and biathlon.

dog sledding- Empire State Winter Games

Watching some dog sledding while at the games (not an event but still fun!)

Current Events Of The Games 

Now, there are over 20 different sports (including snowshoeing!) throughout the Empire State Winter Games. Furthermore, some events mirror the Winter Olympic events. All events in the WESG take place in the Adirondack Mountains through multiple villages and towns, including Lake Placid, Brighton, Harrietstown, Malone, North Elba, Tupper Lake, and Saranac Lake  These events include:

Bobsled- Empire State Winter Games

Some excellent bobsledding at the games!

  • Alpine Skiing
  • Biathlon
  • Bobsled
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Figure Skating
  • Freestyle Moguls
  • Luge
  • Nordic Combined
  • Skeleton
  • Ski (Cross, Jumping, Orienteering)
  • Snowboard Cross
  • Snowshoeing
  • Speed Skating
  • Squirt Hockey
  • Girls Hockey
  • Women’s Hockey
  • Winter Biking

There are also events for those with disabilities. Adaptive events include Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Ski Cross, Snowboard Cross, and Bobsled.

Read More: Olympics In Snowshoeing? Yes! The Special Olympics

Info For Athletes & Spectators

For those interested in participating in the games, registration is still open! You also do not need to be a New York resident to participate. The 2020 games will bring together over 2,000 athletes from over 15 U.S. states and three countries! Check-in for any registered athletes will be on January 29th at the Conference Center at Lake Placid from 4-6

racers on the track at ESWG 2007

Keeping pace around the course at the 2007 games

Spectators can watch the games for free, but some venues do charge an entrance fee. If you plan on attending multiple sites, purchase an ESWG Olympic Sites Passport. Plus, don’t miss the opening ceremonies! They will take place on Thursday, January 30th, at 6:30 pm at Herb Brooks Arena in the village of Lake Placid.

Also, throughout the games, the Winter Carnival will be held in Saranac Lake. Get your pictures with ice sculptures, including a castle made out of ice. Or go for great shopping in all the towns and villages where the events are taking place!

ice sculpture - ESWG

Check out some neat ice sculptures while at the games!

Empire State Winter Games Snowshoeing Events

The ESWG first added snowshoeing in 1984. Mirror Lake in Lake Placid, NY, held the snowshoe track and sprint races from 1984-1991. The 400m, 200m, and 100m distance events took place right in front of the Mirror Lake Inn. Ironically, the Inn was the same venue for snowshoe races held by Melvil Dewey, who created the Dewey Decimal System that is universally used in libraries.

In 1992, the snowshoe events moved to the Lake Placid Equestrian Stadium. The opening ceremonies for the 1980 Winter Olympics were at this stadium. Furthermore, a temporary stadium was built next to it, which held 30,000 spectators. Then, in 1995, Paul Smith’s College became the new venue for the sprints. Depending on the availability of warm bathrooms, events alternated between Paul Smiths College and the North County Community College Athletic Fields in Saranac Lake.

For one year (2011), the snowshoe events were at the Petrova Elementary School in Saranac Lake with 100m, 400m, and 800m events. However, the games were only there for one year. After 2011, the snowshoe events moved back to the Soccer Field near Paul Smiths College and where they are still held today.

Racers at starting line ESWG 2005

At the starting line, ready to go! Racers at 2005 ESWG

The Early Years Of Empire State Winter Games Snowshoeing

During the first snowshoe events, athletes participated from 6 different regions in New York State and had to run all three events (400, 200, and 100). The racer with the lowest cumulative time of all three races was the winner. Divisions included male or female, scholastic or open divisions. Scholastic athletes were male and female athletes from age 12 to seniors in high school. Whereas, open athletes were male and female from college-age and up. In the 90s, the games added a masters-level division, 1500m, and 5K event.

We spoke to athlete Jim Tucker about his experience with the first snowshoe events. He recalls that runners started the race from a standing start with the gun behind the runner. Conditions often were the worst of it. Jim Tucker mentioned that one year, his fellow athlete Eric Mann, blasted out of the start for the 200 meters from one of the inside lanes. Just after he entered the curve, his snowshoe cleat did not catch the pebble grain surface of the ice (the surface of the ice was like the surface of a new basketball), and he slid on his side through lanes 2 – 4. Once he stopped sliding, he got back up and finished well in the race.

racing in snow at ESWG 2006

Sometimes conditions at the games can be rough!

According to Jim Tucker, in another early year of the games, Mirror Lake was covered in about 18″ of snow, which pushed down onto the ice. The water came up through the cracks that had formed in the ice, creating a deep slush layer under the powdery snow on top. These conditions were dreadful for all racers involved. The early heats of the 400 were above the slush, but before long, everyone was soaked above the ankles. Fortunately, it wasn’t below zero (other years this was certainly the case), or the slush would have frozen upon impact with the air, adding to the calamity.

Recent Years Of Empire State Winter Games Snowshoeing

Before 2011, New York State ran the Empire State Games. While under this ownership, athletes had to qualify for each sport and event. Athletes could compete in your home region or another region of the state as long as you met the qualification standards of the activity. Races were divided by gender and age group, and racers of all age groups were represented from age 14 up to 70 years old.

2007 racers at the ESWG

I began snowshoe racing in January of 2005 and competed in the Empire State Winter Games from 2005-2011. When I competed from 2005-2010, I ran in qualifying races for (and ended up competing in) the distance and sprint events for 1500m, 100m, 200m, 400 m, and the 5k cross-country style or trail run.

After competing in the events from 2005-2011, they awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals for every age group and gender. Even though I never received a medal, I enjoyed my time at the games. However, I celebrated my fellow teammates as they won medals in several events. My father, Tom Niziol, received medals in the sprints. Additionally, Michael Rogers, Dale Deahn, and Jim Tucker all received medals.

ceremony from Empire State Winter Games

In 2011, Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, ROOST, and the Olympic Development Regional Committee took over running the winter games. Furthermore, there were no Empire State Summer Games. As part of the new ownership, there were no qualifying races required in snowshoeing, and they dropped the 1500m event. Instead, they added an 800m race to the sprint events and kept the 100 m, 200m, and 400m events. They also continued the 5k cross country style or trail run. These are the same events that are part of the ESWG snowshoeing events today.

Read More: Perfect Conditions at the 2010 Empire State Games

Getting Into The Games

I first heard of the Empire State Winter Games in late 2004. I began club running that year and started looking for races to do in the wintertime. Luckily, I saw that a fellow running club member, Michael Rogers, was hosting a 5k snowshoe qualifying race at Chestnut Ridge County Park in Orchard Park. The race took place in mid-January. Ironically, this race also met the qualifying standards for the 5k cross country for the Western New York Region of the ESWG.

I had never run in snowshoes before, let alone hiked in snowshoes, backpacked in snowshoes, walked in snowshoes, or even seen or heard of a pair of snowshoes. Basically, I didn’t even know what snowshoes were at this time. However, I convinced my dad to let me enter the race since you could rent snowshoes to use for the day. I went to the event, rented my snowshoes, competed and qualified!

2007 ESWG- starting cones with racers

And they’re off! Racers are getting started at the 2007 Empire State Winter Games.

After enjoying the 5k, I learned that the distance and sprint events (100m, 200m, 400m, 1500m)  had qualifying races at the end of January. However, the only place the races were held that met the qualifying standards in Western New York was Arcade Village Park. Dr. Dale Deahn hosted the event and used a snowmobile to make a 300-meter track. There were four lanes all the way around the track, each of which separated with small orange disc soccer cones. This setup, I learned, is the same as the games in Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and at Paul Smiths. Furthermore, the 1500m was a waterfall start, and you could cut into the first lane after the 100-meter turn.

I raced in these qualifying races in Arcade from 2005-2010. Also, my father Tom Niziol competed in the qualifying races in Arcade. After successful qualifying, my dad bought be a pair of Northern Lites Elite Race Snowshoes and a pair of Havlick Sprinter snowshoes.

Adam Niziol at ESWG 2005

The author excited to be at my first games in 2005

Memories Of The Games

Just as with the early games, the conditions and trails are always memorable. The worst year was in 2006, where the temperatures were in the single digits and may have even been below zero. There were also strong winds, and close to a foot of snow fell during the races. At this point, the only way to warm up was to sit in your car with the heat on. When we were getting ready to leave, my dad and I got in the car and tried to start, and we couldn’t! Eventually, though, we were able to jump-start it and drove it back to Saranac Lake and bought a new battery.

My favorite and most memorable course was the 5k cross country trail event at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Cross Country Skiing & Biathlon Center in 2005 and 2007-2010. This 5k was a fantastic course and, in my opinion, probably the best place the event was ever held. The venue was historic, scenic, and challenging.

In 2006, the race was held at the Lake Placid Olympic Ski Jumping Complex and shorted to 2.9 miles due to the weather. Again, it was in the single digits with a was a strong wind. Thus, these are only a few memorable moments from the games over the years for me.

racers at ESWG in lots of snow

There was so much snow for racers at the 2006 Empire State Winter Games

Go Check Out The Empire State Winter Games!

Don’t miss the Empire State Winter Games on Jan 29- Feb 2, 2020! As a spectator or athlete, the games are sure to be filled with history, memorable events, or maybe even weather and conditions. This year, all snowshoeing events will be in Paul Smith’s, NY, on Saturday, February 1st.

Have you been to the Empire State Winter Games before? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Read More: Why Snowshoeing Should Be An Olympic Sport

The post Snowshoeing In the New York Empire State Winter Games appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/16/snowshoeing-in-the-new-york-empire-state-winter-games/feed/ 1 95137
6 Solutions for the Dreaded Lean: A Word To Senior Athletes https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/14/6-solutions-for-the-dreaded-lean-a-word-to-senior-athletes/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/14/6-solutions-for-the-dreaded-lean-a-word-to-senior-athletes/#comments Tue, 14 Jan 2020 18:21:27 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=94532 The leaders’ gold and silver medals rested on the side of the awards table unperturbed. “Fast Eddie” Rousseau, pacing the lead on a February day, was on mile 70 of the 2019 USA Track & Field (USATF) 100-Mile Nationals in … Continue reading

The post 6 Solutions for the Dreaded Lean: A Word To Senior Athletes appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
The leaders’ gold and silver medals rested on the side of the awards table unperturbed. “Fast Eddie” Rousseau, pacing the lead on a February day, was on mile 70 of the 2019 USA Track & Field (USATF) 100-Mile Nationals in Las Vegas. Suddenly, he suffered The Lean’s impact, which determined the outcome of this challenging ultradistance event. Unfortunately, many lead competitors fall under this spell afflicting senior athletes.

Read More: Hidden Secrets! Preparing For A Snowshoe Distance Event

girl inverted on a doorway

How to do inversion without an inversion device

About “The Lean”

The Lean, (aka stooping, slumping, humped-over) is an athlete’s burden. The condition is when one’s back slumps forward or bends sideways while the shoulders cave forward, and it seems commonplace among senior athletes. You know it when you see it, mostly in seniors over age 70.

Creating a unique set of problems, the Lean influences outcomes in competitions because of the wear and tear on the competitor and pain from attempting to complete the distance while battling to outlast the problem.

Oh, you’re not that age, this doesn’t pertain to you? Wrong, straight-back. Get there, first-of-all, then you’ll know what’s cooking, or should I say slumping? Why should you care? Because with luck and good habits you’ll live that long. If left unchecked, The Lean will impact your life outside of athletic endeavors, perhaps in a severe way.

Investigating The Lean For Senior Athletes

Chased by noted senior endurance athlete and the 2018 age-class gold medalist for this desert race, David Blaylock, “Fast Eddie” Rousseau exclaimed, “We both got the dreaded leans.” Minnesota’s well-known champion at many events and distances over the decades battled his competition and friend.  “Finally, he actually fell at the aid station and dropped out. Without him pushing me, I let the lean-pain slow me so much that at 88 miles, I was missing the cutoff and also had to drop.”

demonstration of the lean

Dr. Casey Moore demonstrating the rounding of shoulders, neck extension

The nemesis of senior athletes, both in their 70s, The Lean snatched those medals away from them and proudly stored them in its affliction-warehouse. If one ever gazed inside, the view would be of awards stacked and decaying, each full of memories of what might have been.

The lean-scene becomes another difficulty the master endurance athlete endures while covering those long ultra miles on trails, roads, snowshoes, or skis. Thus, we decided to delve deep into this subject. We wanted to find solutions with input with global experts and those who can offer methods to deal with “The Lean.” Then, we want to make them known. You can join us in that process.

Which works for you? The best approach, pick one or two, and get started. Try them all. While you’re at it, let others know what you discovered.

Table of Contents For Approaches

  1. Pushing The Wall
  2. Efficient Use Of Energy
  3. The Lovy Technique: Pressure On The Gluteus Muscles
  4. The Backward Stretch
  5. Anatomical Dysfunction: Lifestyle, Nutrition, Inversion
  6. Using Kettlebells

APPROACH 1: PUSHING THE WALL BY  DR. CASEY MOORE

Dr. Casey Moore, founder of Moore Chiropractic: A Family Wellness Center, begins his discussion of The Lean. “It used to be that the ‘posture’ concern was slouching and having your mother or grandmother say to sit up straight… Now, with technology ever-present, particularly smartphones, our posture concern is now a forward ‘lean” as opposed to a slouch.”

Becoming Aware

demonstration of exercise to help the lean for senior athletes

The exercise to cure, stand with heels against the wall with shoulders and head touching the wall

Dr. Moore notes the impact The Lean can have on our bodies for all ages. “Our postures have begun to lean forward, starting with the head and neck, and ultimately leading to a full upper body lean out over our legs. This new posture creates a tremendous amount of strain initially on our lower neck. [Moreover], the further the lean progresses, the more it moves down the spine from the mid to ultimately the lower.”

He continues, “As a chiropractor (officed in Edina, Minnesota), I am seeing this effect in younger and younger ages with now, after ten years in practice, seeing a drastic increase in headaches and neck issues in children and teens. The biggest key to avoidance of this issue is simply awareness. Then once aware of the issue, you have the ability to stop the progression of it and begin to reverse it with some simple exercises.”

Exercises To Help The Lean

Dr. Moore shares his advice for senior athletes afflicted with The Lean. He notes that “The easiest [exercise] is routinely checking or correcting the issue by standing with your back and heels to the wall. [Then], pull your posture up and back such that your shoulders and head also come in contact with the wall. You can treat this activity like any other stretch or exercise by holding the proper position for 30 seconds, relaxing then repeating. This [exercise] can and should be done throughout the day, particularly for those spending hours behind a computer, tablet, or cell phone.”

The activity might seem simplistic, especially for senior endurance athletes, but not once you begin using it. You will feel it, particularly in your weaker areas.

APPROACH 2: EFFICIENT USE OF ENERGY BY DR. LUCAS MACMILLAN

Dr. Lucas MacMillan is a naturopathic physician in North Vancouver, B.C. Canada and shares his knowledge on how to have a healthier back. He used references to the book ProHealth Systems where he is also a contributing author. Dr. MacMillan says, “I included an image (see below) showing that different postures affect our backs to differing extents – it speaks to the pressure on our spinal disks when laying down, standing, hunching, etc. Here are the points that I feel are worth focusing on.”

Remaining Efficient

To help stay injury-free and enjoy life long-running or your chosen sport, Dr. MacMillan says, “Efficiency–our best athletic performances require efficient uses of energy. If we are using energy inefficiently, we will get tired faster. To exaggerate this, imagine cross country skiing with knees always bent to 90 degrees. We would tire incredibly fast, because our muscles are doing all of the work, rather than standing more upright and using our bone structure to keep us up, which takes very little energy. Eventually, our legs would tire, and the rest of our body would be forced to compensate for these tired muscles, leading to more inefficiencies and further decreasing performance.”

The second point for all athletes, senior athletes included, is on general injury and warming up before your event. Dr. MacMillan says, “The two greatest times of injury are at the beginning and the end of an event. This is because our risk of injury is high when we are not warmed up, and again when our muscles are most fatigued. Inefficient movements lead to worsened fatigue, which increases injury risk.”

Read More: Run Rabbit Run: Transition From Running To Snowshoe Racing

To get the most of your preferred sport, Dr. MacMillan explains, “We need to be efficient, meaning we need to let our bones support most of our weight, and use our muscles to move. [Efficiency] is what happens with a relatively upright posture. Excessive forward-leaning at the hips or the back forces our muscles to carry much of the weight and may increase the risk of fatigue, pain, and injury. Ask your friends and people who are familiar with the sport to assess your posture while snowshoeing; you’ll get a better sense of whether this is a concern for you.”

demonstration of stretching

Stretch anywhere, anytime.

Spinal Pressure & Proper Posture

He continues, “Spinal Pressure: Our spinal posture greatly changes the amount of load placed on our vertebral disks, those jelly shock absorbers between our backbones. When the pressure goes up, the chances of pushing the disc out or getting a slipped-disc goes up. Studies have shown that a slouching posture can roughly double the pressure on the discs in our lower back. The pressures can go up almost five times if we are hunched forward while holding a 20kg weight”.

Spinal posture is not only vital for senior athletes but recreational snowshoers as well. As Dr. MacMillian states, “While most snowshoers are not carrying these weights, they often do have backpacks. [Furthermore] they very likely have moments of increased impact, such as when the ground is different than expected for a step, or if we misstep due to fatigue. This increases the wear-and-tear on our back, which increases the risk of injury”.

Muscle pain and strain can also cause pain. “One predictable way to induce muscle pain is to place it in a stretched position or to force it to contract for an extended period. If you have fallen asleep on a plane, your neck has probably experienced this. Hunching forward for an extended time does both of these things as many back muscles are stretched, forced to contract constantly, or both. This likely leads to pain in the lower, mid, or upper back over time.”

Read More: Chiropractor Approved Injury Prevention Tips For Snowshoers

chart related to disc load for the lean and senior athletes

Dr. MacMillan offers this graph to demonstrate disc load (pressure) from standing to handling deadlifts

Tools To Address The Lean

So what should senior athletes do to address our posture and limit spinal stress? Dr. MacMillian shares his advice. “To correct our posture, there are a few things that need to be addressed.

Awareness & Running More Upright

The first is awareness, which this article will hopefully help to improve. Once you know something can be improved, you are empowered to improve it.

The second is the endurance of the muscles involved. If you tend to hunch or lean forward excessively, your body has probably adapted to this by strengthening some muscles and elongating others. This means that trying to run in a more upright posture will initially feel awkward and tiring until the muscles adapt”. As with any technical changes, try to incorporate them in short practice rounds that are gradually built up, and never during long or competitive events.”

Kinesio Tape 

He continues, “Another tool that can be helpful is Kinesio tape (also known as K-tape). This stretchy adhesive fabric sticks to your back. If applied appropriately, it can keep your awareness of your posture. It is used all the time to prevent the usual postural slumping that occurs subconsciously in desk workers and others prone to postural imbalance.

It works by applying gentle but very noticeable pressure to your skin when you start to hunch forward, so you are always made aware of when you start to slip into a forward curve of the spine. The tape easily lasts an event and can last for a few days with many people. While it is best to have it applied by someone trained in its use (physiotherapist, kinesiologist, chiropractor, naturopathic physician), YouTube has many freely available videos on how to do this. Though it will need another person to help you, and probably some trial and error.”

Overall, “Correcting [your posture] can be a process. [It] should be done over time and with small outings rather than on long or competitive events so you can gradually and safely make the changes. Kinesio tape, simple core exercises, and knowledge can all be very helpful in improving posture and exercise efficiency. A well-trained, sports-focused therapist can help speed this process so you can get back to the fun faster, and with less pain and fatigue.”

Braveheart Jim McDonnell

“You WILL stand straight!” (USSSA National Championships, Eau Claire, Wisconsin)

APPROACH 3: THE LOVY TECHNIQUE BY DR. ANDREW LOVY

Fast Eddie, a senior athlete noted above and afflicted by The Lean, mentioned, “I am thinking of the best sports medicine doctor I have met. [I am] very fortunate to know [him] and helped by him at all major ultra races over almost 30 years. Dr. Andy Lovy. Andy, as I dare call him, has dug into all kinds of physical discomfort issues that runners suffer in ultras, included the dreaded lean.”

Dr. Andrew Lovy, arrived in America in 1940, at age five from Budapest, Hungary. He enjoys a curriculum vitae that could hold its own as a single article. Instead, here is a short version: He completed his Post Graduate Internship in 1962-1963 at Mount Clemens General Hospital, Michigan. Then, most recently, he acted as the Official Team Doctor for the 24-hour US World Championship Team (2007-2017).

Additionally, he has served as Clinical Adjunct Professor at Lincoln Memorial University and DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (2008), an Honorary Life Member, American Academy of Osteopathy (2013), and Medical Director Preferred Health Care, Missouri (2017). Finally, what may be the most unusual, but a favorite position was the 2013 Official Doctor for the all-female Kirksville Viqueens, a flat track Roller Derby team.

roller derby photo

The Viqueens are battling a flat track derby bout.

The Lean Has A History

Dr. Lovy shares, “The lean has been a problem for many runners over the years, and I was told, once it develops, there is very little that can be done about it. I faced the issue about 15 years ago at Surgerres when Roy Pirrung, a champion masters ultra runner, developed it. I could get rid of it for a while, but it kept coming back, so what I was doing was only temporarily reducing it.”

He continues, “I began to study the phenomena at greater length, read everything about running mechanics I could find. [I] took biomechanical courses on gait mechanisms and the biochemistry of muscles as they fatigue and why those particular muscles are involved. Eventually, [I] found a better solution and was able to minimize and, in some cases, completely eliminate it for an event. I tried my technique on many runners and, at a few 24-hour races, provided medical care to many runners. I used my newly found technique on some who leaned and did everything I could.”

Dr Lovy and Eddie Rousseau - senior athletes and the lean

Jimmie Barnes, fellow athlete, (r) with “Fast Eddie” Rousseau

The Lovy Discovery

But, not on all. He found that those senior athletes who were administered the technique stopped leaning. Then, “The others continued leaning during the event. I taught it to some of my medical students who accompanied me to 24 and 48-hour events, and they too had success, so we know it works.

He continues, “Now the hard part. And this is more my theory than proven fact, but the theory is about as good as anyone else’s until a better theory evolves. Those who lean, lean in the same direction when it happens, regardless of the direction of the course. So it is more a muscle issue of the individual than fatigue in muscles resulting from the direction of the course.

A forward lean hampers this snowshoer

My theory is that some muscles and usually the same muscles in that individual selectively run out of potassium, causing those muscles to stop firing. When that happens, the muscles on the other side still fire normally, causing the body to lean in the direction of those muscles that are still firing. Adding potassium does little when it happens, and the athlete continues to lean. I studied the firing sequence and read more literature on that and discovered that the sequence had been permanently altered for that event and needed to be reversed, and the sequence had to be ‘reset.'”

Luckily for all senior athletes out there, Dr. Andy Lovy discovered that he could reverse The Lean.

The Lean & Pressure To The Gluteus Muscles

Dr. Lovy notes the importance of the gluteus muscles in recovery from The Lean. Gluteus muscles are the muscles of the buttocks. They stretch from the back portion of the hipbone to the top of the thighbone. Or, as Dr. Lovy puts it, “There is a plexus of nerves or a nerve itself under the Gluteus minimus that is a controlling factor. Putting the person on their stomach, palpating under the gluteus maximus, then under the gluteus medius, until one gets to the Gluteus minimus on the side of the direction of the lean is the key”.

Once on the muscles, “Direct pressure on that area for about 30-40 seconds seems to reset the sequence. Then we do the standard stretch routine on that part of the body, [and] give them supplemental potassium or a banana. [Then], the person, within a half-mile, stops leaning, and usually for the balance of the event. Sometimes not, and we have to do it again. It seems to work every time.”

senior athletes

Not all lean is forward. (L-R) Jim Fiste, Jimmy Barnes, Newton Baker, Fast Eddie Rousseau

However, the process is different for each senior athlete. “At the Six-Day Dome (ultra-race), there was a lady who leaned quite badly after just eight hours. We applied the technique that helped, but the lean returned in a few hours. Did it a second time with the same results, and the same thing happened. I tried it one more time and felt that this would be one person where the technique failed. I did notice, however, that by day two, the lean was completely gone and did not return for the rest of the (event), resulting in her winning her age group. We also used the same technique on others and stopped the lean, so I know we are on to something, but still working on perfecting the technique. So far, we have found that the earlier we can get to it, the better the results.”

Continual Improvement On The Technique

There is a continual improvement on Dr. Lovy’s technique as well. He notes, “Dr. Snyder, the Chair of OMM at ATSU, has shown me another trigger point on the innominate bone (think hipbone .Ed) that should have the same effect, so we are trying that one out as well. Not ready to publish, but I am doing it and have trained many of my students in the technique, and they all report success in preventing or minimizing the lean.”

Also, senior athletes should keep a lookout for susceptibility to the Lean. Dr. Lovy emphasizes that the sooner The Lean is discovered, the better. “On some athletes that we know lean, we work on them the night before, or if possible before the event begins. We use the same technique, and in some, it has prevented the lean from developing.  There is more, of course, but this is a start. My theory may be flawed, but the techniques do work.” And that’s how the Lovy Technique came to be.<

APPROACH 4: THE BACKWARD STRETCH

demonstration of backward stretch for senior athletes and the lean

The backward stretch. One should exaggerate the stretch as far as possible.

Consulting with a physician who works with professional teams in the Twin Cities area (and must remain incognito), the advice offered falls into the category of, oops, a “backward stretch.”

The idea expresses as a cancellation of the effect of The Lean. Another way to view this, think a reverse-lean, one that forces muscles and bones to counteract the typical forward lean. Stretch back as far as you can without tipping over while allowing your hands to slide down the back of your legs.

Read More: Back To Basics: Back Exercises For Snowshoers

 

APPROACH 5: ANATOMICAL DYSFUNCTION BY DR. JEFF KILDAHL

Dr. Jeff Kildahl scribes from coastal Rhode Island, but his heart beats for his beloved Rocky Mountains and Colorado. His practical wisdom continues not only as Snowshoe Magazine’s Wellness Editor but also with his forward-thinking company Performance Medicine®. Performance Medicine is “a visionary consulting firm providing trail runners and snowshoe racers synergistic solutions to genetically transcend wellness, performance, and potential in life and sport.”

Biomechanical Fluidity Is A Synergistic Process

He explains, “This process includes nutrition planning, nutrient timing, supplementation, strength training, cardiovascular training, kinesthetic training, sleep/regeneration, mindset, apparel, gear, accessories, apps, wearable technology, recovery, and the rest of it.

The focus of attaining effortless, powerful running for years was the foot strike. The typical running gait includes both supination and pronation or placing weight on both the outside and inside of your foot. Foot strike, stance, and swing are essential components. However, balance, awareness of the position of your pelvis, and actively moving forward the gluteus muscles create an efficient running stride.

Runners and sport snowshoers need to focus on their hips and core if s/he is interested in optimizing biomechanical fluidity, maximizing speed, and mitigating injury. The cause [pelvic region] versus the effect [foot strike] of the kinetic whip ought to predominate performance enhancement goals.

The Price of Our Lifestyles

Cause and effect play significant roles in sabotaging our exertion, thanks to environmental factors. As we run, each stride must go through an eccentric (muscle lengthening) phase before any concentric (muscle shortening) phase as muscle lengthening activates muscle shortening.

However, our lifestyles expose our biomechanical running and snowshoeing inefficiencies and compromise our performance. As noted above, a phenomenon termed “runners lean” has increasingly grown amid our sacred running and snowshoeing venues.

Prolonged sitting has infiltrated our daily lives to the point of becoming our performance demise. Thus, the Lean could be yet another by-product of our lack of awareness in other disciplines. The culprit: “Gluteal Amnesia.

Prolonged Sitting & The Impact On Our Muscles

Gluteal Amnesia is when your gluteal region “forgets” how to properly activate muscle contraction. Sitting for hours each day shortens and tightens hip flexors and deactivates our powerful gluteal muscles – especially when we need propulsion on the trails!

This concept of reciprocal inhibition is when one muscle group (hip flexors) creates length in its opposing muscle group (glutes). The occurrence of this concept cancels activation of the compromised muscle group – resulting in neurons that misfire or fail to fire – and the compromised muscles fail to contract.

The repetitive nature of running and snowshoeing makes the tightening of our hip flexor muscles worse. As noted above, we cannot expect a muscle to shorten without first lengthening. Therefore, if your gluteal nerves and muscles fail to function correctly, the rest of your body will be adversely impacted.

Proper gluteal activation is critical because it helps to stabilize the pelvis, and the biomechanics of the lower extremities depend on this stability. Lost elasticity of the muscles from prolonged sitting or inactivity can lead to a lack of strength and mobility in the gluteal plexus.

Ed Raymaker, senior athlete, snowshoe racing in Maine

Ed Raymaker, the “Gordie Howe” of snowshoe racing in Maine, proves too quick for the cameras.

Furthermore, an inactive gluteal region will cause an array of insidious postural and performance issues such as altered running gait, imbalances, asymmetrical firing patterns in the gluteal plexus, hips, and lower extremities, lower back pain, neck pain, spinal trauma, and more.

Poor posture (pelvic versus ankle lean) typically occurs in varying degrees and angles. Poor posture could be due to the hamstrings compensating for the deactivated gluteal musculature, overstriding versus increased cadence, and short stride length, shallow (chest) versus deep (diaphragmatic or nasal) breathing, and so forth.

Potassium As A Co-conspirator

Along with the impact prolonged sitting has on The Lean for senior athletes, potassium also plays a role. Potassium is the primary mineral located inside the body’s cells (intracellular) and stored in muscle fibers along with glycogen. It plays a critical role in transporting glucose into the muscle cells.

Potassium assists in the conduction of nerve impulses and interacts with both sodium and chloride to regulate fluid and electrolyte balances. When glycogen breaks down to supply energy for exertion, muscle cells are depleted of potassium.

Potassium is critical to “reset” the nerve for the next contraction or activity. It profoundly impacts sports performance in the following ways:

  • Blood pressure;
  • Muscle contractions;
  • Nerve resets;
  • Fluid/nutrient regulation;
  • Energy production (ATP – adenosine triphosphate)

Potassium is essential to the process of breaking down glycogen in the muscle cells, which helps with repeated muscle contractions during endurance exercise. Glycogen is broken down, and the muscle cells are depleted of potassium before it enters the bloodstream and leaves the body via urination or sweat.

To maintain your level of performance, a system termed the sodium-potassium pump is critical. It is the process of transporting potassium and sodium to produce energy.

athlete stretching in a field

Stretching and leaning back (photo credit Bill Ringer @Unsplash)

Maintaining Your Metabolic Efficiency

The first nutrition limiter to endurance sports performance is depleted glycogen stores. One key to peak performance is Metabolic Efficiency™. This concept demonstrates sports performance excellence because of your diet, not in spite of it. A by-product of metabolic efficiency™ is its innumerable benefits respective to health markers.

Metabolic Efficiency™ is the body’s ability to utilize endogenous stores of carbohydrate and fat at varying intensities and duration of exercise and rest.

Elevated blood sugar or a sodium-potassium imbalance will incite mayhem such as an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, impaired protein processing, lack of oxygen to the body, and deactivation of the “firing sequence” of the gluteal musculature.

Read More: Metabolic Inefficiency & Impact On Your Peak Performance

The Law of Polarity: Inversion As A Tool For The Lean

The key to running and snowshoeing biomechanical fluidity is to address issues with balance, awareness of the position of your pelvis, gluteus muscles, and the environment factors sabotaging your desired outcomes.

woman inverted

Let the Inversion begin!

Only strengthening your gluteal musculature via jump training, squats, yoga, and other modalities are not enough. Being mindful of your joints, muscles, alignment, and so forth is integral to optimizing performance and mitigating injury. One must “feel” the balance and propulsion from his/her core region and mindfully merge breath and posture each foot strike.

Inversion imparts more than merely hanging upside down. The degree to which you invert is dependent upon your needs and acclimation tolerance.

It is typical practice to invert 20-30 degrees for a few minutes each session and adjust to full inversion (90 degrees) through gradual progression and consistency. Most health care practitioners recommend intermittent traction or oscillation.

Inversion offers endurance athletes, senior or otherwise, a lightweight, easy-to-use method of optimizing your physiology. Hanging upside-down may incur mind-blowing perspectives on more than just running or snowshoeing.

Inversion therapy may be a plausible preventative and recovery option to mitigate precursors to “runners lean” in a few sessions per week. Find below a few benefits:

  • Strengthens ligaments;
  • Improves posture;
  • Elongates your spine;
  • Reverses effects of gravity;
  • Elongates core to promote better posture;
  • Promotes proficient muscle firing;
  • Thwarts muscle spasms;
  • Improves lymphatic flow;
  • Increases circulation;
  • Corrects hip alignment;
  • Enhances oxygenation;
  • Improves capillary proliferation;
  • Enhances blood flow to muscles/tissue;
  • Relieves inflammation – joints, hips, muscles;
  • Elongates muscle fibers;
  • Restores harmony to vital organs;
  • Improves the integrity of fascia, muscles, and connective tissue;
  • Relieves muscle tension;
  • Strengthens joints and ligaments;
  • Enhances joint decompression;
  • Relieves stress;
  • Normalizes ear canals;
  • Improves balance;
  • Varicose veins treatment;
  • Increases hip flexion;
  • And much more.

Supplemental Inversion Exercises & Tools

In addition to inversion, athletes can include a variety of exercises on his/her table. Some activities that may provide further benefits include stretching, crunches, squats, extensions, and so forth. There is an extensive list of accessories available from handles, tether straps, foam pads, and the like depending on the manufacturer.

Read More: Don’t Forget To Stretch For Snowshoeing

tools for inversion

Extreme stretching isn’t bragging if you can do it

Prices for inversion equipment vary dramatically among manufacturers and distributors. There are several discounted inversion tables and chairs available from online distributors such as Zearth.com, AllegroMedical.com, and so forth. Specialty retailers, like Better Back Many stores sell versions of these products priced $500 and more. HSN.com features Teeter Hang-Ups—long considered the benchmark for inversion products—at a reduced cost ($299) via monthly payments with shipping included plus instructional videos.

Check with specialty retail outlets, physical therapy centers, chiropractors, and other health care practitioners to test inversion after receiving approval from your physician. You will notice its benefits within minutes at any angle.”

APPROACH 6: KETTLEBELL SWINGS

The Kettlebell invasion of the USA led to a new and distinctive method to strengthen one’s core. With a strong midsection, your body holds you upright. Without it, you slump and clump.

Furthermore, Kettlebell swings direct attention right to your hips and mid-body if performed correctly. Swings are not moving the weight with your arms back-and-forth. Instead, one uses their hip (and therefore all its muscles) to push and launch the kettlebell forward to then glide back through split legs. This video from Bodyfit by Amy provides a thorough visual for best practices.

Using Kettlebells for this purpose may take five minutes max. So the excuse “I haven’t the time” gets thrown out the window. Your Excuse Tray is now empty, so go after it. When you’re racing a long competition, you can thank your “Hell’s Bells” for Kettlebells as your posture now defines the word “straight.” As you practice, continue extending the time involved and the ability to keep the motion going.

Read More: Kettlebell Training: The Snowshoe Racer’s New Friend

OVERALL: FINDING A SOLUTION FOR THE LEAN

The Lean, at times, works to a competitor’s advantage. “Fast Eddie” gave this account of the 2018 24-Hour Nationals, in Edgewater Park, Cleveland, Ohio. “Michael Haviland was well ahead of me and Newton when his painful lean came on. He had to go to his tent and lay down for several hours. At the time I recall, he’s at 60 miles, and I was at 52.

So I won that age-class Gold Medal with a nagging hamstring pain hampering my pace, but my back lean pain tolerable, so I kept grinding out miles for the entire 24 hours. The dreaded lean moved me from third to first in the last 4 hours, proving the old adage in a 24 Hour Race, that ‘The race starts at 20 hours for those still standing.'”

Take action to combat The Lean if you currently suffer it or are showing signs of succumbing to its jungle ways. “No lean for me, I’m just straight up and down” reads like a right attitude but typically from a much younger athlete.

Start now and avoid a roadblock standing in your way some time or somewhere down the pike. Help others to make sure they understand why they should be overjoyed to discover these techniques that may help with their problem. Go ahead; get mean with The Lean!

Read More:
Snowshoeing For Seniors: Into Your 70s and Beyond
Hidden Secrets! Preparing For A Snowshoe Distance Event

Have you ever had the Lean while snowshoe racing? What recommendations would you have for other senior athletes?

senior snowshoe racing winners

Senior snowshoe athletes collecting their medals


Snowshoe Magazine Writers:

Dr. Jeff Kildahl            Jeff@pmsynergy.com

Christine Blanchette  ChristineBlanchette@Hotmail.com

Phillip Gary Smith       Phillip@UltraSuperior.com

The post 6 Solutions for the Dreaded Lean: A Word To Senior Athletes appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/14/6-solutions-for-the-dreaded-lean-a-word-to-senior-athletes/feed/ 2 94532
Top Four Vancouver, B.C. Snowshoeing Outings for Every Level of Ability https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/08/top-four-vancouver-b-c-snowshoeing-outings-for-every-level-of-ability/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/08/top-four-vancouver-b-c-snowshoeing-outings-for-every-level-of-ability/#respond Wed, 08 Jan 2020 23:37:33 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=94934 Often described as a premier playground destination for the outdoor enthusiast, the picturesque backdrop of the city of Vancouver, British Columbia lies less than a half-hour drive from the North Shore Mountains and the tony neighborhoods of West Vancouver. Known … Continue reading

The post Top Four Vancouver, B.C. Snowshoeing Outings for Every Level of Ability appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
Often described as a premier playground destination for the outdoor enthusiast, the picturesque backdrop of the city of Vancouver, British Columbia lies less than a half-hour drive from the North Shore Mountains and the tony neighborhoods of West Vancouver. Known for its mild temperatures across Canada, Vancouver is a year-round haven for golfers and runners and, from November to April, is also ideal for those who enjoy winter sports such as snowshoeing.

At sea level, it’s easy to forget how close we are to a winter wonderland of snowcapped mountains which beckon to make it a day outing. Snowshoeing is an exhilarating experience enjoyed solo or with family and friends.  Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete, here are four top places to go snowshoeing near the Vancouver area:

group snowshoeing in Grouse Mountain, BC - near Vancouver

Have fun snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain. Photo courtesy Grouse Mountain.


Whistler

About a two-hour drive from Vancouver, you’ll find Whistler, British Columbia. Here, the snowshoe enthusiast can enjoy a day trip or stay overnight and make it a mini-vacation.

Whistler Olympic Park & Ski Callaghan

At Whistler Olympic Park, there are about 30 kilometers (18.6 mi) of marked trails and some of which are dog-friendly. Book a two-hour tour to take in breathtaking viewpoints and enjoy the photo opportunities of gorgeous Olympic monuments.

Lost Lake Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Trails

Joanne Clark, a coordinator with travel media in Whistler shares her recommendations. She says, “There is The Lost Lake Cross Country Ski and Snowshoe Trails, which have more than 30km (18.6 mi) of ski trails and more than 10km (6.2 mi) of dedicated snowshoe trails. Beautiful, marked snowshoe trails wind through the forest of Lost Lake Park, accessing scenic viewpoints along the way. Visit the cozy log warming hut perched on the shores of Lost Lake.” These snowshoe trails are located near Lost Lake PassivHaus, which is a short walk from Whistler Village and the trails are suitable for all levels of abilities.

Whistler, BC- snowshoeing near Vancouver

The gorgeous mountains of Whistler, BC. Image by ArtTower from Pixabay

Guided Tours Near Whistler

For those interested in seeing the landscape with a guide, there are snowshoeing tours and self-guided walks that can be arranged, and all levels are welcomed. Clark notes that, “…Both the Adventure Group and Canadian Wilderness Adventures offer guided snowshoe tours which can be booked online.”

More Information on snowshoeing around Vancouver, visit Tourism Whistler.

Read More: BC Luxury Snowshoe Getaways


Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver

About a half-hour drive from downtown Vancouver, spend a day at Grouse Mountain. Participate in one of their many activities such as their Snowshoe Fondue, and Snowshoe and S’ mores tour. There are also drop-in nights on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you have never tried snowshoeing, there are trails for beginners and a beginner clinic.

Read More: No. 9 Snowshoe Friendly Ski Resort: Grouse Mountain, BC

Snowshoe Tours At Grouse Mountain

The Snowshoe fondue is a one hour guided tour, and one can experience snowshoeing with headlamps. Après snowshoe, enjoy some cheese, broth and chocolate fondues. Tour includes snowshoe and headlamp rentals.

There is also the Snowshoe S’mores tour. Enjoy the one km snowshoe tour and then continue onto the lookout of Vancouver, and then return to a campfire where you will enjoy S’mores and hot apple cider.

Alternatively, if you would like watching the night sky, watch it on the mountain and see the cityscape by participating in the Full Moon and New Moon guided snowshoe hike tours.

view of Vancouver from Grouse Mountain

View overlooking Vancouver from Grouse Mountain. Photo courtesy of Grouse Mountain.

Snowshoe Trails At Grouse Mountain

For those looking for a self-guided adventure, Grouse Mountain also offers 5 different snowshoe-specific trails. You may choose to snowshoe the easier 1.5 km Blue Grouse Loop or the more difficult 1.5 km (0.9 mi) Dam Mountain Loop, sitting at 4,500 feet (1372 m) on the mountain.

Then, for those interested in snowshoe races and athletes, try the Snowshoe Grind. Located on the mountain in Munday Alpine Snowshoe Park, this 4.3 km (2.7 mi) trail with 240 m (787 ft) of gain will provide all racers the opportunity to boost your athletic performance. As part of the Grind, you can track your times around the course to continue to challenge yourself. On average though, the track takes about one hour to complete for those who are reasonably fit.

Please keep in mind that all trails are included with a Mountain Admission Ticket. Visit Grouse Mountain 

Read More: Grouse Mountain Snowshoe Grind Delivers Fun & Fitness


Cypress Mountain, West Vancouver

About a half-hour drive from downtown, Cypress Mountain offers varied terrain for both intermediate and beginners. Choose either guided and about 11 km (6.8 mi) self-guided trails at Cypress Mountain Nordic Area. Snowshoe rentals are offered as well.

Snowshoe Tours At Cypress Mountain

If you are new to snowshoeing the Hollyburn Meadows Tour is a two-hour tour and an excellent introduction to snowshoeing. Plus, you’ll get to learn the culture and history of the Hollyburn Ridge area.

Alternatively, for an apres experience, there are several options. On the cheese and chocolate fondue tour, enjoy snowshoeing with a headlamp at night, followed by a delicious fondue dinner.

All available tours can be found at Cypress Mountain Guided Snowshoe Tours.

Cypress Mountain, BC

Explore the beauty of Cypress Mountain. Photo courtesy of Cypress Mountain

Cypress Provincial Park

At Cypress Provincial Park, enjoy some spectacular views of the city of Vancouver and the surrounding area.

The moderate Hollyburn Ridge trail is a 6.9 kilometer (4.3 mi) out and back trail, which meanders among the ponds and old-growth cedars of the area, and is dog-friendly. Or for a leisurely stroll, the Yew Lake trail is a 10-15 min trail perfect for beginners. If you’re up for a challenge (and view of the city), take the Eagle Bluff trail for 2-3 hours to reach an elevation of 3500 feet (1067 m).


Mt Seymour, North Vancouver

About a half-hour drive from downtown, make it a day getaway that offers both guided and self-guided tours. Explore the variety offered as part of the 12 Mt. Seymour Discovery trails on your own or with a guide. Snowshoe rentals are available.

Read More: 7 Reasons To Snowshoe On Vancouver’s Mt. Seymour

Guided Snowshoe Tours At Mt. Seymour Ski

For those wanting a guide, choose from tours for all experience levels offered by Mt. Seymour. If you’re a newbie to snowshoeing, Mt. Seymour offers their 2-hour Intro to Snowshoeing Tour, which introduces the basic techniques, safety measures, and prime spots on the mountain.

Other offerings include the Chocolate Fondue Tour for the apres lover or the 2-hour Twilight Tour for the adventurous night explorer! All tours come with knowledgable guides and rental equipment. Find all tours available (even tours for you and your baby) on Mt. Seymour Snowshoe Tours. 

Read More: No 1 Snowshoe Friendly Ski Resort: Mt Seymour, BC

Mt Seymour Fondue Tour

Snowshoe and apres at the Mt Seymour Fondue Tour. Photo by Blake Rupert @exploreofcourse

Mt. Seymour Provincial Park

Mt. Seymour Ski area is located on 81 acres of Mount Seymour Provincial Park. The park itself is 3500 hectares of impressive views of the Lower Mainland, Mt. Baker, and Vancouver. The Provincial Park has 14 different trails of varying lengths and difficulty levels. For example, easy 750 m (0.46 mi) trails, such as Dinky Peak, will offer a view of the Lower Mainland.

Other popular trails part of Mount Seymour Provincial Park and on the Mt. Seymour Ski area include the Dog Mountain trail, which takes about two to three hours to complete. The marked trail is moderate but is good for beginners, and is free to use and is also, of course, if dog-friendly. One can see the city from the summit and one can use Mt Seymour snowshoe rentals on the trail.

As an alternative to Dog Mountain, hike the Mt. Seymour Trail (accessible from the last parking lot in Mt. Seymour Ski area) to First Pump Peak. This trail will take about three and a half hours to complete and is a moderate to difficult trail. It is an out and back course and the trail isn’t marked. Strong backcountry and avalanche preparedness and knowledge are required. Dogs are allowed. If needed, Mt. Seymour offers snowshoe rentals on site.


Go Snowshoeing Near Vancouver!

No matter what your fitness level, each venue has something for everyone. If you have never snowshoed before it can be a magical time to see some wildlife, perhaps a snow rabbit.

Read More: North America’s Top 10 Snowshoe-Friendly Ski Resorts

The post Top Four Vancouver, B.C. Snowshoeing Outings for Every Level of Ability appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/08/top-four-vancouver-b-c-snowshoeing-outings-for-every-level-of-ability/feed/ 0 94934
Snowshoeing Greater Boston https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/06/snowshoeing-greater-boston/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/06/snowshoeing-greater-boston/#respond Mon, 06 Jan 2020 21:01:06 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=94916 If you live in Greater Boston, sneaking out to snowshoe should be on your to-do list after a significant snowfall. Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the outdoors and beat those winter blues! If in the Boston area, here … Continue reading

The post Snowshoeing Greater Boston appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
If you live in Greater Boston, sneaking out to snowshoe should be on your to-do list after a significant snowfall. Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the outdoors and beat those winter blues! If in the Boston area, here are four great hikes to take on snowshoes this winter.

man on snowshoes in Blue Hills, snowshoeing near Boston

Snowshoeing just outside Boston in the Blue Hills

Blue Hills Reservation

Blue Hills Reservation, located only 30 minutes from the city, is one of the best places in Greater Boston to snowshoe after a big snowstorm. Perhaps the most popular destination within the Reservation is Great Blue Hill. The hill is the highest point within 10 miles (16 km) of the Atlantic Ocean between Maine and North Carolina.

Snowshoeing Great Blue Hill

Many hikers ascend Big Blue via the Red Dot Trail, which begins from the Blue Hills Ski Area’s parking lot on Route 138 in Milton. The trail leaves the parking lot near the main entrance to the Trailside Museum and follows red circular blazes as it climbs over snow-covered slabs, through a pleasant hardwood forest, and along the edge of the ski area. Just past halfway, the trail crosses Summit Road—likely plowed unless you’re really early. Then, it makes a final push up to Eliot Tower, which was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and is a National Historic Landmark. For an excellent view of a snow-covered Greater Boston, make sure to venture up to the stone tower’s overlook!

The snowshoe up Big Blue typically takes around 30 minutes and is less than a mile (1.6 km) long. Even those with limited time can get back to the trailhead quickly by retracing their tracks on the Red Dot Trail. However, consider leaving enough time to make the 10-15 minute loop around Great Blue Hill’s summit.

Add The Eliot Circle Loop

The short and flat Eliot Circle Trail around the summit offers excellent views of Greater Boston and Boston Harbor, among other sights. The loop also goes right by the Blue Hills Meteorological Observatory, which is the oldest continuously operating observatory in the United States.

Then, once you return to Eliot Tower, the easiest option is to descend the way you came up. A less-trafficked option is to follow the northern branch of the Red Dot Trail—also called the Abigail Adams Trail—as it loops back to the Trailside Museum. If you’re looking to get some exercise breaking trail, this is the place to go!

Read More: Boston, MA: Top 5 Daytrips For Snowshoe Beginners

view from Blue Hills Eliot Tower- snowshoeing near Boston

The view from the Blue Hills’ Eliot Tower

Mount Wachusett

Derived from the Algonquin word meaning “mountain place,” Mount Wachusett is a beacon for snow seekers from central Massachusetts and further. It’s approximately 15 miles (24 km) from Worcester, 40 miles (64 km) from Boston, and 50 miles (80 km) from Providence. Overshadowed by its reputation as a ski destination, the 2,006-foot (611 m) Mount Wachusett is also home to 17 miles (27 km) of trails idyllic for snowshoeing.

Snowshoeing The Balance Rock Trail & Old Indian Trail

The most popular route with snowshoers leaves from the ski area parking lot on the Balance Rock Trail. Beginning gently, Balance Rock winds through the lush pines found on the lower mountain. Then it continues past the trail’s namesake—two large boulders stacked on top of one another, and the result of glacial activity thousands of years ago. Finally, the trail steepens as it joins the Old Indian Trail. If Wachusett’s mid-mountain lift is running, you might hear the jubilant sounds of happy skiers as they prepare to descend, as the lift is just a short bushwack through the woods.

Following the Old Indian Trail, you’ll snowshoe across the auto road once and trek right next to it a second time. After the second encounter with the road, the trail is at its steepest. Prepare for some fancy footwork as you negotiate the bouldery bits and one particularly steep (sometimes snow-free slab). If this seems too challenging to do in snowshoes, this section of the trail is easily avoidable by following the auto road to the top.

Just below the top of the mountain, you’ll again hear the sounds of skiers, as the summit lift is a short walk to your left once you exit the forest. Pop your head out and take a look at the mountain’s conditions. Or turn right toward the tower that marks the top and take in vast views extending to Mount Monadnock to the north, Mount Greylock to the west, and the Boston skyline to the east.

The most straightforward way down is to head back the way you came for a roughly five-mile (8 km) round trip. If time or energy is a concern, follow the road to its juncture with the Balance Rock Trail. The auto road is not plowed. However, snowmachines regularly use it to access the top of the mountain, typically leaving it well packed and making for reasonably easy snowshoeing.

boulders at Balance Rock Trail, Mount Wachusett, MA

The Balance Rock Trail’s namesake formation

Mount Watatic

About an hour outside Greater Boston is another excellent snowshoe destination: Mount Watatic. Located off Route 119 in Ashburnham, this 1,832-foot (558 m) peak offers magnificent views of southern New Hampshire, Mount Wachusett, and, in the distance, Boston’s skyline. Climbing through several spectacular stands of mature trees, the Wapack Trail ascends approximately 700 feet (213 m) over almost 3 miles (4.8 km) to Watatic’s open summit. In winter, it is a snowshoer’s paradise.

Many love snowshoeing at Mount Watatic because of its reliable and deep (for Massachusetts, anyway) snowpack. Others enjoy it because it does not see as much hiker traffic as some other Greater Boston classics. Thus, it’s easier to find some solitude in this winter wonderland. Another plus: Even when the main trail is tracked out, there’s usually optimal snow for snowshoeing on either side of the trail and all around the open summit.

Add Some Challenge!

For snowshoers looking for a more challenging outing, the eastern side of Mount Watatic was once a popular ski area and is now a popular destination for backcountry skiers. It’s a great place to slide into the backcountry.

Mount Watatic is also the southernmost peak of the Wapack Range. Established in 1923, the Wapack Trail is one of the country’s oldest multi-state hiking trails. Furthermore, it connects the Wapack Range’s ten summits in Massachusetts and New Hampshire throughout 22 miles (35 km). If you’re looking to tack on a few extra miles to your snowshoe adventure, the portion of the Wapack just north of Watatic is spectacular. Check it out before heading back down to your vehicle at the trailhead.

Read More: Walk (Or Snowshoe) In The Steps Of History In Concord, MA

Mount Watatic, MA - snowshoeing near Boston

Climbing Mount Watatic on snowshoes for a snowboard descent

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary in Sharon, Massachusetts, is another excellent under-the-radar destination for snowshoers looking to score post-storm freshies. Mass Audubon’s oldest wildlife sanctuary, there are 25 miles (40 km) of trails for snowshoers to explore.

Using the sanctuary’s trail map, snowshoers can build loops around this almost-2,000-acre property to suit their interests and time constraints. As you romp around the sanctuary’s forests and fields, be sure to take the Bluff Trail to the Bluff Overlook. Located on the northern side of the sanctuary, the Bluff Trail rewards snowshoers with fantastic views.

For those looking for an uphill workout, don’t miss the Summit Trail, which ascends to the sanctuary’s high point, 534-foot (163 m) Moose Hill. From the sanctuary’s visitor center, the Summit and Bluff Trails are easily connected via the Old Pasture and Turkey Trails. These trails make for a fantastic loop on your outing!

Whatever trails in the sanctuary you decide to explore, be on the lookout for the area’s abundant wildlife. In all likelihood, you’ll find fresh deer, turkey, and coyote tracks in the snow as you snowshoe around the sanctuary. Careful observers may spy the tracks for fishers and foxes as well.

Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, MA

Sunset at Moose Hill

Go Snowshoeing Near Boston

Greater Boston is packed with fantastic spots to snowshoe. However, it’s also densely populated, so plan on an early start if you’re dreaming about first tracks. Or, sleep in, let others pack in the trail, and cover maximum mileage later in the day.

What are your favorite areas to go snowshoeing near Boston?

The post Snowshoeing Greater Boston appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/06/snowshoeing-greater-boston/feed/ 0 94916
Brent Tor Devon: A Tiny Dartmoor Church With A Vast Outlook https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/01/brent-tor-devon-a-tiny-dartmoor-church-with-a-vast-outlook/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/01/brent-tor-devon-a-tiny-dartmoor-church-with-a-vast-outlook/#respond Wed, 01 Jan 2020 18:40:35 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=88805 Hike almost four miles (6.4 km) north of Tavistock in West Devon, United Kingdom, and you’ll discover something quite unique: the quaint village of Brentor. At first glance, it may seem much like any other village in Dartmoor National ParkContinue reading

The post Brent Tor Devon: A Tiny Dartmoor Church With A Vast Outlook appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
Hike almost four miles (6.4 km) north of Tavistock in West Devon, United Kingdom, and you’ll discover something quite unique: the quaint village of Brentor. At first glance, it may seem much like any other village in Dartmoor National Park. However, look again. Close by is a high volcanic tor, Brent Tor, which rises 1,100 feet (335 m) above sea level in Dartmoor. Furthermore, the tor supports the village church of St. Michael de Rupe.

About The Church & Surrounding Area

Dating from the 13th to 14th century, Brentor Church is tiny. As England’s 4th smallest parish, the church is 37 feet (11 m) long, 15 feet (4.6 m) wide, with a tower just 40 feet (12.2 m) high. But what it lacks in size- it seats around 40 people-, it makes up for with the view. In the church, you can catch a dramatic 360-degree sweep of Dartmoor and its surroundings.

On any point of the compass, the scenery is spectacular. You’ll see Bodmin Moor and the Tamar valley, Whitsand Bay and Plymouth Sound, and if the weather permits, Exmoor. Additionally, the weather can play a critical part in the overall experience. On a clear autumn day, you feel at one with nature. On a day where you are standing high above the cloud line, it becomes spiritual.

Read More: Exmoor National Park In Winter

Brent Tor - Dartmoor, England

The gorgeous Brentor Church – Photo by Tony Atkin

The outcrop of the tor is a spectacular, weathered volcanic plug dating back to Carboniferous times, which sets it apart from other Devon tors. Earthworks dating from the Iron Age, are scattered around its base, along with the remains of a hill fort. It is believed that the church was once used as an early warning system for approaching invaders at sea.

Brent Tor church is not only surrounded by incredible scenery but, historically, is bountiful in myth and legend. Originally planned to be built at the base of the tor, the story goes that the devil would move it nightly to the top. Despite this continual interruption, the locals carried on with its construction. Some say out of sheer defiance.

Possibly the most famous story about the church on the tor’s beginnings is centred around an almost shipwrecked merchant, who promised the church would be built after being spared from a watery grave. Fortunately for historians and tourists alike, his wish was granted. And the climb to Brent tor’s summit is so worth it.

Exploring The Village Of Brentor In Dartmoor

After exploring Brent Tor, the small village of Brentor on Dartmoor’s northwest edge is an ideal spot to explore the surrounding country. Close to historic Lydford – famous for its gorge – and Mary Tavy, it lies near an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Even though the southwest of England has a marine climate, Brentor and Dartmoor can have its share of snow-filled days as well. Due to the higher elevation, you can catch views of Brent Tor church with snow for an average of 20 days each winter. In fact, on rare occasions, Dartmoor has experience blizzard conditions, leaving more than 55 cm (22 in) of snow on the ground 1. The aftermath of these conditions can genuinely be a snowshoer’s playground. Thus, when visiting Brent Tor, prepare for cooler temperatures (average 8C or 46F), wind, and rain/snow.

Attractions Near Brentor

In addition to Brent Tor, there are numerous ways to explore the outdoors and historical areas near the village of Brentor in Dartmoor.

Crofters Barn

While in the Brentor area, add Crofters Barn on your list to visit. This converted stone-built barn has a secluded garden and paddock. Adjacent to open moorland, it is an ideal location for wildlife enthusiasts and those keen on the great outdoors. Pets – on leash – are welcome, and the property has off-road parking facilities.

Lydford Gorge

A little over 2 miles (3.2 km) from Brentor lies the famed Lydford Gorge. Known to be the deepest in the southwest of England, the gorge is perfect for walkers and ramblers alike. Wildlife is plentiful no matter the season. Plus, for those interested in local myths and legends, the impressive White Lady waterfall – with its 30-metre drop – and the Devil’s Cauldron are well worth exploring.

The surrounding landscape of Lydford Gorge is steep and rugged. Therefore, the walks are better suited to those more-able. Nonetheless, one of Devon’s long-distance walking routes, the West Devon Way, is nearby. Though a long walk of around 5 miles (8 km), there are no stiles and only one climb near the end. Linking Plymouth with Oakhampton, there are amenities on the route. An information pack is available from tourist information centres.

Read More: Drake’s Trail: A Winter Walk In The Southwest of England

Whitelady Waterfall- Lydford Gorge- Dartmoor, England

The waterfall at Lydford Gorge – Photo by Rob Wilcox

Coombe Trenchard House & Garden

Just over 3 miles (4.8 km) from Brent Tor lies Coombe Trenchard House and Garden. This beautiful brick and timber-framed Edwardian house was built in 1906, and it sits in an equally beautiful 8-acre garden.

For those keen on discovering what life was like in Edwardian times, the house is a must-see. The gardens feature terraces and woodland, and though they became overgrown, they have since been restored to their Edwardian splendour. The gardens are open regularly for visitors, and the house opens for pre-booked groups.

Mary Tavy

The village of Mary Tavy lies just 2.4 miles (3.9 km) from Brentor. Small and quaint, with a population of around 600, it is another ideal base from which you can explore the surroundings. The village is dated from the 1800s and was once part of the region’s mining community. Its beautiful parish church – St. Mary’s – dates from the 13th century.

Only 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the village of Mary Tavy, you’ll find Wheal Betsy, the remains of a lead and copper mine engine house. Among many claims to fame is its chimney, which appears to defy gravity. The exact date when the mine opened is uncertain, though many believe it dates from the early 1700s. Despite this, the building – now owned and restored by the National Trust – is testament to withstanding the harshest of Dartmoor’s elements.

Peter Tavy

A short distance away from Mary Tavy lies Peter Tavy. This 3-mile (4.8 km) village is famed for its medieval church, inn, and scenic walks along the river. It’s an ideal spot to kick back and switch off.

Accommodation Near Brentor In Dartmoor

While exploring the area, there is a range of accommodation available.

Brentor

Accommodation is welcoming and quiet in Brentor. The Smithy, formerly a wheelwright’s workshop, is on a peaceful country lane. This delightful detached cottage will sleep 2-3 people, accommodates pets, and is open year-round. There are plenty of scenic walks close by as well. Additionally, for more energetic guests, cycle route 27 isn’t far off.

Mary Tavy 

For a welcome typical of the southwest, head to the Mary Tavy Inn. If the idea of spending time in a traditional free house serving great food and real ale appeals, give it a try. With a good-sized car park, beer garden, and entertainment, the inn offers bed and breakfast accommodation.

Peter Tavy

In Peter Tavy, accommodation will suit most tastes with B&Bs, guesthouses, and self-catering options available. The scenic wilds of Dartmoor are right on the doorstep, along with award-winning Hartford Bridge Holiday Park.

If you are looking for a fantastic choice of holiday accommodation, Hartford Bridge is the place to visit. Whether it’s caravans, motor homes, camping, or lodges, the spacious site caters to all. A delightful variation on their camping theme is the Shepherd’s Hut, where a cozy, rustic experience on wheels awaits. A unique way to spend your holiday, the hut sleeps 1-2 people and is pet-free.

However, for other rentals, Hartford Bridge offers a large dog exercise area. Furthermore, with a recreation green and the river Tavy on its perimeter, Hartford Bridge is in a perfect position to experience life in Devon’s great outdoors.

Brentor Church, Dartmoor, England

Another view of Brent Tor overlooking the village of Brentor – Image by davidlharris from Pixabay

Visit Brent Tor In Dartmoor

Brent Tor, outside of the community of Brentor in Dartmoor, is not to be missed! Experience the history and mystery surrounded in the church and the surrounding area at any time of the year. Then, explore the beautiful surrounding area for a taste of southwest England that will leave you wanting more!

Have you ever been to Brent Tor church or have visited the area? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments below!

Read More: Dartmoor Hikes & Attractions In The Southwest of England


Some of the links in this article may contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase using these links, part of the proceeds go to Snowshoe Mag. These proceeds help us pay for site maintenance and article contributions. Additionally, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Please see our disclosure for more details.

The post Brent Tor Devon: A Tiny Dartmoor Church With A Vast Outlook appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2020/01/01/brent-tor-devon-a-tiny-dartmoor-church-with-a-vast-outlook/feed/ 0 88805
Snowshoeing & Racing Options Within Rochester, NY https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/30/snowshoeing-racing-options-within-rochester-ny/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/30/snowshoeing-racing-options-within-rochester-ny/#comments Mon, 30 Dec 2019 22:17:00 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=95052 A fresh snowfall can offer a unique experience to explore our city or countryside. One snowshoe-friendly community worth exploring after fresh snow, is Rochester, NY. The city has excellent snowshoeing conditions, as it receives an average snowfall of 95 … Continue reading

The post Snowshoeing & Racing Options Within Rochester, NY appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
A fresh snowfall can offer a unique experience to explore our city or countryside. One snowshoe-friendly community worth exploring after fresh snow, is Rochester, NY. The city has excellent snowshoeing conditions, as it receives an average snowfall of 95 inches (241 cm) per year. Explore city and county parks within Rochester to get your snowshoe fix within your own backyard! Plus, check out some of the snowshoe races connected to each park.

Read More: Snowshoeing Day Trips Near Rochester

Mendon Ponds, Rochester, NY

You may see unique trees while snowshoeing at Mendon Ponds. Photo by Jacqui Wensich


Snowshoeing Rochester City Parks & Trails


Cobb’s Hill Park & Washington Grove

Cobb’s Hill Park is located on the southeast side of the city on Culver Road and Norris Drive. Spanning 109 acres, Cobb’s Hill Park has multiple scenic hiking trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Go snowshoeing up to the highest point in the park for a spectacular view of the entire city of Rochester, NY. If you need a break, there are also shelters and lodges in the park to rest.

Located east of Cobb’s Hill Reservoir, you’ll find Washington Grove, a 100-acre undeveloped sanctuary. Snowshoe among the towering oaks and wildlife in this sanctuary in the middle of the bustling city of Rochester. Dogs are also allowed on your adventures, as long as they stay on-leash.


Erie Canal Heritage Trail

The Erie Canal Heritage Trail stretches approximately 60 miles (96.5 km) from Buffalo to Albany, New York. The trail varies in terrain and includes paved, stone dust, natural/ unfinished, and on-road sections. Traveling east along the canal from Long Pond Rd to N Main Street, the trail is paved and an easy snowshoeing option after a fresh snowfall. For additional details, consult the trail map.


Genesee Greenway Trail

The Genesee Greenway Trail, part of Genesee Valley Greenway State Park, stretches along the Genesee River for 90 miles (144.8 km) along the former Pennsylvania Railroad. You’ll travel through wetlands, woodlands, valleys, farmland, and gorges. This trail lies in an old railway bed with level terrain over cider, gravel, dirt, and grass. Beginners will enjoy traveling the sections of the trail throughout Rochester.

The Genesee Greenway Trail also intersects the Erie Canal Heritage Trail at I-390 and Genesee Valley Park. If you continue south of Rochester on the Genesee Greenway trail, you’ll snowshoe through Letchworth State Park.


Genesee Riverway Trail

The Genesee Riverway Trail provides access to 12 parks and 12 historical sites throughout Rochester, making it a sure-fire way to explore the beauty of the city. The trail is 24 miles (38.6 km) long and paved for most of the trail.  Snowshoe rentals are available at the Recreation Bureau Office at 400 Dewey Ave in the city of Rochester.


Snowshoeing Monroe County Parks Near Rochester NY


Abraham Lincoln Park

Abraham Lincoln Park is an 82-acre park located on southeast Irondequoit Bay, in the town of Penfield, 10-15 minutes east of Rochester. You can enter the park from Smith Road, Empire Boulevard, or Dayton Avenue. There are six different trails throughout the park for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing and all great for beginners, with the longest trail at 1.5 miles (2.4 km).

Besides snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, Abraham Lincoln Park is an excellent location for geocaching or hanging out with the family at the playground. If planning an event, you can also reserve the beautiful Waterfront Lodge at the park.


Black Creek Park

Spanning 1505 acres, Black Creek Park is a relatively undeveloped park but provides creek and pond access, as well as geocaching options. For snowshoers and cross-country skiers,  there are five hiking trails available. They also have shelters, two lodges, and a sledding hill. In the summer, Black Creek Park is an excellent option for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

For those interested in snowshoe racing, the Little Rodent Race and Cast A Shadow race takes place at Black Creek Park every year. The Little Rodent Race is a short 4-mile race scheduled for the morning of Feb 8, 2020. After the Little Rodent, the Cast A Shadow race, also held on Feb 8, is a 6-hour evening race with the option to run solo or relay.  Since part of the 6-hour race takes place at night, you are required to wear a headlamp. The unique aspect of Cast A Shadow is that it has a theme, which coincides with Groundhog Day. If the groundhog sees its shadow, the race is longer, and if the groundhog does not see its shadow, it’s shorter.


Durand Eastman Park

Durand Eastman Park is a 977-acre park located on the shore of Lake Ontario in the northernmost section of Rochester, by Irondequoit Bay. It has steep slopes, valleys, scenic vistas, small lakes, wooded areas, and exceptional beauty.

There are three main trails that you can use for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing, each offering a unique perspective of the park. The park also has eight shelters, one enclosed lodge, and a golf course.


Ellison Park

Ellison Park is a 447-acre park in the town of Penfield, located on Blossom Road on the east side of Route 590. The park has beautiful woodlands steep slopes and a level flood plain that is part of Irondequoit Creek. As part of your snowshoeing adventure, you can also access two sledding hills.

Seven trails are available for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Ellison Park is perfect for history lovers too since they have a replica of Fort Schuyler, an old trading post, and Butlers Ranger’s hideout.


Greece Canal Park

Greece Canal Park is a 577-acre park with four named and one unnamed trail for snowshoers and cross-country skiers. The trails in the park are an excellent option for beginners since trails are on flat or gently rolling terrain. Greece Canal Park is in the town of Greece, just 15-20 minutes north of Rochester. The park itself is south of Ridge Road (Route 104) and north of the NYS Barge Canal. You can enter the park at 24 Elmgrove Road.


Irondequoit Bay Park

Spanning 147 acres, Irondequoit Bay Park West is an entirely undeveloped park located on the southwestern shoreline of Irondequoit Bay. It’s north of Empire Boulevard and east of 590 in the Town of Irondequoit. Located just 15 minutes from Rochester, NY, seven color-coded trails intersect each other, and you can use for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.


Mendon Ponds Park

Mendon Ponds Park is the largest of Monroe County Parks, sprawling over 2500 acres. Thus, this park is an excellent option for many winter activities, including hiking, snowshoeing, and cross -country skiing.

In 1969 it was named to the National Registry of National Landmarks due to its geological history and presence of kames, eskers, and kettles. Thus, the 11 snowshoe and cross country trails in Mendon Ponds have a variety of terrain, including woodlands, ponds, wetlands, and glacially created landforms. Also, if you don’t have snowshoes, it’s no problem! You can rent snowshoes at the Wild Wings located at Mendon Ponds West near the nature center and Sheriff’s mounted patrol in the park.

Snowshoeing Trails in Mendon Ponds, Rochester, NY

Snowshoeing trails at Mendon Ponds. Photo courtesy of Jacqui Wensich

For snowshoe racers, you can compete at the Winterfest 8K Snowshoe Race held in Mendon Ponds. The race is part of the Goose Adventure Racing Series and scheduled for Jan 12, 2020. Also, for those interested in the U.S. National Championships, this race is a qualifier!


Oakta Creek Park

Oakta Creek Park is a mostly undeveloped park, and one mile of the creek runs through the park. The park is 461 acres located in the southern part of the county in the town of Wheatland, 25-min southwest from downtown Rochester. There are nine trails you can cross-country ski or snowshoe, all under 1 mile long. If interested in an event, the park also has one lodge available for rent.


Powder Mills Park

Powder Mills Park is a 380-acre park with steep hillsides, meadows, and wetlands, located 15 min southeast of Rochester in Pittsford. You can downhill ski, cross-country ski, and snowshoe in the park on the five trails available. Additionally, there are four lodges and three shelters available.


Seneca Park

Seneca Park is a 297-acre park in the northern portion of Rochester and on the east bank of the Genesee River. Explore scenic views, open fields, and a large pond, as you snowshoe on the six trails available in the park.


Tyron Park

Located on the western shore of Irondequoit Bay, Tyron Park is an 82-acre undeveloped park with scenic views. For snowshoers, the park has four color-coded trails winding throughout the park.


Webster County Park

Webster County Park is a 550-acre park with rolling terrain, lakeshore views, and pristine valleys to go snowshoeing in near Rochester, NY. The park is located on the south shore of Lake Ontario and has six lodges and six shelters.

Six trails are available for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, ranging from 0.5-1.6 miles (0.8- 2.6 km). The Rochester Cross-Country Ski Patrol grooms the cross-country ski trails. Furthermore, there is a sledding hill for family fun adventures.

Read More: Snowshoeing Day Trips Near Rochester


Snowshoe Race Series At Rochester City & County Parks


Put your snowshoeing to the test and enter a snowshoe race in the Rochester area. Personally, I have raced in several of the races listed below, and you don’t want to miss these events!

Adam Niziol Mendon Ponds 5K

The author racing at Mendon Ponds. Photo by Adam Niziol

Fleet Feet Snow Cheap Winter Trail Series

The Fleet Feet Snow Cheap Winter Trail Series, presented by Yellowjacket Racing, offers four fun mid-week snowshoe races. Participants can register for one race or the entire series. For 2020, the races will be Jan 15, Jan 29, Feb 12, and Feb 26. All races take place at night, with a start time of 6:30 pm, so you are required to use a headlamp.

Due to unpredictable conditions, you can run with snowshoes or without snowshoes. In the past, the races took place primarily at Cobb’s Hill Park. However, the races now take place at four different locations including, Mendon Ponds Park, Webster Park, Black Creek Park, and
Seneca Creek Park.


Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series

The Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series consists of five races from Jan 4 to Feb 15th.

The first race on Jan 4 is the Frozen Assets 5K race at Harriet Hollister Spencer Recreation Area. Racers are required to run in snowshoes and must meet the requirements. The track consists of groomed cross-country ski trails and ungroomed single-track trails.

The second race, as mentioned above, is the Winterfest 8K race, which takes place at Mendon Ponds Park on Jan 12, 2020. Racers will be running on a mostly groomed trail.

Frozen Assets Race- Harriet Hollister, near Rochester

A runner at Frozen Assets – Photo courtesy of Ian Webber

The third and fourth races in the series also discussed above, are the Little Rodent and the Cast-a -Shadow 6 Hour Race. Both held on Feb 8, 2020, the Little Rodent is a 4-mile (6.4 km) morning race, while the Cast-A-Shadow 6 Hour takes place in the evening, with the timing dependent on whether the groundhog sees his shadow or not.

The final race of the series is the Nordicfest 10K Race, which takes place at the Cummings Nature Center. Furthermore, this race takes place entirely in the woods on backcountry trails.

Read More: Run Rabbit, Run To Snowshoeing: Transition From Running To Snowshoe Racing

What city or county parks or trails have you gone snowshoeing at near Rochester, NY? We’d love to hear about your experience!

The post Snowshoeing & Racing Options Within Rochester, NY appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/30/snowshoeing-racing-options-within-rochester-ny/feed/ 1 95052
Top Winter Hiking Trails in the Canadian Rockies https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/27/winter-hiking-trails-in-the-canadian-rockies-kananaskis-canmore-and-banff/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/27/winter-hiking-trails-in-the-canadian-rockies-kananaskis-canmore-and-banff/#respond Fri, 27 Dec 2019 22:26:32 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=94786 We have endless options for incredible trails to hike throughout the Canadian Rockies in winter. However, if you’re only visiting the Canadian Rockies for a short vacation, you’re going to want to hike the best of the best winter trails … Continue reading

The post Top Winter Hiking Trails in the Canadian Rockies appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
We have endless options for incredible trails to hike throughout the Canadian Rockies in winter. However, if you’re only visiting the Canadian Rockies for a short vacation, you’re going to want to hike the best of the best winter trails throughout Kananaskis, Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, and Yoho National Park.

Explore my suggestions below, and you’ll find yourself hiking through beautiful snowy meadows on your way to alpine lakes and backcountry cirques. Discover frozen waterfalls as you walk through ice-filled canyons. Alternatively, climb a mountain where a coffee shop waits for you on the summit (along with a free gondola ride down!)

Spend a night or two near your chosen trailhead and discover unique accommodations and après-hike experiences that include visiting a Nordic Spa, glamping in a rustic canvas tent, or ice skating on one of the most beautiful outdoor rinks in the world.

winter hiking in Yoho National Park, British Columbia

Hiking to Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park


Winter Hiking & Snowshoeing Trails in Kananaskis


1. Troll Falls, Kananaskis Village

You can walk to Troll Falls and back in under 4 km (2.5 miles). It’s the perfect family-friendly hiking trail. Most of the time, you won’t need anything other than a pair of winter boots unless the trail is especially icy. For icy conditions, bring along a pair of Kahtoola microspikes.

Additionally, you’ll share the trail with cross-country skiers, so it’s requested that you stay out of the ski tracks. Make sure you step to the side if you see a skier coming down a hill towards you. The trail also sees fat bike use and is a popular outing for those wanting to get a feel for their snowshoes on a wide gentle trail.

Why This Hike Makes The List

The waterfalls are absolutely spectacular in winter, and if you have ice cleats or spikes, you can climb up behind them. Children will enjoy crawling behind ice curtains near the ground, and you’ll often get to watch ice climbers in action.

Troll Falls, Kananaskis, Alberta

Troll Falls is a spectacular destination in winter!

Bonus Points

Extend your hike with a trip to the Upper Falls. Backtrack a short distance from Troll Falls, heading back the way you came, until you reach a signed junction for the Upper Falls.

You’ll cross a small bridge and climb steeply uphill where you’ll want spikes or ice cleats until you reach a beautiful set of two-tiered waterfalls, the Upper Falls. Unless you know the area well, return the same way that you came once you’ve reached a sign signifying the end of the trail. The hike to the Upper Falls and back is roughly 6 km (3.7 miles).

For more information on all trails in the Kananaskis Village area, stop in at the Barrier Lake Information Centre, which you’ll pass driving out to the Village. Here you can pick up maps and find out what would be suitable for your group.

Upper Falls winter trail, Kananaskis, Alberta

Continue past Troll Falls to reach the Upper Falls

Make It An Apres Experience

Spend the night at Kananaskis Village! Book a room for a night or two at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. Here you’ll find a Nordic Spa for the adults 18+, an indoor waterpark for the children, several restaurants, and a wide assortment of on-site activities. There are many hiking trails around the Village, and you can also enjoy a beautiful skate under the stars on the Village ice skating pond.

Read More: Apres-Snowshoe: A First-Timer’s Guide

Pomeroy Lodge- Kananaskis, Alberta

Glide under the stars on the skating pond at the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge

Whether you spend the night or not near Troll Falls, I highly recommend finishing your day at the Nordic Spa at the Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. At the lodge, you can spend hours alternating between outdoor hot, warm, and cold pools, saunas, and steam rooms. Or, relax in their heated hammocks.

Reservations are not needed unless you want to book a treatment while there. Weekends can be busy, though, and there may be wait times. Visit their website for more information.

If you’re hiking with children or youth under 18, I recommend stopping at the village to warm up at the Market Café. You can also take a spin around the ice skating pond, visit the sledding hill, or take a walk on any of the trails around the lodge. We finish most of our hikes in this area in front of the big fireplace inside the Mountain Lodge. There, we can relax with cups of coffee and cookies from the café.

Kananaskis Lodge Nordic Spa, Alberta

One of the hot pools at the Kananaskis Lodge Nordic Spa


2. Rawson Lake and Upper Kananaskis Lake, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

Further along Highway 40, you’ll come to Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, where there are dozens of snowshoe trails. Stop in at the PLPP Visitor Centre to pick up a trail brochure and to get suggestions for the current conditions.

Of all the trails around the Upper and Lower Kananaskis Lakes, Rawson Lake Trail is my favourite. Plus, you can reach the lake in an 8 km (5 miles) round-trip hike.

Read More: Winter Exploring in Alberta’s Provincial Parks

Why This Hike Makes The List

You’ll gain 320 metres (1050 feet) of height, but the trail never feels overly steep. The trail gets well packed down and is always wide enough that you shouldn’t fear getting lost in the snow.

The first 1.2 km (0.7 miles) takes you along the shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake on the scenic Lakeshore Trail, where you’ll pass by Sarrail Falls on a wooden bridge.  Once you get to the junction of Rawson Lake, the trail begins to climb for the final 2.7 km (1.7 miles.)

Enjoy the stunning scenery at Rawson Lake, but don’t go any further once you reach the lake, or you’ll be in avalanche terrain. If you have eyes on Sarrail Ridge, plan to return in the summer.

I recommend bringing snowshoes for this hike, and if you don’t need them, you can strap them to your backpack. You’ll definitely want them once you arrive at the lake if you step off the main trail.

Additional Trail Notes

If you like to use the All Trails website or app for your navigation, the distance and height are incorrect for this trail. The height gain is only 320 metres, not 600 metres.

Rawson Lake, Kananaskis, Alberta

Rawson Lake is a gorgeous destination in winter for snowshoeing in Kananaskis


3. Chester Lake, Peter Lougheed Provincial Park

Chester Lake is a multi-use winter area with a designated snowshoe trail and a separate backcountry ski trail. Please use the snowshoe trail if hiking, even if the ski trail appears to be more packed down. The hike to the lake is 9.2 km round-trip (5.7 miles) with 300 metres height gain (984 feet.)

To reach Chester Lake, from the Upper Kananaskis Lake area, turn on to the Spray Lakes Road, Highway 742, which will take you into the Spray Valley. You can also access this highway from Canmore.

Why This Hike Makes The List

I honestly believe this is one of the most beautiful snowshoe trails in all of Kananaskis and Banff combined. The distance is doable, even with children, and the trail grade is never overly steep. You’ll get a workout climbing to the lake, but you shouldn’t feel like you’re climbing a mountain.

Before you reach the lake, you’ll be rewarded with an amazingly scenic walk through alpine meadows. This beautiful walk is the highlight of the trip, and even if you only get this far, it’s still worth it. If you go the full distance to the lake, make sure you don’t start climbing slopes beyond the lake, or you’ll be in avalanche terrain. Stay on the lakeshore, and you’re fine.

Chester Lake, Kananaskis, Alberta

The Chester Lake Trail is one of my favorite hikes in the Canadian Rockies on a clear day

Bonus Points

Make the trip more comfortable with children and bring a sled. We towed a sled behind us when our son was younger and told him that if he made it to the meadows, we’d let him ride down. My husband guided the sled from behind,  driving it in front of him with a rope. I’d recommend helmets for this wild ride through tight trees.

Additional Trail Notes

This trail is another trail where the All Trails website/app has the wrong height gain. You’ll only be climbing 300 metres, not 400 metres.

Also, you’ll want snowshoes for this trail. The Spray Valley receives a tremendous amount of snow in winter.

example of using a sled, Chester Lake Trail, Alberta

Using a sled is the fun way to descend the Chester Lake trail with children (bring helmets!)


4. Rummel Lake, Spray Valley Provincial Park

Further along Highway 742, you’ll come to the turn off for Mount Engadine Lodge. Park on the right-hand side of the highway if coming from the south, and you’ll be able to see a well-packed trail climbing up the bank. This unofficial trail takes you to a beautiful bench looking over the Spray Valley. Beyond, you can access Rummel Lake, where there is a backcountry campground for winter use.

You’ll hike 1.8 km (1.1 miles) to reach the bench, gaining half of your total height. From here, turn left on the High Rockies Trail until you come to the junction with the Rummel Lake Trail. The trail is more gradual from this point on.

The All Trails website indicates that the round trip distance is 11 km, but it’s a 10 km round trip (6.2 miles.) You’ll also gain 421 metres (1381 feet) of height total on the trip.

Rummel Lake, Kananaskis, Alberta

This scenic bench is a highlight of the hike to Rummel Lake

Why This Hike Made The List

If you’re staying at Mount Engadine Lodge, this is the closest and best hike you can do from the lodge, returning in time for afternoon tea. I also love the views from the bench looking over the valley, and the trail is much less crowded than the ones to Rawson or Chester Lake. If you want a more remote/backcountry hike, this is your trail!

Additional Trail Notes

Stop hiking when you reach the lake to stay out of avalanche terrain. Snowshoes are highly recommended. If the trail is well packed down, you can always strap your snowshoes to your backpack.

Rummel Lake winter hike, Kananaskis

For a backcountry hike, Rummel Lake is your trail!

Make It An Apres Experience

Spend the night in the Spray Valley! If you’re hiking anywhere in the Spray Valley, I recommend a night or two at Mount Engadine Lodge. Here, you can choose from cozy lodge rooms, pet-friendly suites, or one or two-bedroom cabins. For a glamping experience, stay in one of their new canvas wall glamping tents. There’s also an affordable yurt on-site if you want to keep costs low and enjoy winter camping.

All stays at Mount Engadine Lodge include afternoon tea with a charcuterie board and desserts once you arrive. Plus, you’ll receive a gourmet dinner that evening, breakfast the next day, and a packed lunch for your adventures.

Read More: Mount Engadine Lodge: Alberta’s Front Country Lodge With Backcountry Charm 

Whether you stay overnight at Mount Engadine Lodge or not, you can still pop in for afternoon tea after your hike. The cost is CAD 17.50 per person, and it’s well worth planning a walk near the lodge so that you can finish your outing here. You can find more information on their website.

Glamping at Mount Engadine Lodge, Alberta

The new glamping tents at Mount Engadine Lodge are decadent, and a stay includes all meals!


Winter Hiking & Snowshoeing Trails Around Canmore


1. Ha Ling Peak

The newly redesigned and improved Ha Ling Peak Trail in Canmore climbs 800 metres (2600 feet) with a round-trip distance of 8 km (5 miles.) Brin good ice cleats or microspikes with you for this one. I also highly recommend a pair of trekking poles to help with balance on the final scramble to the summit.

The Ha Ling trail is well-maintained for the first 3.5 km (2.2 miles) to the saddle where you can look down over the Town of Canmore. Challenging sections have had wooden staircases built to make the ascent more manageable and to prevent your bum sliding on the descent. However, the final 400 metres of distance (0.2 miles) climbs 100 metres of height in a rough scramble through uneven, loose rock. Either turn around at the saddle or carry on if you have spikes and experience on rough terrain.

Why This Hike Made The List

Ha Ling Peak is a classic “first summit” that many people tackle when they visit the Canadian Rockies. It is a local favorite as well, and many people hike or run this trail regularly year-round. It is always well packed down, and there’s little chance of getting lost.

The views from the top are spectacular, and you don’t have to reach the summit for great views. Plus, the newly re-designed trail has several viewpoints along the way if you have an energy crash part way up or realize the trail is too challenging.

Ha Ling Peak winter hike- Canmore, Alberta

Ha Ling Peak is an excellent summit for year-round hiking in Canmore


2. Grotto Canyon Or Grassi Lakes 

If you’re staying in Canmore and want to get out for a walk, but don’t quite feel like climbing a mountain, there are other great hiking options. Try out the popular Grotto Canyon or Grassi Lakes trails as an alternative. You’ll want ice cleats or spikes for both trails, and they will be well-packed down, so you should not need snowshoes.

Highlights of the Grotto Canyon Trail include frozen waterfalls and the opportunity to hike on a frozen canyon floor of solid ice. If hiking to Grassi Lakes, make sure you choose the “easy trail” which is a wide road. The harder trail is for use in summer only.

Read More: Frozen Waterfalls and Ice Walks In Banff National Park

Grotto Creek Canyon, Canmore, Alberta

Grotto Creek Canyon is an excellent hike for the family near Canmore

Make It An Apres Experience

Spend the night in Canmore! There are many options for accommodations in this mountain town. Alternately, hike one of the trails near Canmore on your way out from Calgary. Then, keep driving up the Spray Lakes Road past the Ha Ling Trailhead, Highway 742, towards Mount Engadine Lodge for the night.

There is no shortage of cafés, pubs, or cozy restaurants where you can warm up at the end of your hike in town. My personal favourite place is the Grizzly Paw Pub and Brewing Company on the main street. Here you’ll find a wide assortment of locally brewed craft beer and a menu with delicious food. The pub is also family-friendly.

Ha Ling Trail winter hike, Canmore, Alberta

Canmore is a fabulous destination to visit in winter (photo: the saddle on the Ha Ling Trail)


Winter Hiking & Snowshoeing through Banff


1. Sulphur Mountain and the Banff Gondola

Moving west towards Banff, I love hiking to the top of Sulphur Mountain in winter because you can ride down on the Banff Gondola for free if you’ve hiked up. You’ll definitely want ice cleats or spikes for this hike. Also, make sure you bring some money along for coffee or lunch on top of Sulpher Mountain at the café. In addition to the cafe, there’s an incredible interpretive museum up top that children will love.

The hike up Sulphur Mountain is approximately 5 km (3.1 miles) one way with around 700 metres (2297 feet) of height gain. The trail is well switchbacked and never overly steep. Most parties should be able to make the hike up in 2.5 hours at most, which is in time for a nice lunch at the summit.

winter hike Sulphur Mountain, Banff

Children love the Banff Gondola! Hike up and get a free ride down!

Why This Hike Made The List

How often do you climb a mountain and get a free ride down without having to hike back to the bottom? I also don’t know too many hiking trails with a coffee shop on top.

Additional Trail Notes

Check the Banff trail report before you drive out to the trailhead for this one. If conditions are exceptionally high for avalanche risk, they may close the trail. Usually, though, it is open through the winter.

Sulphur Mountain, Banff

Sulphur Mountain is an excellent hike to the top of the Banff Gondola


2. Johnston Canyon

The trailhead for Johnston Canyon is half an hour west of the Town of Banff on the Highway 1A. It’s easiest to take the TransCanada Highway to Castle Junction and then backtrack on the 1A. There is a large parking lot here, and this is one of the most popular trails in Banff! You won’t be alone on this trail unless you choose a day when it’s -30C (-22F) – which I have done, and it was very peaceful.

The trail visits two sets of gorgeous waterfalls for a quick trip. You can reach the Upper Falls in just over 5 km (3 miles) round trip, and the elevation gain is only 200 metres (700 feet). Thus, this is an excellent hike for the whole family, or for an outing with friends who don’t hike a lot in winter.

Read More: A Winter Explorers Guide To The Best of Banff National Park

Johnston Canyon winter hike, Banff

Metal catwalks, frozen waterfalls, and a cave make the  Johnston Canyon Trail a crowd-pleaser!

Why This Hike Made The List

This hike is a popular choice, and my only complaint with it is that it often feels quite busy. Go early in the day if you want to get a jump on the crowds. The waterfalls are spectacular, and you get to crawl through a small cave to view the first set of falls. The creek is also quite beautiful with many smaller frozen cascades.

You’ll definitely want ice cleats or spikes because the trail gets very packed down and icy. Don’t try to wear snowshoes because there are several metal catwalks that you’ll have to cross, and they are more accessible with the ice cleats.

Read More: Frozen Waterfalls and Ice walks in Banff National Park 

Upper Falls Johnston Canyon, Banff

The Upper Falls of Johnston Canyon is beautiful in winter!


3. Rock Isle Lake at Sunshine Meadows

If you’d like to join a guided snowshoe hike, I highly recommend the outing to Sunshine Meadows at the Sunshine Village Ski Resort. You’ll enjoy both a scenic gondola and chairlift ride to reach a viewpoint above Rock Isle Lake. Then, you can have an easy hike down to the lake and back to the Village. The tour that I took finished with cheese fondue in the hotel lounge in the upper village. For more information, visit the White Mountain Adventures website.

Read More: Snowshoe and Ski Vacations for the whole family at Sunshine Village Resort


Make It An Apres Experience

Spend the night in Banff! There are many options for accommodations in this mountain town, and you should be able to find something for any budget. Last winter, we stayed at the Canalta Lodge in town and loved the outdoor patio with hot tubs, a sauna, and fire pits.  We’ve also enjoyed stays at the Douglas Fir Resort, where children will love the indoor swimming pool with waterslides.

For a nice apres outing, take a walk along the main street of Banff, and you’ll find no shortage of fantastic pubs, restaurants, or cafés where you can warm up. We especially love the Banff Ave Brewing Company and the St. James Gate Irish Pub (both family-friendly pubs.)

Families will find a couple of ice rinks in town (one on the main street and one near Bow Falls), and there is also a sledding hill by the Bow Falls rink. There’s often an oval cleared off for skating on the Bow River in town as well, which is fun.

Read More: A Winter Explorer’s Guide to the Best of Banff National Park 

winter hike Sunshine Meadows, Banff, Alberta

Snowshoeing on top of the world at Sunshine Meadows in Banff


Winter Hiking & Snowshoeing Around Lake Louise


1.Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail (Hike + Skate Combo)

Bring your snowshoes and your ice skates for a rare opportunity at Lake Louise Lakeshore Trail! Skate on a gorgeous mountain lake, then hike to the far end of the lake to see frozen waterfalls 100 metres (328 feet) tall. The hike is only 4 km round-trip (2.5 miles) and is completely flat as you walk across the snow-covered lake.

You can also cross-country ski across the lake, and there’s a fun sledding hill beside the lake for the children.

Why This Hike Made The List

There’s a reason Lake Louise is a major tourist destination. On a bluebird day, you’ll be awe-struck by the views of Mt. Victoria and the glacier at the far end of the lake. The lake only gets a few hours of sunshine in the winter, so make sure you time your visit to arrive mid-morning before the lake falls into shadow by afternoon. I took most of my best photos around 11 am.

Lake Louise winter hike to waterfalls, Banff, Alberta

Hike across snow-covered Lake Louise to see this beautiful set of frozen waterfalls


2 Additional Hiking Options At Lake Louise

Parks Canada lists a plethora of other trails in the area that are popular for snowshoeing and winter hiking. Some of the trails have avalanche danger when conditions are high, so it’s always a good idea to stop in at the Visitor Centre in the Village for up to date information.


Make It An Apres Experience

Spend the night at Lake Louise! If budget is no option, you’ll want to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise situated right on the lakeshore with the best views.

For most folks, though, you’ll need to find something a tad more affordable, and for my family, that means staying at the HI Lake Louise Alpine Centre, a comfortable hostel with private rooms and cooking facilities. Alternatively, if you’d like something in between decadence and hosteling, there are several other hotels and resorts in the area.

winter hiking Lake Louise, Alberta

Hike or ski across Lake Louise with views of Mount Victoria and glaciers all around you

Depending on where you finish your hike, there are several delicious options in the area for beverages and snacks after your hike. At the lake, take a walk around inside the Chateau Lake Louise. If you want to splurge, I highly recommend the traditional afternoon tea where you’ll find tea, pastries and finger sandwiches. Furthermore, you can relax in a beautiful dining room with huge picture windows overlooking the lake.

For something more casual, we love Laggan’s Coffee Shop down in the Village (the baking is to die for) or the Outpost, a great family-friendly pub in the basement of the Post Hotel. The Outpost is a personal favourite where you can warm up with drinks and appetizers in front of their fireplace while sitting on comfy sofas.

Read More: Winter Activity Guide to the Best of Lake Louise 

Lake Louise, Alberta- Ice Skating

Enjoy skating on one of the world’s most beautiful ice rinks at Lake Louise


Winter Hiking in Yoho National Park


1.Emerald Lake Trail

From Lake Louise, it’s only a 30-minute drive to Emerald Lake Trail in Yoho National Park. This beautiful lake is an excellent destination for a leisurely snowshoe hike. The loop around the lake is only 5.3 km (3.3 miles) with no height gain.

After you’ve hiked around the lake, you can also hike up to Hamilton Falls in a 2 km (1.2 miles) round trip. If you consult the map, you’ll also see a short trail leading across a bridge to “Peaceful Pond” behind the Emerald Lake Lodge. Peaceful Pond is a short trail, but you’ll get lovely photos on the bridge where it’s a true winter wonderland.

Read More: Winter Guide To Yoho National Park, British Columbia, Canada

winter hiking Emerald Lake, British Columbia

Snowshoeing across Emerald Lake is an easy hike for the whole family

Why This Hike Made The List

The Emerald Lake Trail made our list because it’s Emerald Lake, equally as spectacular as Lake Louise for scenery. Also, there’s a fantastic lodge here that you should consider spending at least a night at if possible. The lodge offers a luxurious stay in one of their cabins with gourmet meals in the dining room (not included in the price.)

I especially love Emerald Lake because you get all the scenery of Lake Louise with only a third of the crowds. For example, hike up to Hamilton Falls or start walking around the lake, and you’ll likely only see a few other small groups of hikers.

natural bridge at Emerald Lake, British Columbia

Make sure you stop in at the Natural Bridge on your  drive up to Emerald Lake


2. Wapta Falls

From Lake Louise, it’s about a 45-minute drive to the turn off for Wapta Falls as you head towards the Town of Golden. In the winter, you can only drive as far as the side road that leads to the trailhead. Thus, you have to hike an extra 2 km (1.2 miles)  to reach the trailhead for a total distance of 8.7 km (5.4 miles) round trip from the highway.

When you park at the entrance to the turnoff for Wapta Falls, there’s only space for a few vehicles. The start of the hike is easy, and the broad road is flat. Once you reach the official trailhead, you’ll begin to climb a bit. However, the trail is never steep until you reach the final descent down to the river and the waterfalls. In total, there are only 126 metres of height gain (413 feet), so this is an excellent hike for the whole family.

Wapta Falla, Yoho National Park, BC

It’s an easy hike on the summer road to the trailhead for Wapta Falls

Snowshoes are recommended unless the trail is well-packed down when it may be easier to wear ice cleats or spikes. Furthermore, you’ll want something for grip on your feet on the final hill down to the river. Consider bringing a rolled-up crazy carpet as well if you’re going to play around on the big snowy hill in front of the falls.

Why This Hike Made The List

Wapta Falls are seriously gorgeous, the hike is easy, and you can walk right up to the falls when they’re frozen. The snowy mound in front is also a lot of fun to play around on. All in all, this is one of my favorite hikes in the Canadian Rockies for a relaxed, fun day.

winter hike, Wapta Falls, Yoho National Park, Canadian Rockies

Wapta Falls is a gorgeous destination for a winter hike in Yoho National Park


Make It An Apres Experience

Spend the night in Yoho National Park! The Emerald Lake Lodge is one of my favorite resorts in the Canadian Rockies for ski or snowshoe-in/out accommodations. Walk out the door of your cabin, and you’re immediately on the Lakeshore Trail. Additionally, there’s a great outdoor hot tub here for warming up in after your hikes.

Read More: Snowshoeing Paradise at Emerald Lake Lodge 

Whether you stay overnight at Emerald Lake or visit for the day, make sure you stop in at the lodge after your hike to warm up in front of the fireplace in the lounge with a hot drink or two. If you’re spending the night here, I recommend borrowing a board game or deck of cards to enjoy in front of the fireplace as well.

Emerald Lake Lodge, Yoho National Park

Spend a night or two at Emerald Lake Lodge if you’re in Yoho National Park


Other Areas to Explore in the Canadian Rockies this Winter


Explore the Icefields Parkway – there are many beautiful hikes along the Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper National Park. My favourite stops include Mosquito Creek, Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, Panther Falls, the Columbia Icefields Centre, and Tangle Falls.

Head south to Waterton Lakes National Park, where you’ll find solitude for days!

Drive north to Jasper National Park, where you’ll find beautiful snowshoe and ski trails in a quieter town that’s more off the beaten path than Banff.

Head west to the Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia and Radium Hot Springs for a few days of soaking and hiking.

What’s your favorite trail in these areas?


Some of the links in this article may contain affiliate links. When a purchase is made using these links, part of the proceeds go to Snowshoe Mag. These proceeds help us pay for site maintenance and article contributions. Additionally, as an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Please see our disclosure for more details.

The post Top Winter Hiking Trails in the Canadian Rockies appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/27/winter-hiking-trails-in-the-canadian-rockies-kananaskis-canmore-and-banff/feed/ 0 94786
Chiropractor Approved Injury Prevention Tips for Snowshoers https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/20/chiropractor-approved-snowshoeing-injury-prevention/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/20/chiropractor-approved-snowshoeing-injury-prevention/#respond Fri, 20 Dec 2019 17:41:09 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=94906 Every part of nature is amazingly beautiful. We are always excited to experience and sometimes watch how the rain falls, the snow stacks, and the sun rises and sets. While nature is beautiful and something all should experience, it’s also … Continue reading

The post Chiropractor Approved Injury Prevention Tips for Snowshoers appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
Every part of nature is amazingly beautiful. We are always excited to experience and sometimes watch how the rain falls, the snow stacks, and the sun rises and sets. While nature is beautiful and something all should experience, it’s also imperative to be mindful of some of the safety precautions for injury prevention, especially when snowshoeing and in cold weather.

Below is some general information on snowshoeing’s impact and safety tips to protect the body from injury, especially your back. However, you can also visit your local chiropractor to gain more information.

cabin covered in snow

Photo by Fabian Mardi on Unsplash

What is Snowshoeing?

In Alaska, there is something many of us like to do, and it’s called snowshoeing. Snowshoeing is a form of low aerobic exercise that incorporates hiking, walking, or even running if that’s what you prefer to do.

Some forms of engagement categorize it as a type of sport, and as a chiropractor located in the heart of Wasilla, I see many clients that snowshoe each year.

Additionally, there are options to snowshoe on trails. You can go off-trail, walk many miles at a time, or run and race through the woods competing. It’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into before you engage, no matter how you go about venturing into this activity.

Is Snowshoeing Dangerous?

Like any activity that we as humans have the luxury of engaging in, there are always risks. Thus, sometimes individual sports, forms of exercise, or activities, including snowshoeing, can cause harm or injuries if we aren’t mindful of the cautions.

While snowshoeing isn’t considered dangerous per se, there are some tips I can supply as a chiropractor for injury prevention and let you in on just what to expect on your adventure.

Can Snowshoeing Hurt My Wrists?

The hands and wrists generally tend to be affected when snowshoeing. Chiropractic care is known for treating spines and all things spine-related, but it’s beneficial to know that we also treat pain and trauma that come upon other parts of the body, such as the hands and wrists.

When snowshoeing, you have the option to use poles, which further activate and call on the hands, wrists, and arms to cooperate. However, it can be stressful holding poles for miles at a time, especially when they aren’t necessarily straight throughout the length of that timeframe.

Read More: Snowshoeing For Improved Fitness With Nordic Walking Poles

The muscles, ligaments, and bones beneath can grow tired and strained depending on how much and how long you snowshoe, whether chiropractic care is an option you choose or not. Without proper stretching and handling of those sensitive areas of the body, injuries are more likely to occur.

snowshoeing- proper posture to prevent injuries

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Can Snowshoeing Hurt My Back?

Snowshoeing can indeed bring strain to the back, which can then cause pain. Some of the most common snow sports injuries include but aren’t limited to:

  • Strains

  • Sprains

  • Fractures

  • Knee injuries

  • Dislocations

  • Concussions

  • Spinal injuries

According to OrthoInfo, there are some tips one can take to help prevent some of these injuries from occurring.

  • Always wear the appropriate gear

  • Check the weather forecast for storms and abnormal weather, including avalanche risk

  • Engage in winter sports, including snowshoeing, in groups, never alone

  • If your body is tired, don’t overextend yourself. Make sure you heed to the need for rest and replenishing. Injuries often occur due to pushing the body too far and sometimes too fast.

  • Maintain exercise outside of the sport, ensuring that the rest of the body is strong enough to endure whatever you’re taking the body through.

  • Learn the rules and etiquette to whatever the sport and be sure to take heed to all of them

  • Wear the appropriate dress code and plenty of layers. Laying will ensure that the body doesn’t grow stiff, is warm, and the muscles are as relaxed as can be to move and operate as needed freely. Stiff muscles lead to torn muscles when used without the proper warming and stretching of the body when engaging in such exercise.

  • Stay hydrated, especially during your engagement

Following these tips will help with injury prevention while out snowshoeing. However, if you’re already injured, actively recovering from a previous injury, or if you do get injured, there is always help and healing in the form of chiropractic care that your local chiropractor can provide.

traditional snowshoes

Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

What Are Some Ways to Prevent Pain?

The health of your back and spine is key to a healthy body and a healthy life. When snowshoeing, you need to know how to help prevent any long-term damage done to the back. Some injury prevention tips to use when snowshoeing include:

  • Take breaks every half a mile to a mile

  • Stretch before you begin walking/hiking/competing

  • Maintain proper posture and do not slouch

  • Choose the slopes wisely and always consider your health before taking certain risks

  • In case of falling be sure you know how to approach the ground in a safe way

With or without poles, it’s easy to slouch when tired or if carrying extra weight and equipment. Thus, it’s essential to maintain proper posture. Neglecting to maintain a proper posture could bring about an injury. The more the back is slouched, and the spine is out of alignment, the higher the chance you have of bringing extra strain to the back.

Read More: Back To Basics: Back Exercises For Snowshoers

In addition to posture, it’s essential to be mindful of the weather, which can play a role in some injuries. Some falls can occur when hiking in the snow or ice, and sometimes those falls entail injuries where you’re unable to get right back up. Furthermore, a fall can mean your gear gets wet, your gloves come off, and your body experiences stress, which can result in frostbite, hypothermia, and beyond.

Whether you fall and trip or fall due to an ankle twist or shoulder dislocation, pay attention, and be sure you follow the tips given for injury prevention to protect your body while snowshoeing.

Read More: How To Prevent Ankle Pain Before Snowshoeing

Overall

Your safety while snowshoeing is important. Before you engage in snowshoeing, please be sure you see a chiropractor and receive any treatment that could benefit you. Begin with a properly aligned spine and know the tools to better maintain good posture and prevent injuries, whether you’re at home or in the snow.

Read More: Top 5 Safety Tips While Snowshoeing

The post Chiropractor Approved Injury Prevention Tips for Snowshoers appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/20/chiropractor-approved-snowshoeing-injury-prevention/feed/ 0 94906
Snowshoeing High In The Midwest: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/19/snowshoeing-in-midwest/ https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/19/snowshoeing-in-midwest/#respond Thu, 19 Dec 2019 18:03:00 +0000 https://www.snowshoemag.com/?p=94840 I like looking down from high places. To do so is exhilarating, provides lovely views, and makes me feel like I am on top of the world….as long as it’s not too high. But no worries about snowshoeing too high … Continue reading

The post Snowshoeing High In The Midwest: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
I like looking down from high places. To do so is exhilarating, provides lovely views, and makes me feel like I am on top of the world….as long as it’s not too high. But no worries about snowshoeing too high in the Midwest. Most elevations in this area are not anywhere as high as places in the east and west.

Comparing Elevations Across The U.S.

Our highest elevation in Wisconsin is Timm’s Hill at 1,951.5 feet (594.8 m) above sea level, while Michigan’s highest is Mount Arvon in the Upper Peninsula at 1,979 feet (603 m). In Minnesota, Eagle Mountain, at 2,301 feet (701 m), is located in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Superior National Forest.

Timms Hill Tower- north central Wisconsin, snowshoeing in Midwest

The author, as he’s coming down from Timm’s Hill Tower after satisfying his need to see the area from up high.

Midwest mountains/hills are a much lower elevation in comparison to the highest elevation in the east. For example, Mount Mitchel sits at 6,684 feet (2037 m) in the Appalachian Mountains, and in the continental west, Mount Whitney in the Sierra Mountains of California rises to 14,494 feet (4417.7m).

However, the biggest mountain in the United States is in the Alaska Range. Located in Denali National Park, Denali (also called Mount McKinley) has an elevation of 20,310 feet (6190 m).

There is really no comparison as to what part of the country is highest in elevation. It surely is not the Midwest. So I am safe snowshoeing not too high where I come from in Wisconsin.

Read More: Snowshoeing In The Midwest (A Little Different Than East or West)

Brady's Bluff, Minnesota

A view of Trempealeau Mountain and the Mississippi River from the top of Brady’s Bluff

High Elevation Snowshoeing In The Midwest

I will introduce you to a half dozen select locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Here, you can get up high on snowshoes….but not too high.


In the Cheesehead State – Snowshoeing In Wisconsin

High elevation snowshoe areas in Wisconsin, including Timm’s Hill and Brady’s Bluff, offer extraordinary views of the vast forests and Mississippi valley.

Timm’s Hill

Located about 3 ½ miles (5.6 km) from the town of Ogema in northcentral Wisconsin is Timm’s Hill. Surprisingly, you would never know it to be the highest elevation in the state since Timm’s Hill County Park, and the surrounding area is nearly as high in altitude as the actual hill itself.

Unlike Wisconsin’s Rib Mountain (elevation 1,942 feet, 592 m)) where there is a marked distance of several hundred feet from the highest elevation to the land below, there is very little distance at Timm’s hill. Thus Timm’s Hill appears to be lower and Rib Mountain higher.

Read More: Snowshoeing On A Wisconsin Mountain (Rib Mountain)

Timm's Hill Trail signage

Signage pointing out the winter trails in the Timm’s Hill area

When I first visited Timm’s Hill, I looked for a high hill that stood out among the terrain but could never see any such rise. I parked my car in the park’s parking lot and hiked about 300 yards to a wooden observation tower. When I climbed the 50-foot (15m) tower, I could see the natural beauty of a mixed conifer and deciduous forest for miles.

Once I satisfied my craving for heights and took in the views, I climbed down from the tower and enjoyed snowshoeing around the 220-acre county park (see map). Bass Lake lies to the south of the hill where hemlock trees shelter part of this charming trail. To the north of the hill is a trail running along the south end of Timm’s Lake. Unique to the area is the 10-mile Timm’s Hill National Trail that connects with the Ice Age Trail and is accessible for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

Read More: Snowshoeing The Ice Age Scenic Trail

Brady’s Bluff

A high place that offers a magnificent view looking down on the Mississippi River Valley is a hidden gem of a hill called Brady’s Bluff in Wisconsin’s Perrot State Park. Located three miles from the small village of Trempealeau, this 1,270-acre park has been a favorite location of mine in all seasons. I have camped there and hiked on their many scenic trails.

Brady's Bluff- Minnesota- Snowshoeing in Midwest

A couple catching a breathtaking view of the Mississippi River and Minnesota bluffs on the other side from atop Brady’s Bluff

In winter, snowshoeing is popular along those trails. My favorite hike is on any one of three Brady’s Bluff Trails – east, west, or north. Going to the top offers a breathtaking scene of the Mississippi River along with a view of the Minnesota bluffs and nearby Trempealeau Mountain. It is a steep hike up the 460-foot (140 m) hill that leads to the summit, but well worth the climb. A rustic shelter sits atop the hill providing a beautiful resting spot. Nearby Perrot Ridge also affords a nice vista from on top of its hill.

Perrot State Park has 12 ½ miles (20 km) of hiking trails, with several miles of trails groomed for cross-country skiing when snow conditions are favorable. Snowshoeing is allowed on any trail not groomed for skiing.


In Viking Territory – Minnesota

At high elevations in Minnesota, experience the gorgeous landscape of ravines, valleys at Great River Bluffs State Park, and frozen waterfalls and Lake Superior at Split Rock Lighthouse.

Great River Bluffs State Park

On the Minnesota side of the Mississippi River are bluff overlooks situated within the Great River Bluffs State Park. This 2,835-acre park is located about five miles (8 km) west of La Crescent and sits high up on bluffs in the southeastern part of the state.

A unique landscape of the park includes prairies, fields, and hardwood and pine forests. Over six miles (9.6 km) of trails in the park are groomed for skiing, and snowshoeing is permitted anywhere in the park except on groomed trails. I found the trail that runs parallel to the bluff’s edge to be enjoyable for snowshoeing.

Great River Bluffs State Park MN

Catching a view of the Mississippi River Valley from the East Overlook at Great River Bluffs State Park

Unique to the Mississippi River valley in this area is the bluffs and coulees (ravines and valleys between hills). These features provide a gorgeous landscape in all seasons from below and above. When in the Great River Bluffs State Park, trails will lead to four bluff overlooks that offer captivating views of the river valley.

The North Overlook and South Overlook are less than 0.2 of a mile (0.3 km) apart and close to the main parking lot. The East Overlook is about a mile (1.6 km) east of the lot and passes by the campground. The King’s Bluff Trail is a picturesque one ¼-mile (2 km) hike through the King’s and Queen’s Bluff Scenic and Natural Area, with interpretive signage along the way to the King’s Bluff Overlook.

Snowshoeing to any of the four overlooks will provide a quality adventure with spectacular views. Park officials advise taking caution when hiking on trails to overlooks or along steep slopes.

Read More: Snowshoeing Minnesota’s Scenic Bluff Country

Great River Bluffs State Park, Minnesota

Scenic forest fog in Great River Bluffs State Park. Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Split Rock Lighthouse

A delightful sight for me was looking out at majestic Lake Superior. Along its rocky-bluff coastline from atop a 130-foot (39.6 m) cliff sits the Split Rock Lighthouse. On the North Shore of Minnesota just off state Highway 61 near Two Harbors is the Split Rock Lighthouse Historic Site (also a National Historic Landmark) and the 2,200-acre Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

Although the lighthouse site is open year-round, the lighthouse and interior of the historic buildings are not open in winter. However, the Split Rock Lighthouse grounds around the lighthouse and buildings are free for roaming on snowshoes, as well as for catching a spectacular view of Lake Superior. With limited hours in winter, the Visitor Center is open for checking out exhibits and visiting the museum store.

Split Rock Lighthouse MN

An icy scene of Lake Superior with Split Rock Lighthouse atop a 130-foot cliff. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

For getting more use out of your snowshoes, take advantage of the state park’s trails that lead to frozen waterfalls and other remarkable lake scenes. The Little Two Harbors Trail is a 3/4-mile (1.2 km) hike from the Trail Center and is great for taking in views of the shoreline, an island, and a small fishing village.

Additionally, for the more robust snowshoer, there is a four ½-mile (7.2 km) loop along a rugged footpath on the Superior Hiking Trail to frozen waterfalls. Park officials say to stick to trails because ice is never safe.

Read More: Snowshoe Minnesota’s North Shore: State Parks & The Superior Hiking Trail

Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota

Split Rock Lighthouse, Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay


In Yooperland – Upper Michigan

Snowshoeing to high elevations in upper Michigan offers solitude, history, and a winter wonderland of grand sights of the snow-capped forests and bluffs.

Read More: What’s a Yooper and What’s A Yooper Doing On Snowshoes?

Fayette Historic State Park

Tucked away on a peninsula in Upper Michigan that juts into Big Bay de Noc on the north end of Lake Michigan is a historic park that partially surrounds a small bay. Located in this park was once a booming iron smelting industry and community. Now it is a ghost town.

Fayette Historic State Park, located on the southeast end of the Garden Peninsula, has 711 acres with remnants of 20 old buildings and smelting furnace ruins that border Snail Shell Harbor. There are also a campground, boat docks, and visitor center. Distinctive to the park is mixed hardwood and conifer forest with old-growth cedars, which sits atop a stately limestone bluff that spans the east side of the harbor.

Fayette Historical State Park MI

Snowshoeing among the ruins at Fayette Historic State Park with the harbor and limestone bluff in the background

Of particular interest to the winter enthusiast is 5 miles (8 km) of hiking trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. However, few people visit the park in winter, providing the snowshoer some solitude and tranquility. On my visit, I snowshoed among the buildings and marveled at the silence of the harbor, knowing that over a century ago, this small town hustled with sights and sounds of an active community.

I then began climbing a mile-long trail that took me to the top of the bluff. Here, I was able to get my fix of views from high places. Below me were the harbor ghost town and Big Bay de Noc. Thus, I was rewarded with grand sights from up high in four lookout areas along the trail, each with a unique perspective. Furthermore, exploring history adds to the quality of a snowshoeing hike. In this area, Fayette Historic State Park offers a quality hike well worth the visit.

Trap Hills

For solitude and a good workout snowshoeing to high places, the Trap Hills in the Ottawa National Forest is undoubtedly the place. Located in northwest Upper Michigan, this 34-mile (54.7 km) long forested range is remote, and its trails are rarely traveled. About three miles (4.8 km) north of the small town of Bergland, the rugged Trap Hills begins on the west end.

The North Country Trail traverses the length of the hills with significant dips in elevation at times. On the east end of the trail is Lookout Mountain that overlooks Victoria Reservoir. Below also sits Old Victoria, a small historic copper-mine ghost town from the 1800s.

Trap Hills MI

One of several trail markers leading to scenic overlooks along the North Country Trail in the Trap Hills of Upper Michigan

Access To North Country Trail In The Trap Hills

In the summer, there are several roads, including forest roads that lead to the North Country Trail in the Trapp Hills. However, in winter, snowshoeing options are limited, since only three of those roads are plowed. All three winter access roads are at trailheads that go onto the North Country Trail.

The first road that is plowed is Highway M-64 out of Bergland. The parking spot for one car at the Bergland Hill trailhead may or may not be plowed. From there, the 1.4-mile (2.25 km) hike on the North Country Trail to Bergland Hill summit has a long climb of 700 feet (213 m).

The second road which is plowed is Norwich Road. But the parking area at the Norwich Bluff trailhead is not, so shoveling out a spot to park is the only option. The hilly hike to Norwich Bluff provides exceptional vistas along the way. When camping there early in the season, I woke to a winter wonderland of fresh snow. Seeing a snow-capped forest below from atop Norwich Bluff for as far as the eye can see was remarkable.

Finally, the third road that is plowed is Victoria Dam Road from the village of Rockland to Old Victoria on the east end. The Lookout Mountain trailhead provides an opportunity to snowshoe the half-mile (0.8 km) hike on the North Country Trail up to Lookout Mountain for a sensational view.

Be very careful as you snowshoe the bluff and ridge areas in the Trapp Hills. There are no fences, barriers, or posted warnings. And for sure, stay off rock ledges when covered with snow and ice, as they can be exceptionally dangerous.

Read More: Old Guys Suprise: Shoein’ In The Porkies

Trap Hills, Michigan Upper Peninsula

View overlooking the Trap Hills. Image by David Sieberg from Pixabay

Snowshoe High In The Midwest

Whether in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Upper Michigan, I find it exciting and refreshing to snowshoe and experience views from up high. Elevation provides a totally different perspective than seeing the area from below. Snowshoeing to high places almost anywhere in the Midwest is, without a doubt, an adventure.

Read More: Northern Michigan & Wisconsin Snowshoeing Treasures

What’s your favorite area for snowshoeing up high in the Midwest?

The post Snowshoeing High In The Midwest: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan appeared first on Snowshoe Magazine.

]]>
https://www.snowshoemag.com/2019/12/19/snowshoeing-in-midwest/feed/ 0 94840