For those who love the sport of snowshoeing, they know that this is a great way to get outside, see the wilderness, and explore the beauty of the mountains during the winter; however, as anyone who has ever gone skiing or snowboarding will say, there are hazards that tend to hide beneath the surface. Sometimes, this can take the form of ice. Those who are used to skiing will likely feel the ski start to slide and, for some, the feeling can be similar while snowshoeing. This begs the question: can snowshoes work well on ice? The answer is that some work well while others don’t. How can people find the right snowshoeing options to help them handle ice with ease?
Do Snowshoes Work on Ice?
The overall answer is that, yes, snowshoes will work well on ice. This is true in most cases; however, it only takes one fall for something bad to happen. Therefore, people need to know what hazards exist while snowshoeing on ice.
First, it is important to note that snowshoeing on ice and snow are two different activities. When someone decides to snowshoe on snow, the goal of the shoes is to act as a flotation device. Snowshoes are large to spread out the weight of the body across the snow, allowing the snow to hold up the hiker with ease. In contrast, snowshoeing on ice is more about traction. The goal of snowshoeing on ice is to get the snowshoes to stick to the ice.
In order to make this happen, snowshoeing equipment has to generate an aggressive tread pattern on the bottom of the shoes themselves. This can help everyone gain adequate traction. Crescent Moons foam snowshoes can work well for this; however, there are some accessories that can help people gain better traction on the snow. In addition, adjustable hiking poles work well for snowshoeing on the ice for extra stability and traction.
Exploring Ice and Terrain
Now, most snowshoeing equipment will work well on ice as long as the traction pattern creates a “score” on the ice that provides added grip. The type of terrain is going to have a major impact on whether or not the snowshoes are going to work well on icy portions of the trail.
The first type of terrain is flat terrain. When it comes to snowshoeing on ice in flat terrain, this type of terrain doesn’t have the same features as a hill or mountain. Therefore, fancy snowshoes might not be needed on icy terrain as long as it is flat. This is going to be more of a balancing act, which hiking poles can help with. This is not the case when looking at elevated terrain.
The second type of terrain that might be covered in ice is called rolling terrain. When talking about rolling terrain, this is going to be a bit more of a challenge. This is where crampons on the bottom are key. Look for a spike or two near the front of the boot. This spike needs to dig into the terrain to keep the hiker stable. The binding should articulate with a portion of the crampon to make it easier for someone to climb.
Finally, mountain terrain is a different challenge as well. In some cases, specialized mountain snowshoeing equipment is needed to handle icy equipment. The bottoms need to have strong, aggressive tread patterns to provide hikers with the most stability. Specifically, those who are handling icy terrain in these conditions also need to look for a heel lift. This is a small bar near the heel of the foot that is lifted up to make it easier for hikers to climb steep slopes.
These are a few of the types of terrain that will require different types of snowshoes.
Find the Right Snowshoes for the Job
When it comes to going snowshoeing on icy terrain, safety always has to come first. This starts with finding the right equipment for the job. Depending on the type of terrain, different snowshoeing equipment might be required. This includes foam snowshoes, adjustable poles, crampons, and more. This is a great way for everyone to experience the outdoors during the winter.