Snowshoeing: Gentle Winter Experiences
A more sedate alternative to high-speed skiing on the slopes: a snowshoe hike through untouched virgin snow. The serenity radiated by the winter countryside, mountains as far as the eye can see, and here and there, the freshly laid tracks of wild animals.
What things should I be aware of if I plan to go snowshoeing? And what equipment do I need for snowshoeing?
Essentially anyone can go snowshoeing. You just need to be in moderately good physical condition and have the right gear. In most cases, you will be able to rent out snowshoes from sporting goods stores at your holiday destination. Our colleagues at the ALPS RESORTS receptions will be able to tell you where to find the nearest rental business with snowshoes. What shoes do you need? Ideally, you should wear warm, waterproof and ankle-high hiking boots that will keep out the snow and cold. You will also need (telescopic) poles with snow baskets. It goes without saying that a cap and gloves are essential. But also make sure you have tea, snacks and, potentially, a change of clothing stowed away in your rucksack as well. Nice to have, though not an absolute must, gaiters .
AND: If you decide to venture away from the marked paths into open terrain, always check the weather & snow conditions as well as avalanche threat levels in advance. An avalanche transponder as well as a shovel and probe may be highly advisable. Rookie snowshoers, in particular, are better off staying on the marked trails and/or participating in a guided tour led by a certified snowshoe guide. Information about (guided) winter hikes can be found on the website of the local tourist offices where you are staying.
How does snowshoeing work?
No prior experience is necessary and even newcomers to the snow will master snowshoeing technique in practically no time. Simply be aware that, due to the broader contact surface of the snowshoes, the stride of your gait will be a little broader than usual. In steeper terrain, you might need to use snowshoes that can be adjusted to compensate for the incline and employ what’s known as “duck technique” as you ascend the mountainside. This involves keeping your feet in a V position with your toes pointing outwards. Returning downhill, you should keep your knees slightly bent and lean back.
How not to snowshoe ;)
Snowshoeing Tours close to ALPS RESORTS
Here are some very popular snowshoeing opportunities located close to 2 ALPS RESORTS:
Guided National Park Snowshoe Hikes at the Rauriser Tal valley head, Salzburger Land: A National Park Ranger will guide you through the valley head known as Kolm Saigurn and explain some of the wonders of nature inside Hohe Tauern National Park. On the marked snowshoeing trail, in Rauris Virgin Forest, or during a Full Moon Tour. Participation is free for guests of Carpe Solem Rauris with their Rauris Guest Card. Click here to visit Carpe Solem Rauris, whilst the other ALPS RESORTS in Salzburger Land can be found right here.
25 snowshoe tours in Murtal: The Murtal region in Styria jusitiably describes itself as a "pioneer" in snowshoeing matters. Of 25 potential snowshoeing tours, 5 trails are actually signposted. They also have so-called "Intro Zones", where you can make your first attempts at this gentle form of winter sport. One such snowshoe tour, which follows the marked "Rundwanderweg Hohentauern" path, can be begun right outside your chalet at Almdorf Hohentauern (ca. 2.5 hours, 6 kilometers, 170 vertical meters). And how wonderful is this: Once you are done snowshoeing, lower yourself into the hot tub or stretch out in the private sauna of your chalet to loosen up those tired muscles.
Bottom line: Snowshoeing is a healthy winter sport that does wonders for your overall physical condition. It's also marvelous for the soul. And a relatively easy, inexpensive sport to try out. The only thing is: You do need snow. 😉
Photo materials © Ferienregion Nationalpark Hohe Tauern