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Snowshoeing endurance

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Snowshoeing endurance

Postby CSUMarmot » Mon Dec 20, 2010 10:36 pm

So...in the spirit of winter, I have decided to get me some snowshoes for Christmas. I have snowshoed several times before, and am primarily buying them so I'm not having to trudge through snow and end up in a postholing mess on early season trips, like i have before. However, I have noticed I expend much more energy then when I walk on solid ground. My question to any experienced snowshoers is is this something you get used to or is there anything that can be done to increase my efficiency. I expect that practice makes perfect and its just a matter of endurance, but if anyone would like to weigh-in I'd appreciate it. Chris
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby Joe White » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:15 am

The diminished endurance may also have to do with the added weight of the snowshoes on your feet. And, as you said...its a matter of endurance...and thankfully, the more you get out....the easier it will begin to feel!

And, not sure if you've chosen snowshoes yet....but I highly recommend these:
Image

They are a REALLY solid snowshoe and have been a go to piece of gear for me for many years.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby CSUMarmot » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:21 am

Thanks for the recomendation its always helpful, luckily I expect to carry them for most of the way then use them when needed, usually a short final push to the summit
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby rasgoat » Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:02 am

Ditto on the MSR's except I really like the model with the heel lifters. I really do not feel a difference in my stamina with these, they truly have awesome balance and traction.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby John Duffield » Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:52 am

I have MSRs also.

For some reason, Snowshoe events are found under Running Race Finders. Where I found this one run a few days ago:

http://www.womens-running.com/cda/racefinderdetail/1,7150,s6-239-283-284-0-0-0-0-1917455,00.html

I would think training for a race and running the race would give you the stamina you want.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby CSUMarmot » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:00 pm

1000Pks wrote:
CSUMarmot wrote:So...in the spirit of winter, I have decided to get me some snowshoes for Christmas. I have snowshoed several times before, and am primarily buying them so I'm not having to trudge through snow and end up in a postholing mess on early season trips, like i have before. However, I have noticed I expend much more energy then when I walk on solid ground. My question to any experienced snowshoers is is this something you get used to or is there anything that can be done to increase my efficiency. I expect that practice makes perfect and its just a matter of endurance, but if anyone would like to weigh-in I'd appreciate it. Chris


On fairly solid snow, shoes will be as fast or almost as fast as walking. You can really buzz along when the pack is firm. But when it is deep snow or similar, it can get to be very slow. In really deep snow, you will hardly go as fast as postholing. Or similar. Groups can break trail, and when there is a packed trail to follow you can again buzz along. Though breaking trail with shoes is far more arduous than with a good skinny pair of xc skis.

Most shoe trips I have gone along with are highly limited in how far they can go. Some fine hikers by them will give up after a mile (local enviro club) on shoes. It's a lot of work, and in deep snow you might as well forget them all. A solo shoer may expect to go 1/4 mile an hour, while on skis I can head through knee deep powder for a mile in the same time. Then, it's a skate glide if it's downhill or near level on the way back. With shoes you'll be struggling both ways. Although less people break a leg on shoes, but they can still get hurt or killed. Cheap shoes will break with much less snow than a solid pair of skis, I see expensive shoes fail and then the owners curse it all and give it all up. There are limits to the stress even metal can take. Skis break too, but it may be easier to fix those, you always carry a repair kit since in winter bc it can get very serious!


I too enjoy XC skiing much more then shoeing, especially if I am going out solely in winter with no real solid ground to just walk on. I can go much faster, more efficiently, its more fun going up and down. Skis are next on the list, and just since you seem to be a little more helpful then the peeps at REI, might I ask you what kind of skis you like, touring or backcountry? I expect to buy backcountry as I will most likely be breaking a lot of trail.

Thanks for the help, I hope I can get within a feasible distance to the summit before I have to strap the shoes on.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby CSUMarmot » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:48 am

Very true, but I might not mind spending a good deal of money on them, seeing as I could just as easily spend an outrageous amount of money on downhill skis, pay for a ski pass, then 'enjoy' a half day on crowded slopes. At least with cross-country, I could enjoy some real mountains and real solitude.
But as you suggested, I do plan to buy used or at least get really comfortable with rentals before i shell out some cash.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby Mountainjeff » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:19 am

There is something to be said for snowshoe technique. A lot of new snowshoers tend to duckwalk and swing their legs wide to avoid tripping over their own feet. It is important to learn to walk with as normal of a gait as possible. Otherwise you will get really sore very quickly no matter how fit you are.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby spiritualspatula » Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:42 am

Pretty much what others have said. I can go along at a pretty good clip but I'm definitely exerting myself a good deal (hence my question about backsweat on the forums). On flat ground, technique is to essentially walk as closely to normal as possible, but on steep terrain things change up substantially, as well as with any traversing. You've gotta think about what exactly you'll be using them for though. I read a lot about how everybody loves the Denali's but I wasn't too sure how well they'd work for deep backcountry powder here in Colorado. I use these http://tubbssnowshoes.com/snowshoes/mens/mountaineer-m
I should note that I use the ones rated for 250lbs, and even though my load very rarely exceeds 200 total pounds, there are times when I still sink significantly. Based on surface area, I can only imagine the Denali's would be worse in this regard. I also really like the bindings on these- super simple, durable, and they just work without me having to screw around with them.
But again... evaluate exactly what you're using them for. I like snowshoes for a couple reasons though- in the summer, I'm usually in a hurry and make fast time, but I enjoy slowing things down in the winter. I also welcome the added stress, because it helps keep me in shape in the winter. I also don't have a problem with staying overnight in order to accomplish something. Having said that, anything beyond 9 miles of trail breaking gets tiresome for me. One other benefit of snowshoes is that they're good for showing friends/girlfriends who don't get out into the wilderness much how cool the deserted winter backcountry can be, since any idiot can snowshoe.
But if you want efficiency and speed, look at skis or travel on well used paths.

ETA: Since you asked about increasing efficiency, the best thing is really just spreading the stress of breaking trail with partners if you have them. Switch out often.
One other thing- don't be an ass and walk on ski tracks.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby goldenhopper » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:17 am

rasgoat wrote:Ditto on the MSR's except I really like the model with the heel lifters. I really do not feel a difference in my stamina with these, they truly have awesome balance and traction.


That would be the Accents. They also have the Evo Accent, which has a tapered tail to create less drag. The problem with the design of the evo's is that while you have less drag you also get less loft, so you tend to have to step higher is powder making it harder overall IMO. Either way the accents make it easier on the calves on steeper inclines, but I tend not to use mine as I prefer to duck walk up the steeper stuff.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby rhyang » Wed Dec 22, 2010 4:01 pm

NancyHands wrote:
rasgoat wrote:Ditto on the MSR's except I really like the model with the heel lifters. I really do not feel a difference in my stamina with these, they truly have awesome balance and traction.


That would be the Ascents. They also have the Evo Ascent, which has a tapered tail to create less drag. The problem with the design of the evo's is that while you have less drag you also get less loft, so you tend to have to step higher is powder making it harder overall IMO. Either way the ascents make it easier on the calves on steeper inclines, but I tend not to use mine as I prefer to duck walk up the steeper stuff.


Fixed yer spelling :mrgreen: MSR calls the heel lifters "televators", and I like them. When you are slogging (and that is what snowshoeing is really) up a seemingly endless hill, like the Hump Trail in Sequoia NP on the way to Pear Lake, or up to high camp on Mt. Shasta the televators really earn their keep.

Snowshoeing is a workout, make no mistake -- you have ~2 pounds of extra weight on each foot. It helps to use trekking poles with snow baskets. Your gait may need to be a little wider. Crossing the tails and faceplanting is kinda embarrassing, but hey it's snow, it's soft :)

MSR changed their snowshoe lineup a bit this year. Gone are the old Denali Ascent's, and they now make extension tails for the Lightning Ascent's (which only fit on this year's models of course). There are a bunch of other new models with some new weird-looking binding .. sounds heavy.
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Re: Snowshoeing endurance

Postby Tangeman » Wed Dec 22, 2010 8:07 pm

Less stamina might have something to do with just postholing. Even if it's only a little bit, having to continuosly lift your foot that much higher makes a difference.
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