Discover a New Way to Adventure When the White Stuff Falls
By Amanda Lane, Owner, The Hike Shack
Prescott has always had unpredictable winter weather, especially when it comes to snow. No matter how much we get, it’s always fun to indulge while it lasts. Last year’s snow season presented some great opportunities to go outside and play in the white stuff. In fact, I had the pleasure of using my snowshoes in my own back yard. What a gift.
Snowshoeing—one of the fastest-growing winter sports on the world—requires only about 6 inches of snow. Because snowshoes distribute your weight across the snow, you “float” on the surface rather than sinking in. Therefore, you can go almost anywhere; your adventure can be endless in the hills, or right around town. Your lower leg muscles do the brunt of the work but, adding poles to your set up increases the upper body workout and keeps you on your feet. Snowshoeing also burns twice the calories as walking. You will want to have a good pair of waterproof boots to use them with. I found my slightly stiffer waterproof boots worked well, paired with a heavy wool sock, keeping my toes toasty warm and dry. I also wore a water-shedding soft-shell pant with an insulating top and waterproof jacket. I highly recommend trekking poles with a snow basket added, or ski poles if you have them. Add a hat and gloves, and you’re off—just like my family and I were last year.
For our family snowshoeing outing we tied our sleds behind us and pulled them along to find the perfect sledding hill hidden in the woods. It didn’t take too long before we discovered our perfect private hill and created our own little run. We enjoyed the trek through the fresh powder. It was fun to see the snow piled up on the trees, and the creeks cutting their beautiful paths down the mountain sides. The leader is always going to have to work a little harder in fresh snow, but cutting the path is amazing. We headed into the hills, but there are so many great local trails that would be especially beautiful covered in snow.
If you need to gain a little elevation to find enough powder a great option would be to head up Senator Highway towards the Wolf Creek loop or Spruce Mountain trailhead. Walker Road would also offer you a great selection of trails without having to drive too far into the woods.
If we don’t get enough snow locally, Flagstaff usually does and there are businesses that rent snowshoes, including Peace Surplus and the Arizona Nordic Village (the latter has a great selection of trails from easy to difficult).
Buying is always an option, too; with your own set of snowshoes, you’re ready to go. Prices on snowshoes start at about $40 for kids and range from $100 to $400 for adults. When it comes to style, remember that weight and gait and the amount of snow all factor into the width and length of the snowshoe.
If you are interested in having your own set so you are ready for the next snowfall, come see us at The Hike Shack and we will gladly help point you in a good direction for your next adventure.
For more information, visit The Hike Shack at 104 N. Montezuma St. in Prescott, call 928.443.8565, or visit www.thehikeshack.com.