Snowshoeing: in the footsteps of the trappers Snowshoeing is a slow walk in the snow!

The history of a long forgotten practice

The origin of snowshoeing goes back a long way. Already in prehistoric times, hunters walked through the snowy regions with flat boards attached to their shoes. These boards were then improved years later by the South American Indians to make real "snow shoes". Like the ones we know today, they were made of a wooden frame, an interior grid braided in leather, and thin animal skins were stretched on the outside. The shape of the snowshoe best suited to different types of terrain was also being evaluated: bear paw, beaver tail, Yukon (narrow and long).

In 1604, the French settlers adopted this new concept and gave it the name "raquette" in reference to the name of the squared instrument used to play the game of Paume. From then on, the shape changed to better suit the more Alpine terrain of Europe: a round head, and a pointed, but not too long tail.

At that time, snowshoes were used during the long winter months when it was the only way to move. Let's not forget that cars were not yet within the reach of modest peasants, and the snowplow certainly did not yet exist. 

 

Before becoming a form of leisure as we know it today, snowshoes were first of all a tool. Indeed, anyone who has had the opportunity to walk without snowshoes in deep snow up to mid-thigh, can attest to the fact that this simple tool allows one to float on the snow; thus  facilitating an easy journey in mountains.

This equipment, which had long disappeared from our regions, is now a huge craze for winter sports enthusiasts. 

The shape of the snowshoes in a "wasp waist" and the free heel ensures a precise step and a natural walk. This model is the most adapted to steep and varied terrain. But there are also longer snowshoes, designed for walking on powdery, light snow. You will also find crampons or claws under the snowshoes to improve the step on harder surfaces.

But which snowshoe should you choose? We advise you to choose snowshoes adapted to your weight, e.g., for the bearing capacity, but also to the type of terrain you will walk on, e.g., groomed trails or powder.

So, ready to try the experience and follow the tracks of the trappers?

Join our Experience Mont Blanc guides for an unforgettable moment in the snow!

 
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Snowshoeing? Easy, all you have to do is know how to walk!

So, no need for a course! Snowshoeing is a slow walk while you take time to observe the enchanting landscapes and listen to the silence of nature.

It is suitable for all levels as long as you are able to walk normally. It's child's play! 

While snowshoeing, it is best to avoid steep slopes, as much for the comfort of the walk as to avoid the risks of avalanches. For that, we advise you to turn to the marked routes! This way you will be able to evolve in a natural setting, in beautifully snowy conditions.

Take the time to learn and don't hesitate to call on an experienced expert who will guide you throughout your experience.

Find all our snowshoeing activities here.

 

Successful snowshoeing on itineraries

In the last few years, as snowshoeing has become more popular as a leisure activity, specific itineraries have appeared. It is not necessary to refer to a map to stay on the right trails. The markings and the tracks on the ground are enough to bring everyone back to the right place. Or rather to the right cottage! 

These dedicated itineraries are also a way to separate snowshoeing from cross-country skiing (learn more about this Nordic sport). And it also allows one to relax in a safe environment. From an environmental point of view, we make sure that animals are not disturbed by encouraging people to all move on the same route. 

For the more experienced, there is nothing to prevent them from straying from the trails to practice mindful walking. However, you will need to be aware of the environment, but above all else you will need to be vigilant and safe by always having a map or even a GPS hiking receiver. 

And the best thing is to hire a guide ! At Experience Mont Blanc, we can offer you tailor-made tours ! 

Book your activity here.

 
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