Snowshoes or skis?

It’s a conundrum that challenges me on every trip North. When planning what kit to take, and being ever mindful to keep weight to a reasonable minimum, I always fudge this one and take both.

What is for certain is that you need one or the other (or both). This is Joe Henderson doing a short wade just to illustrate that without snowshoes or skis to spread your weight and keep you on the surface of the snow you are not going anywhere fast.

…and a few days later with Iverson snowshoes on. Joe, being something of an expert, can keep up a fine clip for miles on end, just skimming over the snow that would otherwise engulf him. Snowshoes work for Joe, particularly because of their shortness and manoeuvrability, he might be leading the dogs from out front one minute and then be in the thick of it sorting the dogs out the next.

I like snowshoes too and spend as much time on snowshoes as I do on skis, but somehow when I head out to really see the country I always put my skis on, in this case robust Fischer E109‘s.

I think it must be cultural, I like the image of travelling on cross country ski gear and I am forever on the look out for a steeper slope to cut some telemark turns on and leave those telltale marks, wilderness graffiti if you will. Of course skis are a European tradition and snowshoes North American and both are great solutions to traveling distances on snow.

FURTHER READING – To download a great article by Joe Henderson, all about his epic snowshoeing journeys click here: arctictraveler.pdf

Or visit Joe’s own website for many more great articles:

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