gazette logo rev 500

The Great Outdoors

By Meghan Godby

Along with the holiday season, November ushers in cooler temperatures. While the mountains have already seen substantial snowfall, it’s only a matter of time before the metro area becomes a winter wonderland. Many residents will take to the slopes for skiing or snowboarding, but there’s no need to feel trapped indoors if that’s not your style.

If you’re a fan of hiking in the summertime, snowshoeing is a great way to explore those trails in a different atmosphere. Jason Wood, a certified exercise physiologist at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, says snowshoeing is not only an excellent workout, but also a great way to get outdoors during the cooler months.

“It can be adapted to the person’s ability. Beginners can start with a short, flat hike, while someone more advanced can pick more challenging trails,” he points out. “The picking up and planting of the foot is also a great way to build leg strength.”

Interested in learning more? You might want to pay a visit to Larson’s Ski and Sport. Located at 4715 Kipling St., in Wheat Ridge, the friendly staff can answer questions, help with fitting gear and offer suggestions on trails in the area. Paul Morrison, General Manager, explains that very little is needed to get started with snowshoeing.

“Assuming the participant has proper winter clothing, the only thing needed (other than the snowshoes) is a decent pair of hiking boots or winter boots,” Paul shared. Don’t have any snowshoes of your own? You can rent a pair from Larson’s for $15 a day. If you’re interested in making an investment, a new pair will cost you anywhere between $150 and $600.

“The price difference is related to the design and materials,” Paul explains. Essentially, there are differences in the size and weight of the snowshoe, depending on the size of the user and how they will use the equipment.

“Poles are optional, but advisable in rougher terrain,” he adds.

The best part about snowshoeing is that a person can get started without any real training.

“There really isn’t any technique involved beyond walking,” Paul explains. “An avalanche class is always a good idea, but not required.”

If you’re a little wary about hitting the trails on your own, consider checking out the Colorado Mountain Club (cmc.org). It’s a great resource for information on outdoor activities and often hosts classes on a variety of outdoor sports. Meetup (meetup.com) is also a great place to find local groups in your area.

So don’t let the snowy streets make you stir-crazy – get out there and start exploring! The Front Range has no shortage of trails suitable for snowshoeing, but Mathews/Winters Open Space, White Ranch, and Brainard Lake are a few locations to consider.