WV winter

Snowshoeing 101

There is no better way to exercise in Southern West Virginia during the winter than snowshoeing!

Not only is snowshoeing good for your heart and waistline, it’s also a great way to boost your vitamin D in the winter while having a fun outdoor adventure.

The best way to learn how to snowshoe is to jump right in and do it. But know what ot expect before you go.

We’ve compiled a snowshoeing 101 guide to help you out and get you ready for winter snowshoe touring:

Shoes and Snowshoes

Snowshoes are made to be attached to your shoes. There are different types of snowshoes, so you can attach snowshoes to your boots for hiking or even to your running shoes for jogging. This means you can wear your own comfortable footwear, and not have to worry about your feet hurting.

Just beware of ‘the gap.’ The gap is the spot between the top of your sock/shoe and the bottom of your pant. The gap is where snow can enter, making your ankles cold and maybe getting your socks wet, which can make your feet very cold. Some snow pants have an inner snow cuff for your boots to keep snow out, or you can use a pair of snow gaiters.

Walking with Snowshoes

Walking with snowshoes is going to feel kind of clumsy for a few steps. Snowshoes are bigger than your feet, and you might find yourself stepping on them and tripping yourself up. Start slow, walk before you run and if you feel unsteady, get some poles.


Poles will help you learn to keep your balance as you adjust to your new feet, and help you navigate varied terrain. Snowshoes have grippy teeth, but it can take awhile to learn to trust them. Poles also give you an upper body work out.

What to Wear

You’ll want to wear layers of clothes. You will be exerting effort, and will want to be able to easily add or take off layers to stay comfortable. Even though you may start out in chilly or sunny weather, it is winter, and the weather can change very quickly. You also want to make sure that your clothes are synthetic fabrics that can breathe, but are waterproof.


It can be easy to forget the sunscreen in winter, but the wind and cold can make your skin more sensitive to sunburn and sun damage.

Hydration & Snacks

You need to stay hydrated when you snowshoe. In the colder temperatures, you won’t realize how much fluid your body needs, so take plenty of water and sip it frequently. Snowshoeing burns 45% more calories than walking or running, so make sure you pack some snacks to keep you fueled up as you stomp around in the woods.

Maps and GPS

Make sure you take a well-marked trail and a map. While a GPS is handy, if your battery dies or you lose your signal in our rural mountains, you’ll be happy to have a map.

As you get out and about this winter, share your tips and pics on your snowshoe adventures with us.

Find trails to Snowshoe >