As most you know I’m a proponent of year round adventure. This most definitely includes winter skiing, treks, climbing, and of course snowshoeing. I’ve recently had the pleasure of working with an awesome company that promotes a lot of the same values I have. One of the creators recently discovered my blog post on snowshoeing, and currently being in Colorado (a great place for snowshoeing), embarked on their first snowshoe adventure. What you’ll find below is a breakdown of their experience. My hope is you’ll find their perspective useful, and in addition to my article, maybe inspire you to take the plunge into a new winter activity!
*Full Disclosure, I am a Flash Packer Affiliate. If you head over to their site and find any of their products useful, use the code: THEBOLDNOMAD for 20% off!
Every year we spend 2-3 months out of our city home and in the open west of Colorado. Thanks to our digital nomad lifestyle we are able to work and travel during these trips and spend the full winter season in the snowy wonderland of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. These trips are dominated by skiing and snowboarding at the ski resort, and besides a few trips to natural hot springs we have barely explored the area.
This year, with a poor start to the ski season due to lack of snow accumulation, we decided to look for some new ways to get out and see more of our winter homebase. After checking out the Intro to Snowshoeing article we were confident enough to grab a couple pairs of snowshoes and test out the Uranium Mine Trail here in Steamboat.
We checked out a couple Steamboat attractions maps and watched a few videos to ensure we could find the trailhead. We double checked the length of the hike so that we knew exactly what we would need to bring and got to packing.
At roughly 3 miles roundtrip, we knew we wouldn’t need to bring a ton of food or water to sustain us. However, we didn’t want to go empty handed as we’d never been snowshoeing before and were unsure how much more fatigue the added difficulty would cause. We ended up bringing about 2 liters of water in two water bottles instead of filling a larger water bladder. For food, we weren’t expecting to stop for a meal, since it was around 0 degrees fahrenheit so we just packed a few snacks to munch on along the way. A small bag of trail mix, some fruit snacks and a couple tangerines were perfect.
It was a chilly and overcast day and we were definitely concerned that we could get pretty cold on our hike. We both started with base layers including pants and long sleeves, then covered those with some waterproof outer layers including snow pants, a ski jacket for my wife and a heavier water resistant jacket for me. We underestimated the added work of snowshoeing compared to hiking and found ourselves warming up pretty quickly once out on the trail.
We both opted for wool ski socks underneath heavy waterproof boots. This kept our feet nice and warm for the majority of the trip. Towards the end our toes were definitely getting cold! For gloves we both utilized liner style gloves so that we could take pictures and operate our phones. We brought heavier ski style mittens in our pack, but never ended up needing them thanks to the effort required for the snowshoeing. For our ears we made sure to wear warm beanies, and kept our necks warm and faces covered when crossing other hikers with neck gaiters.
For sun protection we debated repurposing our ski goggles. We saw plenty of people on the trail using goggles, but since it was an overcast day with little wind, we opted for our Hilx Folding Sunglasses. These were perfect for us as it wasn’t too bright out and we weren’t worried about blocking out peripheral light. Plus, the cloud coverage was changing quite a bit and we expected to take them off at times. The folding sunglasses made it easy to take them off, fold them into their carrying case, clip them onto our pack and move on easily.
We decided our Caribee X-Trek 28 Liter Backpack would be the perfect pack for the day trip. We needed something light and weather resistant. It was light, fluffy snow (rather than heavy, wet snow) so we didn’t feel a true waterproof pack was necessary and instead opted for something with a more breathable and comfortable back panel in order to make the hike as comfortable as possible.
28 liters was also the perfect size for the two of us. We had a short walk up to the trailhead, so by the time we actually started snowshoeing we had our snowshoe carrying bags, snacks, water bottles, heavier gloves and an extra jacket packed into the bag. The backpack easily accommodated that gear and all the layers that we ended up shedding throughout the day as we warmed up.
Once out on the trail we realized that our snowshoeing pace was going to be much slower than our normal hiking pace. Additionally, it was much more difficult. We’re thankful that we planned a short expedition and gave ourselves plenty of time before sunset to get out to our destination and back. We even had time to stop for a snack and enjoy the view at our turnaround point.
Looking Back on Our First Snowshoeing Adventure
All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our first snowshoeing adventure. We’re thankful for the Intro Guide to Snowshoeing from The Bold Nomad in helping us prep for the trip and can’t wait to get back out there exploring in snowshoes or otherwise.
Stephen Gary is the co-founder of Flashpacker Co, a travel gear supplier aimed at helping travelers get the most out of their trips by pairing them with the gear they need. He’s been a digital nomad for the past 5 years traveling all across the globe. You can read more of his writing over on FlashpackerCo.com or follow them on Instagram @FlashpackerCo.
For more winter activity inspo, checkout Myself and Flash Packer on the Instagram!