How to Choose the Right Snowshoes

With the start of March comes mixed emotions. Some are anxiously awaiting dry trails, while others are sacrificing all-natural energy bars to the snow gods. Even though we’ve had some unseasonably warm days, we know the all-knowing groundhog told us not to give up on winter yet. Why would you, anyway?

March has consistently been one of the best months for snow on the East Coast. Now is the time to take advantage of Mother Nature’s white playground while she’s still here. The days are longer, and the temperatures are milder. This concoction creates the perfect recipe for snowshoeing, which is not only the best way to take in the scenery, but also builds muscle for spring hiking.

For the novice to the seasoned explorer, EMS has a vast selection of snowshoes to cure your spring fever. If you’re unsure about how or what shoe to choose, here are some recommendations for picking the right pair:

tubbs_explore

Trail Walking

Recommended snowshoe: The Tubbs XPlore, available in men’s and women’s sizes, is incredibly user friendly and features a simple-to-use binding system. The light aluminum frame and SoftTec™ decking will keep you floating along the terrain. The price point won’t break the bank, either, which makes this shoe a great option for beginners.

Where to use: Trail walking shoes are meant for gentle terrain with mild up and downhill portions. Some well-maintained state parks, as well as city parks with walking trails, can be good starter spots. Or, Mount Independence in Orwell, Vermont, is a great location to take in the sights of Lake Champlain from one of their many well-marked trails. 

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Day Hiking

Recommended snowshoe: The Tubbs Flex RDG, also available in men’s and women’s sizes, uses a one-step binding system. With its Boa closure, all you have to do is push down and twist. This allows you to quickly adjust your binding on the trails without the hassle. Even better, in the unlikely chance that you experience problems, the binding comes with a lifetime guarantee. Can you beat that? Trick question: You can’t. The composite deck is also a great shock absorber, which is crucial for those full days outdoors.

Where to use: Your options are endless! The East Coast is teeming with plenty of maintained day-hiking terrain. I prefer the Long Trail or parts of the Appalachian Trail, as they receive traffic year-round and are marked. The Adirondacks also offer a wide array of day-hiking options: Buck Mountain and Sleeping Beauty are beautiful winter hiking spots in the Lake George region.

Backcountry

Recommended snowshoe: The Atlas Treeline is available in men’s and women’s sizes. Atlas’ lightweight snowshoes have been setting the bar for backcountry expectations, and the range of motion offered will even make you forget that you’ve got them on. The binding system is similar to traditional crampons, offering a precise fit and hold for long periods of time. The binding is also perfect for snowboarders, as it can fit larger boots. That’s right: There is no need to drain your savings on a splitboard when you can buy a pair of Treeline’s.
Where to use: Snowshoes like the Treeline are going to shine where the snow is deep and the lines are steep, as the traction catches the best on uneven terrains and hillsides. Mount Mansfield in Vermont and areas of The Whites, like the Presidential Range, are great locations for some blank snow canvas. Keep in mind that backcountry models are meant for more experienced snowshoers and mountaineers.

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Trail Running

Recommended snowshoe: The Atlas Run is a unisex snowshoe meant for moving fast. So, runners, rejoice: You are no longer constrained to only practicing on treadmills in the winter. The lightweight Run features a Speed-V frame and impact-absorbing suspension that allows you to keep going with minimal resistance. Also included here, the Boa system helps out with lightning-fast adjustments, so you can fuss less and spend more time running.

Where to use: For trail runners, the Atlas Run will let you return to the terrain you are used to and love. If you strictly run on roads, opt for snow instead of pavement with these shoes, and you will have a good time. To begin, start with a walking trail, until you are comfortable enough to attempt varied terrain.

Snowshoe


Top 5 Past and Present Winter Sports Events to Hit the East Coast

The crowds are buzzing for a good reason. Killington Ski Resort is hosting the women’s 2016 Audi FIS Ski World Cup slalom and other great slalom events this Thanksgiving weekend. Women from 27 countries will be converging in Vermont and competing to ski away with the trophy and, more importantly, with bragging rights. Plus, over 2 million people are expected to watch the broadcast!

The West Coast has a hobby of stealing the hosting spotlight, so Vermont may not seem like the most conspicuous location for such a massive competition. But, the East Coast is no stranger to the big stage and bright lights. Throughout history, a fair share of major winter sports events have put the upper-right USA on the map. Here is a list of five representing the Eastern seaboard.

Credit: Harvey Barrison
Credit: Harvey Barrison

1. The 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics

Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid hosted the Winter Olympics in 1932 and again in 1980, the latter of which included one of the most famous victories in sports history. When the U.S. hockey team defeated the Soviet Union, then the defending champion, the “Miracle on Ice” was born. This stunning and unpredictable victory is still today arguably one of the best Olympics moments. Many facilities can still be toured, so be prepared to feel that Olympic spirit.

2. Burton US Open

Stratton Mountain, Vermont

Although the competition has since moved to Vail, Colorado, Stratton Mountain hosted the US Open Snowboarding Championships for 27 years. Prior to Stratton, the competition was held at Suicide Six and Snow Valley, meaning it lived in Vermont for a grand total of 30 seasons. These events certainly helped with snowboarding’s progression and shaped the path for future US Opens.

Credit: stillwellmike
Credit: stillwellmike

3. World Cup Skiing

Stratton, Vermont and Waterville Valley, New Hampshire

Prior to this year, the last time World Cup events were held on the East Coast was in 1991 at Waterville Valley Resort and, before that, in 1978 at Stratton Mountain. With this trend, hopefully we can look forward to seeing more slalom events close by in the future.

4. Big Air at Fenway

Boston, Massachusetts

In February 2016, Fenway Park was filled with some of the world’s best slopestyle skiers and snowboarders impressing the crowd with big air entertainment, all part of a U.S. Grand Prix and FIS World Cup touring event. Fans normally look forward to seeing the green baseball field, but for this occasion, it was all about the white snow.

5. U.S. Grand Prix

Killington Mountain, Vermont

Hosting the 2016 World Cup on November 26th and 27th, Killington Ski Resort has been the location for several famous past and present events. In more recent memory, the U.S. Grand Prix used the grounds in 2008 and again in 2009, while the Dew Tour and the Gatorade Free Flow Tour have also passed through. As Killington offers the largest ski area and a longer winter season, it’s no wonder this resort has been selected multiple times.