We are just offering our final places for our winter walking holidays in the Mercantour for the winter season 2011/2012.
It is great to see that snow shoeing is gaining in popularity - and you don't have to be a super fit hard nut to enjoy the sport either!!! The crazies might be interested in snow shoe running events - yes really - but for most mere mortals - snow shoes are an excellent way of getting out in the white stuff with minimal effort.
Snow shoes - used by Man for centuries used to be tennis racquet type affairs - formerly crafted from wood and animal gut - which attached to the foot allowed hunters and keen beans, the chance to move around in the snow, without sinking in too much. Today, and fortunately, the equipment is more sophisticated. The cheaper end of the market does recreate the tennis effect, but these shoes, with rubber attachments are best avoided as you slide around like nobodies business. Best to stick with a reliable brand such as TSL - these wonder items - can be adjusted to fit your boot size and have attachments around the toe and the ankle area. Wearers are armed (or footed!) with a studded base, and a super evil front "claw" which can be kicked into snow on steep inclines, It is best to leave the base plate loose from your foot on ascent, or even engage the natty "heel" which raises the back of your foot and puts less strain on your calves. Coming down hill - and to prevent balling up of the snow (surprisingly heavy!) - it is best to attach the base plate so there is no flapping around and you can floof (spacebetween trademark verb!) downhill - scree running style with less danger. This also avoids the risk of making an unside down "v" with your snow shoe - not recommended at all!
What we at spacebetween particularly like about snow shoeing is its suitability for all ages, sizes and fitness levels and the opportunity it gives to get off piste and into the wilderness. In the Mercantour , we have little shortage of that!!! Starting out in at say 1700m in a snow free zone, it might seem a pest to have to strap the blighters to your ruck sack but once you are in the snow - you will be grateful indeed. It's also useful to pack a pair of rubber over shoes into your sack for areas of little snow but some ice - these are cheap, compact, and easy to pack away.
You quickly gain confidence in your snow shoes and just need to remember to walk a little like a duck (legs slightly apart), so you don't fall over your feet. Sure it's quite strenuous exercise but you can take it all at your own pace. Poles are a great boon, allowing you to get into a rythmn, nordic walking style, plus offer a bit of support for difficult traverses.
Minded to act to get away from grey skies in the UK and into some great walking terrain - well give us a shout.