The benefits of snowshoeing are broad and at times unexpected. The first benefit is that snowshoeing is a calorie-busting workout. Depending on your speed and the terrain, you can actually burn more calories snowshoeing than running or mountain biking! If you are snowshoeing on powder snow in hilly terrain and your pace is about three miles per hour (mph), women can burn 774 calories and men can burn over 1,000. Compared to running on flat terrain (570 calories) and mountain biking on rolling terrain (550 calories), snowshoeing turns out to be a highly effective winter workout.
Another plus is that the snow you are walking on acts as a cushion, making it a low impact activity. This is good news for anyone with problematic knees or those looking for winter activities they can do with all ages. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. You can also vary the intensity of your snowshoe workout simply by picking up your pace or alternating between powder and packed snow.
Beyond just cardio and calorie burning, a major benefit of snowshoeing is that is gets you outside during the winter months. Simply being outside and breathing the fresh mountain air during the winter months can help boost your mood and improve your wellbeing.
Where to Go
There are many places to snowshoe in Utah—some more structured than others. You can pay for snowshoeing day passes at Nordic Centers at various mountain resorts such as Solitude Nordic Center or Sundance Nordic Center. You can also try snowshoeing on your own on trails throughout Utah. (Check out these five recommended snowshoeing trails.) Next time there is a big snowfall in town, you could even try urban snowshoeing in your local park or on the sidewalks in your neighborhood before the snow is cleared.
What to Bring and Wear
The items you need to bring and wear while snowshoeing are very similar to hiking. Wear layers so you can add or take off clothing based on the intensity of your workout and wear sturdy boots and warm socks. Avoid cotton clothing and socks as cotton absorbs moisture and can leave you feeling cold. Also, be sure to bring plenty of water, healthy snacks, and sunscreen. Most importantly, don’t forgot your snowshoes and poles! If you don’t have any of your own, you can easily rent them at outdoor recreation stores or a nearby mountain resort.