Even on ice, snowshoes are clutch gear posted by John : January 10, 2014 While the Polar Vortex has most of the U.S. in a deep freeze and some places are getting feet of snow, the West has only 25-50% of its normal snowpack. Snoqualmie Pass, an immensely popular ski resort 50 miles east of Seattle has only 10″ of snow and is more than a month behind its 75 year average opening date. With so little snow you might expect our snowshoes would still be hanging in the garage.
Snowshoes provide two critical functions. The best known is floatation. That is, the ability to stay on top of the snow. When you don’t sink you don’t need to work as hard and don’t risk injury when you posthole or drop through the crust.
The second and sometimes overlooked function is traction. Crampons, the teeth on the bottom of the ‘shoes, bite into the snow to prevent slipping. Or in the case of late December in the Pacific Northwest, they help grip the ice.