At the risk of repeating myself. I LOVE winter. Generally I love the snow (although there are times when it is frustrating). I love the cool air, warm sweaters, steaming mugs of tea or hot cocoa, soups, roasts, and I could go on and on.
I also enjoy a host of outdoor activities. I’m a solid intermediate down hill skier and have been on cross country skis once or twice. This year, Santa brought me snowshoes, so I can add that activity to my repertoire.
We are fortunate that there is undeveloped land with quasi-cleared trails just outside our back door, so I got to try them out last week. It was a bright sunny winter day and the morning temperatures were making their climb from the high teens to the projected high just above freezing. The air was crisp and clear. In short, a great day to be outside.
I’ve heard it said that snowshoeing is great exercise and I’d have to agree. I was only out half an hour and definitely broke a sweat yet at the same time, it wasn’t strenuous, in the way that say running or riding a stationary bike would be, It was more like being on an active walk. It was really fun being able to trek through the snow with relative ease.
Frequently, when walking, I have my iPod for company, this day was no different, but a few minutes in, I was moved to pause the music and just listen. To those who say the country is quiet, I say BAH! Aside from the crunch, crunch, crunch, below my feet, there were birds chirping, and the occasional skittering of critters I didn’t stop to identify. There was a slight breeze, that rustled ever so slightly through the evergreens. It was perhaps the quintessential definition of bucolic.
If you like to move, but don’t seek the thrill of speed, snowshoeing could definitely be for you. Compared to some winter activities like skiing or snowmobiling, the cost of entry for snowshoeing is relatively low. Some ski resorts and inns offer snow shoe rentals as do some sporting equipment stores including Eastern Mountain Sports (http://www.ems.com). At the store on Fort Eddy road in Concord, you can rent snow shoes for $15 per day, $30 for 3 days or $35 for a week. They even have a few small sizes for elementary aged kids. If you are in the market to buy, it is possible to spend an iceberg of money, but on the other hand, Sam’s Club had decent pairs for $60-$90.
You can snow shoe at many state parks, ski resorts or even golf courses (make sure you ask permission before trespassing on private property). Trails.com lists their best snowshoeing trails. http://www.trails.com/toptrails.aspx?area=13704
Here are some rules of the trail so-to-speak for first timers. http://www.treadlightly.org/page.php/responsible-snowsports/Recreation-Tips.html?gclid=CJClqLiRn58CFRh15QodZWM20w
Here’s a list from New Hampshire.com of snowshoeing venues. http://www.newhampshire.com/winter/nh-snowshoeing.aspx
If you are looking for a get away that includes snow shoeing, Visit New Hampshire (http://www.visitnh.gov) was kind enough to provide this list too (thanks Tai):
VisitNH New Hampshire has numerous places to stay and enjoy a variety of winter sports – from skiing and snowboarding, to snowshoeing, snowtubing, ice skating and more. Here are some ideas:
- The Balsams, Dixville Notch – www.thebalsams.com/home or call 800-255-0600
- Mountain View Grand, Whitefield- www.mountainviewgrand.com or call 866-484-3843.
- Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods 800-314-1752 or 603-278-1000 or visit www.mountwashingtonresort.com.
- Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway visit www.cranmore.com/winter or call 800-SUN-N-SKI.
- Purity Springs www.purityspring.com or call 603-367-8896 or 800-373-3754.
- Waterville Valley 800-468-2553 or visit www.waterville.com/winter/.
- Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury www.mountsunapee.com/mtsunapeewinter/ or call 603-763-3500.
So, grab your gloves, pull on a fleece and let’s get moving!