270 forum posts
I have 'traditional' Newfoundland handmade bearpaw snowshoes, slightly egg-shaped ovals about 2/3 as wide as they are long. They're made of pvc pipe, wrapped in black tape, with webbing made of that flat shiny nylon twine that lobster pots are made from. Very lightweight. Mine were made for me as a child and then it turned out I didn't get much bigger, so they still support me. In all these years, they've never needed a repair, and I'll never part with them. But I am curious about these newfangled aluminum ones.
Aren't they too narrow for off-trail use? In winter I take advantage of the easy bushwhacking, getting to places that would be a bloody struggle the rest of the year. So I'm walking on top of willow, alder, small spruce, all buried under 3 to 5 feet of snow, which means the snow is full of voids and air pockets. Do these narrow shoes keep you up above this? Or are they meant for 'solid' snow?
Also, do you end up carrying piles of snow on top of them? The slick surface and open weave of mine means no snow builds up on them, even heavy wet snow. These aluminum ones look like serving trays. How does that work?
Ours also have ingenious 'braces' -- what you'd call bindings -- simple sheets of heavy duty rubber, tied on at the front edges only, with a hole sized for your boot. They're never too tight, they never slip off, and you can get your snowshoes on and off without even bending down, let alone using your hands (just step on the shoe with the other foot). I've studied pictures of the aluminum ones, but can't quite figure out the boot-holding system. Are you fussing with buckles and having to take off your mitts?
This is longer than I meant it to be! But I'd really like to know how they work.