Snow and Shoes

5:58 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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Hello all! The big girl is going to try her hand.....or foot.....at snow shoeing this winter and asks all of you what is the best shoe for the least money for beginner? Talk amongst yourselves: ")

6:23 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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Snowshoes are a lot of work.  Most of the time skis are the better option, I'd do skis instead.

6:29 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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If at all possible, rent until you find something you like.  There are so very many models on the market now somewhere will have a pair on clearance; REI, Campmor, ...

6:39 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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I am sad to say, I lack patience to rent.....going and picking up is a trek in itself and then returning.....I prefer to just buy....

7:26 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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Tried the MSR Evo's as rentals for my first trek and liked them. I reviewed them as well...

7:27 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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Correction - MSR Denalis...first trek as a grown up and liked them...

 

8:14 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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An reading the reviews and so happy to have those people here to ask q's of as well!

9:03 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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A lot depends on what kind of snow and terrain you will travel over. Also, what type of loads you will carrying. Historically, snow shoes came in many different patterns. While some of this was cultural, often the difference was one of practicality. Even among some types, for instance the Yukon, also known as the Alaskan in some circles, would vary between 54 and 60 inches long.

Although traditional snow shoes are still being made, and for certain conditions, superior to more modern materials and styles, I recommend avoiding the cheaper plastic shoes that are common. Aluminum framed shoes are durable, and the hypalon webbing works well for support. Shorter, wider shoes will be fine for brushy, forested areas. However, short, wide shoes, on longer treks, will give you what the old timers called, "mal de raquette". Longer, narrower shoes will avoid some of this at the expense of some maneuverability. 

I will add that traditional laced shoes won't "slide" the way a solidly decked shoe will. Wood shoes tend to be quieter than aluminum or plastic shoes. Pound for pound, they also provide more floatation. 

Skis are great, but the terrain and conditions and your use will influence your decision. Again, there are a variety of skis to choose from, depending on conditions. Over all, snow shoes are more versatile, at the expense of speed.

9:33 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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I've had skis and snowshoes. Skis are fun, but snowshoes are easier to use, especially for a beginner. Skis require a level of skill, specialized boots and the right terrain.  My last trip, I would have been far better off on snowshoes. I'm going to get another pair this year, probably Faber Hybrids (see link below) since I'm not going to be mountaineering in them. Canadians wear the big traditional style snowshoes, but for most of us, a modern shoe will do.

Everything you want to know about snowshoes-

http://www.snowshoemag.com/

 

Click on the First Timers link to take you to a tips for beginners page and a list of links to manufacturers. 

http://www.snowshoemag.com/first-timers/

 

Some REIs sell different snowshoes and some REIs rent them too, if you have an REI in your area. I rented some in Sacramento a few years ago, but the stores in LA don't carry them anymore-not enough market for them here.

For cheaper  shoes, get something like Yukon Charlies, which I think Wal-Mart sells. I don't shop there, but pretty sure that's where they are. Amazon also has them.

Better shoes-Atlas (good mainstream design), MSR (look strange and are noisy from what I hear), Northern Lites makes lightweight shoes (I've seen a pair).

Semi traditional style - something like these- very reasonably priced-made in Canada, but I've seen them for sale on eBay.

http://www.fabersnowshoes.com/pls/prod_prod_bout51/iwae.proc_aigu?P_type_api=BOUTIK&P_lang=2&P_defi_ecra=3&P_cie=000019950000&P_type_acce=PUBLIC

9:50 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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If you want wood snowshoes, Iverson is a good brand.

http://www.iversonssnowshoes.com/

I have a pair by Atlas and a pair by Iverson, both are good. 

11:38 p.m. on November 9, 2011 (EST)
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Humm, If your like me and hate to rent because it's , bothersome, a hassel, takes to much time and energy than it's worth.  Then maybe you should look at some.........yes.............I'll say it again..........Used, whoda thought.   If you've never shoed before and don't know if you would like it why would you want to spend money one a lower end shoe when you could have last years best shoe  for the same price or most likely a lot less.  If I recall correctly you did that with a bike and it did not work out so well.  If you find that you don't like shoing then you will have a high quality shoe to sell/tade rather than a low end shoe to try and get rid of.  With so much great used gear out htere low end stuff airnt worth the stamo it takes to send it to someone.  This years new and improved shoes are not very much if any better than last years top of the line shoes.   Why not buy some used last years top of the line shoes for the same price of a lower quality new pair.  Though this is exactly the wrong time of the year to be getting the "best deal" on shoes, it's still a really crappy economy and there will be lots of great deals out there on shoes that have been by this time, very well reviewed.  Just my thoughts.

12:30 a.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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I'll second that Iverson is a good brand, as is Faber. Atlas and Tubbs used to be made in NA, but both are made in China, if I recall. Sometimes army surplus stores have good snow shoes, often made by Tubbs when they were made in Vermont. Wooden shoes require more maintenance, and have advantages over aluminum or plastic. They'll last longer as well.

While I'm all for not breaking the bank for a beginner, IMHO, many beginners make the mistake of buying poor quality gear because they don't want to invest a lot in a sport that they might not enjoy. The downside to that is that poor quality gear can often mean that a beginner won't enjoy the sport.

1:11 a.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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All this is good...Ape...I will start looking used so I can get something of better quality.

9:44 a.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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Snowshoes depend on what kind of terriegn you will be hiking? Lots of tree or open meadows? I use Tubbs wooden snowshoes, the metal ones are lighter, but don't handle them when your hands are bare. ouch!

I use the long Yukons as they are best for supreme floatation and are long and naorrower than the rounder Beavertail mdels which are best for the thick woods. The Yukon model are best for the open field/meadows.

Like the first answer above they are hard to walk on as you have to learn to walk with your steps a lil more wider or you tend to step on the sides and trip. Falling into deep snow , then swimming your way out after falling is not fun.

Also use hiking poles they help keep you from falling and make walking in the snow shoes much easier.

Wear waterproof boots like ribber one as your feet will stay much dryer and warmer.

Crosscountry skiing is fun but not as practical in deep woods areas. They need open space to kick and glide and to be able to turn in.

Have fun!!!

11:01 a.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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The metal framed military surplus snowshoes might be a good value.  I have not used them, but they look solid.

2:06 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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I truly don't know how to characterize the areas I would be using them beccause I don't know other than to say outside Las Vegas and in Southern Utah.  I have great Leki Poles...I'll need baskets for them, right?

2:30 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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If you look back on Trailspace over the past 10 years, you will see that I recommended Atlas. We got the first Atlas in the household as a result of meeting the inventor. Perry did the design as a grad student under my next door neighbor, a Stanford engineering professor (his most recent crop of grad students make up a large fraction of the engineers at Tesla Motors). The first 3 or 4 generations of Atlas were a big improvement over previous snowshoes. I used them on Denali, winter backpacks in the Sierra, in the Echo-Kirkwood ski/snowshoe race, and more. Since Barb and I lead snowshoe hikes for the Sierra Club, I get a chance to see just about every variety of snowshoe. 

For most backcountry travel on snow, I do prefer skis (telemark, of course), far easier and far faster than on snowshoes. However, for setting up camp and moving around the tents, snowshoes do make things a lot easier.

Perry sold Atlas to Tubbs, which became part of K2. Frankly, the quality of both Atlas and Tubbs has dropped in the past few years. Still, my current ranking of snowshoes is this - for aluminum frame with Hypalon deck 1. Easton, 2. Atlas, 3. Tubbs (don't really like their binding), 4. Redfeather, 5. "the rest". MSR's is a rather unique design, with a preference for my type of snowshoeing being their "cookie cutter" frame, though I do like the carbon fiber "waffle plate", and I do find the extension very useful in deep snow. All of these I find quite good on steep slopes, with the Easton the best for traversing a steep slope.

We do have the "tennis racket" mesh snowshoes as well. They are good, IF you pick the right one for the snow conditions - remember that there are over a dozen styles available at present, ranging from the "bearpaw" configuration to the superlong and wide Yukon. Great if you want the classics, but the modern designs work better for a wide range of conditions.

On the snowshoe hikes we lead, I have found that it is absolutely vital to carry a repair kit. Every single group hike longer than a couple miles has seen at least one repair, ranging from bindings to broken shoes. The vast majority have been rentals, hence very abused. However, in choosing based on reliability, I used to say Atlas above all others (Easton these days). The biggest problem has been bindings. With the MSRs, operator error with the bindings is most common (never seen one break, but lots of confusion on how to put them on correctly). On the other hand, the MSRs are very light compared to many of the others with the same level of flotation. I have seen many Tubbs and Redfeather bindings fail (mostly a rivet pulling through the strap), though most of those have been rental shoes (Tubbs and Redfeather seem to be the most commonly available at rental shops), hence the most abused. Most people seem to buy the low end of the line in all the brands (the Atlas 8 and 9 series, for example). These generally are much less sturdy than the higher end.

One thing to look at closely is the bindings - compare the ones for the different brands and actually put them on in the store before buying a pair. Some of the binding designs are really confusing and easy to put on wrong. I really like the ratchet bindings on my Atlas. I like some of the MSR bindings (their different series have significantly different bindings), once they are on. But I have found them to be confusing to people at first. Have the store clerk go over the bindings in detail and make sure you thoroughly understand how to put them on and how to adjust the tightness.

And as mentioned by someone earlier, take the boots you will use to the store and make sure the bindings fit the boots. I usually use my Scarpa Invernos, though sometimes I use my Sorel Caribous, which are a close fit in some bindings. My Scarpa Olympus Mons boots fit in very few standard bindings.

4:27 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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Hey Gift, Here my thoughts. There is a lot of talk of different types of shoes. Here's my thought's do some research and figure out where you will be shoeing. You can get much info from all the rental places on A)areas to go shoeing in and B) what kinds, brands of shoes they have and if they have a number of different shoes for different areas and snow conditions. Just as we all have different tents, backpacks, boot's, stoves, insert any other piece of equipment, we have many different types of shoes. In the beginning, even with me I had one tent, stove, backpack, sleeping bag, that met most if not all my needs. If your willing to do a little reading, listening to what people use and why, call your local rental shops and then make one big trip to REI (or some large sporting goods store with quality people who know what there doing) and see what they have to offer. I would go with a smaller shoe that allows you to use them, test them in as many different terrains as possible. After that I would keep an eye on EBay for what you want. If you want to do the Craigslist thing you may be able to find better deals but less selection.   Below are  pictures of my Power Wings that I have had for years and use once in a while when I get invited to go shoeing.  I picked them up at a yearend clearance sale for $30 12-15 years ago.  I usually don't go by my self as I'm just not into the snow thing (that’s why I moved away form Colorado). Do not forget to add the weight of what you are going to carry in yoiu pack when yoiu are starting to look at shoes and explaining to people how much weight the shoes will have to carry. Remember if you get a shoe that doesn’t cost much but was in past years a good quality shoe, you can always hold on too them for backup and or for people who you might invite to go shoeing with you. Buying shoes will be no different than buying any other piece of equipments that we all might be thinking of and deserves some thought and effort or will end up with some crap shoe or a shoe that does not fit your needs, wants, and desires and will make shoeing miserable.  And a bad shoeing experience will turn you off to the sport right away.

 

 


DSC05155.jpg

 

Bottom and side view.
DSC05156.jpg

These shoes have served me well for years. They are most likely not made to be as efficient as other shoes in varying conditions but I have never had a problem with them they have great bindings and I have nothing bad to say about them. I do not profess to be a expert when it comes to shoes and in fact just the opposite. I just got plain lucky when I bought these. Again armed with a little knowledge and listening to the experience of Trailspace members coupled with the local knowledge that can be garnered form local stores and rental companies will most likely result in you picking the right shoes for many years to come.

4:33 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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There used to be a guy that I met when I was 18, in Ellensburg Washington, who went to my church. He was amazing and built snow shoes out at his farm. His name was Gene Prater and his family were friends of mine for oh so long. I knew his kids, wife and him. Wish I had some of his Sherpa's now!

 

http://www.snowshoemag.com/2005/02/22/pioneer-profile-gene-prater-and-bill-prater/

 

I am going to read more, ask questions, find out where my friends go when they go and then grab some and try it out. THANKS!

4:34 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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Bill mentioned the bindings which is a great point.  I once rented a pair of Tubbs and had problems with the bindings staying put.  When it came time to buy I bought Atlas and the bindings are much more secure.  I bought my wife a pair of Atlas last year and though the bindings have changed they still seem to work well.

As far as style, in deep powdery snow my Iverson wood framed shoes are better than my atlas.  In packed snow and hilly terrain the atlas are better.  As with most gear, there is on one perfect item.

5:25 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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gifttogab,  Prater is one of the more familiar names in the NW, along with Larry Penberthy, Harvey Manning, the Springs and the Beckeys. Gene's books, "Snowshoeing" and "Snow Trails" have a place in my library. I still have a pair of Sherpas and they are great shoes, very durable. Arctic Trekker shoes are very similar, but like the Sherpas, are more expensive.

Yes, you will need baskets for your trekking poles.

As far as snow, will get into powder in your area, so floatation is important. Bill is correct that a repair kit is important. Rivets pull out(though Sherpas didn't have rivets), bindings can break.

5:40 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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Erich: I loved Gene. I did not know Bill as well. Gene used to talk to me after church when we would go to breakfast about hiking and climbing and Everest and other climbs in teh Cascades. He was always taking people up Mt Stewart....still one of my fave mountains. I often think of him and miss him. He used to sleep with the windows open in Ellesnburg winters to prevent himself getting too soft for cold weather outings!

5:45 p.m. on November 10, 2011 (EST)
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giftogab said:

He used to sleep with the windows open in Ellesnburg winters to prevent himself getting too soft for cold weather outings!

I sleep with the windows open in the winter as well. Honestly, I have trouble sleeping in the winter if the windows are not open. At the same time I have to be fair to the wife. 

She doesn't find the cold weather as enjoyable as I do. We were discussing the possibility of a trip here in the next month or so. Her response was "I'm not sleeping out in 32 degree or less weather, are you crazy?"

My response was "duh, you didn't realize this before we tied the knot? 32 is warm." 

12:41 a.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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OGBO, what do you recommend for parts to create a snowshoe repair kit? I have looked around but haven't found any commercially packaged repair kits for the Atlas 1235's I bought last year.

12:47 a.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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Gift, as has been suggested, I too would suggest renting before buying. I understand the inconvenience factor. But having rented various times myself before finally choosing a pair to buy, I found the differerent makes/models had quite different characteristics. Buying first, you could end up with a style you don't like...

Also be sure to check out the weight ratings for the different sizes in whatever model you choose. This way you can target your intended use and the amount of weight you plan to carry to make sure the snowshoes are appropriate.

2:27 p.m. on November 11, 2011 (EST)
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bheiser1 said:

OGBO, what do you recommend for parts to create a snowshoe repair kit? I have looked around but haven't found any commercially packaged repair kits for the Atlas 1235's I bought last year.

 Duct tape and baling wire, or course!

Prater's Snowshoeing book (published by the Mountaineers) has a chapter on maintenance and repair (turns out I have met Prater a couple of times, though many years ago). What you carry depends on whether you have wooden or metal snowshoes. When I was using primarily wooden snowshoes, I carried a couple of spare bindings. However, you can improvise bindings for almost any snowshoe from accessory cord or tubular sling (look at the various binding styles in Prater's book and use that 100 feet of accessory cord that you carry for replacement of tent guys and boot laces - you do carry a supply, don't you?). The accessory cord should be 6-7mm or the sling should be 1/2 inch - it will wear pretty rapidly if you have more than 5 miles to go back to the car. If you don't have access to the book, think about how you wrap a suspected sprained or broken ankle.

If you break the frame of wooden shoes and are in forested country, you can splint the frame using branches and accessory cord. Breaking metal frames is something I have never seen, but I suppose you could splint the frame the same way. Or you could carry some lengths of 1/4 inch angle aluminum (this is a good splint for tent poles and ski poles anyway, and should be in your kit). Hold it in place with a wrap of duct tape, baling wire, or wrapping accessory cord (you thought I was joking about the baling wire and duct tape, didn't you?). You will need a pair of needle nose pliers (real ones, turns out the Leatherman and other multitool versions don't really work as well as dedicated needle-nose of a good quality professional workman's brand - sometimes helps to have 2 pairs of the needlenose, and NOT the tiny ones, get full-size ones that you can handle with gloves in really cold weather). Use a "rescue knife" to cut the cord or sling, and use your lighter to melt the ends.

Repair of the MSR "waffle plate" snowshoes is harder in the field. But I have never heard of them breaking. I have seen binding issues, including 2 lost(!!!!) straps (same guy, first one on the outbound part of the trip near the turnaround, the second one halfway back to the cars - I never did figure out how he could do that). 

Snowshoes are pretty dependable, though, except for the bindings. With skis, you used to have to carry spare tips of the proper size, replacement screws for the bindings (and the tool for inserting them), and sometimes replacement cables and 3-pin plates for the boots. Since the screws would sometimes strip out (still do for some people), you need to carry wooden golf tees and hot-melt glue sticks, along with the right-size screws.

9:39 a.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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I would also recommend Rent before buy.. Everybody is different and it's an investment.. It depends on where you snow shoe.. in RMNP you could be on wind packed snow, powder and even mash across talus under the snow every now and then. so we went bombproof MSR Denali.. heavier, I had MSR Lightning with an adjustable binding.. swivel thing. Thank God the folks at the Mountain Shop in Estes Park traded me out, otherwise i would have been out 200 bucks.. and they only charge 5 bucks for a day, which is a really cheap test bed.. "just sayin"..

have fun

10:04 a.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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Thanks. I am going to talk to the REI guy. Most of our REI people are simply retail people who need a job. But there is one guy there that is the bomb on stuff and I will talk to him. I wish I were in San Fran or Seattle...then the REI peeps are the BEST

3:03 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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giftogab said:

Thanks. I am going to talk to the REI guy. Most of our REI people are simply retail people who need a job. But there is one guy there that is the bomb on stuff and I will talk to him. I wish I were in San Fran or Seattle...then the REI peeps are the BEST

 Don't kid yourself. Somewhere in Trailspace I related the story of the clerk I overheard telling a customer that "Here are the compasses. There are two kinds of compasses, the ones that point to magnetic north and the ones that point to true north. You want the one that points to true north." This was the Saratoga store which generally has the most knowledgable staff in the SFBay Area, along with the Beserkeley shop. Usually, the Saratoga and Beserkeley stores have knowledgable people in climbing, backpacking, bicycling, and skiing. But some of the other 8 (or is it 9 now) REIs in town (and almost all the Sports Basements) are staffed by non-outdoor folks who are desperate for a job.

Another one was the supposedly most knowledgable person concerning climbing gear in one of the other REI shops who told me that nylon tubular sling (the 1 inch variety that climbers have been using for decades) was not "climbing rated". After that, I had a chat with a climbing buddy who works at the Saratoga shop about this "expert". He made an anonymous visit and then had a talk with the store manager - the "climbing expert" very soon was gone from REI.

No matter what shop you go to, REI, EMS, or whatever, you need to listen carefully, preferably with someone with experience in the kind of gear you are looking for.

And, yes, I am a long-time REI member (low 5 digit number). The stores these days are far different from when I joined (there was only 1 store at that time).

3:29 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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When I walk into a store like REI, I generally know what I am looking for because I have spent time looking at reviews on the Internet or asking questions on a site like Trailspace.  Before the Internet, we used to rely on salespeople for that knowledge.  I Used to work in retail, so I don't expect anyone working at a store to know about every product in the place, but I would hope that someone would know something. Unfortunately, that isn't always true. Specialty gear like climbing gear, especially if safety is an issue, should be sold by people who know what they are talking about. 

One trick I use is to "play dumb" and ask a few simple questions to see if the sales person has a clue. If he/she passes that test, then I am comfortable asking the questions I really have about a product. I'm not trying to trick anyone, but if they know less than I do, what's the point in asking them anything?

4:15 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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My biggest problem doing research on this is I really am not sure about the places I will be going and what the terrain/snow is in comparison to what it was like where I remember it most, the PNW. Now I am in Southern Nevada and will be doing just a bit of shoeing and it will be here and in Southern Utah.

6:36 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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giftogab said:

My biggest problem doing research on this is I really am not sure about the places I will be going and what the terrain/snow is in comparison to what it was like where I remember it most, the PNW. Now I am in Southern Nevada and will be doing just a bit of shoeing and it will be here and in Southern Utah.

 

 Erich said:

"As far as snow, will get into powder in your area, so floatation is important."

I would have to agree. Most all the snow that falls in the PNW is wet, wet heavy snow. My smaller shoes seem to work well in the wet snow that compacts beneath them. I would guess that you will most likly encounter very dry light powder to slightly wet snow, but mostly snow that tends towards the powdery end of the snow spectrum in which larger/wider shoes would work better. Again that's where locals come in. Pick some of the places you know that your going to go and maybe some of the places you dream of going and give the rental areas a call and see what their renting out. You may not necessarily want to buy the brands that they use as they usually get the ones that are best able to make them the most money on  renting them out but, they will have the styles, types and sizes of shoes that will best fit the conditions that they are renting so as to keep there customers happy. Once you find the style of shoe then your can look at the different brands that fall into that style of shoe. But I would have to, with my very limited experience, agree with Erich in that you will need a pair of flotation shoes. Remember however if you buy on EBay or Craigslist you can get a pair for powder and a pair for wet snow for less than the price of one new pair. You might even have enough money left over to pay for the gas for you first trip shoeing.  If you have never used EBay then many here could likly help your figure it out.  They even make sniping programs that will bid in the very last seconds of the auction for you so you don't have to sit around and watch auctions like I do.

You might also just take gander at Craigslist in your area and see what styles of shoes people are selling.  If you find that a great deal of them are of one stlye,  that will give you another indication of the types of shoes that are used in a given area.

9:27 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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giftogab said:

My biggest problem doing research on this is I really am not sure about the places I will be going and what the terrain/snow is in comparison to what it was like where I remember it most, the PNW. Now I am in Southern Nevada and will be doing just a bit of shoeing and it will be here and in Southern Utah.

 With the Sierra so close, I would expect you to be doing a lot of your snow travel there. The East Side and the Whites are as close as much of the stuff in southern Utah. Heading up 95 and dropping over to Bishop on 6 isn't a lot further than Cedar Breaks. That gives you access to the Whites plus Sabrina and South Lake.

10:53 p.m. on November 12, 2011 (EST)
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South Lake Tahoe you mean? That is HOURS away. I ahve to do day trips due to dogs and my father. I will be going up to Charleston to start with. My friends go to Utah...maybe I wont be going in the short run if it requires overnight to do it. But I do want to get started and Charleston will be the closest to begin with.

3:21 a.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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Charleston, start but shoeing it in the soft sandy beaches

7:57 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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giftogab said:

South Lake Tahoe you mean? That is HOURS away....

 No, no, no! South Lake, near Bishop and Lake Sabrina. Hours and hours closer!

Not a lot of snowshoeing in southern Utah for a day trip made entirely during daylight. But there is some at the North Rim, and sometimes at the South Rim, which is lower.

8:45 p.m. on November 13, 2011 (EST)
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Ok...thanks....I will break out the atlas and see where to go. It will be after thanks giving, most likely.

2:15 a.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
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The OGBO said this:

But some of the other 8 (or is it 9 now) REIs in town (and almost all the Sports Basements) are staffed by non-outdoor folks who are desperate for a job.

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This summer I picked up a car-camping style propane canister at a local sporting goods store. When I got to the check-out counter I set it down to pay. The guy at the register looked at the canister and asked me, "what's that for?". I was too stunned for a moment to even respond. Finally I got my wits about me and simply said, "it's for my lantern". He mumbled something about, "oh I meant..." and just trailed off...

On the other hand, one of their local stores has a guy in the pack department that seems experienced. I have overheard him helping other customers and he seems to really know his stuff.

On yet another hand, in yet another local store, I overheard someone asking for help with climbing gear as I shopped in an adjacent dept. The sales guy told him he could tell him about the gear but wasn't allowed to give him any advice on using it. He went on to explain it was a new rule, something about liability...

6:17 p.m. on November 15, 2011 (EST)
255 reviewer rep
1,469 forum posts

Looking forward to hearing your real action review

December 20, 2014
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