Price Paid: approx $200
I am a male 51 year old guy who spends a lot of time outdoors camping, hiking, hunting etc. I enjoy trail running in the summer. I'm 6'0", 190, (about 10 -15 more than I want to be). I stopped road running completely about 8 years ago. I was bored, tired of inhaling exhaust fumes and having drivers flip me the bird when I was crossing with the right of way, and my legs just didn't like the pounding anymore on the long run. I was injured and frustrated when a friend introduced me to the trail scene. I have run for 1 1/2 winters now using the Atlas Run snowshoes - about 25 outings.
I always got a bit depressed when winter set in and I was faced with the treadmill for four months. I ran the snowmobile trail when I could but it was very dependent on trail conditions. Running across a trail drifted with snow and post holing every 6th step was not fun. Salvation came, however in the form of the Atlas Run snowshoe. Last winter after reading an article in Trail Runner Magazine I thought that I had to try this snowshoe running thing.
I was skeptical about how easy this was supposed to be but thought I had to give it a go. After a lot of reading and consideration of price and quality I decided I wanted to try the Atlas Run.
The first problem was that no rental facilities keep any in their lineup. Even at an Atlas demo day the rep didn't have a pair. I buy a lot of my outdoor gear at Adventure Guide in Waterloo Ontario. These guys were absolutely awesome to deal with. They agreed to get a pair of the 'shoes in for me to try out - no obligation to buy. I can't remeber the exact price but I paid about $200.00.
Location- snowmobile trails
Thoughts: the 'shoes were easy to put on and snugged up well. I was initially skeptical that the heel strap would stay in place or even last the 5km test and feared if I I tried to really stride out that i'd end up on my face. I was surprised at how comfortable they were and how easy they were to run in. I kept waiting for something to break but they were great.
The binding is "spring loaded - a sort of energy return system. It causes snow to kick up onto the back of your legs, mostly accumulating on the calves: deal with! (see helpful hints). You are out in the country running with no one bugging you, deer are crossing the trails, your dogs are running ahead having the time of their lives - what else do you want? I finished the run with out incident and anxious to go next day.
Second and subsequent runs:
I was surprised how quickly I became accustomed to the Atlas Run snowshoes. The novelty soon disappeared and I forgot they were on my feet allowing me to enjoy the winter sights and quiet as I drifted effortlessly along the snowmobile trails. I must admit here that i get a huge charge from the reaction I get when I'm rounding the back of the farm field and heading down to the flats in the middle of nowhere and meet a group of snowmobilers coming the other way. Too funny!! They don't know what to think. They think they're the only ones out there!
Ya think I like these 'shoes? I love them!
They are light. If you are into racing you can go to the Atlas Race to save even more weight.
They take a heavier guy like me along the trail no problem.
They are easy to get on and off.
The price was reasonable.
Traction is good with the front and rear crampons
I have not had a problem of any kind with them so far
These 'shoes allow me to stay on the trails year round.
These are racing snowshoes meant for a packed or semi packed trail. Snowmobile trails are ideal. They will not carry you on deeper/powdered snow. If you weigh less than 160 it might be different for you.
Get a pair of gaiters. The 'shoes do kick up snow and it accumulates on my calves - not a huge deal. I doubt if any snowshoes that have a decent energy return system don't do this.
Buy a set of light, collapsible walking poles with a basket attachment for snow. I carry the poles collapsed. I run as far as I can and when I run out of gas I extend the poles and "nordic walk" the rest of the way or until I recover enough to continue running. The "nordic walking" gives me a good upper body work out.
If you are going long, take a small pack with fluids, an extra layer of clothing and a carbo snack. If your pack has a area for carrying your poles- even better.
There is a left and a right 'shoe- and it does make a difference!