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Lightweight Racing Snowshoes: Easton, Louis Garneau, Crescent Moon

Fires were burning, well-outfitted ski bums were quaffing Sierra Nevada, and the latest outdoor equipment was shining in the mountain sunlight of Outdoor Retailer's All Mountain Demo Day on Tuesday at Utah's Solitude Mountain Resort.

Lightweight racing snowshoes from Easton Mountain Products and Louis Garneau, were among the standouts in a large selection of stellar gear. Both were claiming to offer among the lightest racing snowshoes. (Don't worry; we'll tell you which shoes are "the lightest weight snowshoes known to man.")*

Easton Mountain Products

Easton's Vo2 Racing snowshoes utilize a binding system that bolts your choice of standard running shoe directly onto the pivoting binding. It has a luxe carbon fiber deck and a 7075 aluminum articulating frame. The direct-mount arrangement saves weight, but dedicates a specific pair of shoes (like the Salomons above) to your snowshoes. 

Shane Hutcheson of Easton demonstrated the Vo2 Racing snowshoe:

Vo2 Racing Snowshoe

Weight: 1.3 lb / 540 g each

Available: Now

Cost: $299


Louis Garneau

Louis Garneau uses a BOA adjustable binding system, instead of a direct mount, on its Course racing shoes. While slightly heavier, the binding lets you rapidly release from the system and doesn't require you to bolt a shoe onto your snowshoe all winter long.

They're still wickedly light at 700 grams each, and Louis Garneau's product manager, Geoffroy Dassault brags, "These shoes just want to go fast!" He showed off the Courses to us:

Course Snowshoe

Weight: 700 g each

Available: Winter 2014

Cost: $250

Crescent Moon*

While Easton and Louis Garneau offer some lightweight racing snowshoes, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Crescent Moon's "the lightest weight snowshoes known to man."

Crescent Moon's Rocket Carbon Fiber comes in at 2.2 lbs per pair, and  is made with a carbon fiber and carbon nanotube composite frame that's stronger than steel. You can mount them direct (2.2 lbs/pair) or with a binding (2.84 lbs/pair). That light weight comes with a $449 price tag though.

You can read our coverage of the Rocket's prototype, the Black Kilo, from last winter's Outdoor Retailer: Crescent Moon calls its Black Kilo snowshoe a "complete carbon fiber solution”

Rocket Carbon Fiber

Weight: 2.2 lbs per pair (direct); 2.84 lbs (with binding)

Available: Now

Cost: $449


Hmmmm...Well, it's good to see innovation in design (I think?), but I don't really know upon what these snowshoes are improving...I mean, if I'm looking for a pair of race snowshoes, why should I buy any of these over a pair of Northern Lites Race or Elite?

--Northern Lites, both Direct Mount style and binding style, are lighter, and have been for years...

--Northern Lites are made in the USA, by a Wisconsin-based cottage company.

--Northern Lites are priced much lower than the closest competitor here...

I'm sorry, Seth! I hate to sound like I'm crapping on your coverage (you lucky dog...), but what am I missing here?

Don't get me wrong, I've got a pair of Garneau's backcountry snowshoes that I love...

No worries Vince! I was there covering the show, your advice about other available products adds a lot, and I'm sure some aspiring snowshoe racers in the Community will be grateful for it.

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