First snowshoeing holiday? 5 best beginner’s questions answered

So it’s your first time on a snowshoeing holiday : naturally you may have some questions. Here are 5 tips for snowshoe first-timers, based on client questions we regularly answer!

Do I need snowshoeing equipment?

On our snowshoeing holidays we supply all the equipment you need!
You will get a good pair of modern snowshoes and walking poles suitable for trekking through deep snow. You just need your boots (good waterproof hiking boots) and warm breathable socks.

Modern snowshoes and sticks in snow
We supply modern snowshoes and poles

The guide will also give you a transceiver, probe and shovel – safety equipment that is obligatory on all snowshoe trips. Happily we’ve never had to use them as the guide are mountain experts and will surveil weather and avalanche conditions – but in the mountains it doesn’t do to go unprepared.

What level of fitness do I need to fully enjoy a snowshoeing holiday?

If you can walk, then you can snowshoe! In other words, if you’re used to regular walking, hiking or hillwalking on walks of a couple of hours, you will have no problem participating in one of our snowshoe trips.

While most of our public trips are rated “moderate”, some may be more accessible than others. Our French Alps snowshoeing holiday in the Queyras is a good choice for first-timers for example, as the walks are on gentler rolling slopes in the high valleys of the Queyras Natural park.

A group of snowshoe walkers
A group of snowshoe walkers

If you have any doubts about your condition or would like some advice, don’t hesitate to contact us before booking!

Is snowshoeing technically difficult?

Again : if you can walk, then you can snowshoe! There is a certain technique to snowshoeing that the guide will show you & is very quickly integrated ; indeed it quickly becomes natural especially in deep snow (try walking through hip-deep snow without snowshoes and you’ll see why!)

Snowshoeing with guide in the Alps
Vincent leads the way!

How should I dress for a day’s snowshoeing?

Bright sun, blue skies and dazzling white snowfields : it can get warm in the mountains on a sunny day! Don’t forget to layer up so you can remove layers if you get too warm :

On top, wear a 3-layer combo of :

  • breathable base layer, t shirt or long sleeved top – avoid cotton
  • thermal fleece jacket or top
  • waterproof breathable jacket on top

On the bottom :

  • warm pants, plus a waterproof pants
    Some people wear ski pants ; you may also like to wear a combo of long underwear and warm outer hiking pants.
  • And we’ve already mentioned footwear : good waterproof hiking boots and warm breathable socks.
Snowshoers in full snowshoe gear on a snowsy path in the Alps
All kitted out!

On a snowshoe walk, what do I need in my daybag?

Our best advice is to travel light! There are some essentials that you will need to carry :
We’ve already mentioned sunglasses ; some people may prefer goggles such as skiing goggles. In general we use sunglasses!
Water : at least 1.5 litres, in bottles or alternatively a camelback
Suncream : the sun can get strong with the reflections from the slopes!
Gloves : 2 pairs, a light pair and a heavier pair in case of snow.
Picnic lunch : on the trip details you will see which days are picnic lunches, and the guide will also explain this during the welcome meeting at the start of the trip. We usually have 2 options for picnic lunches : either the guide brings you to the local foodstore, or else the picnic can be provided by the hotel or hut.

Snowshoeing picnic lunch
Stopping for lunch

2022 Snowshoeing holidays in the Alps and Dolomites

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