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Joyously running snowshoers October 21, 2008

Posted by Jenny in hiking, Uncategorized.
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My first post!  It will be a curmudgeonly one.   And, I must confess, there will be further curmudgeonliness in days and weeks to come.

Latest copy of L.L. Bean’s outdoor gear catalog shows a couple joyously bounding along in their snowshoes.  Similar bouncy people can be found on the REI website.  I first noticed this theme in advertising copy five or so years ago.  Two things wrong with this:

  • They are running on a packed surface on which snowshoes are not necessary.  If they were actually breaking through snow, they would not be running.
  • Judging by the size of the snowshoes, they are each carrying approximately five extra pounds of weight on their feet.  Five pounds of weight on the feet is much harder to manage than five extra pounds in a backpack.  They are not having fun.

Snowshoes are a wonderful invention that make it possible to go many places in winter, but breaking trail with snowshoes is very hard work.  Best thing is to go out with three or more people and take turns being out in front.  And try taking those snowshoes up a steep granite ledge!  (It can be done on the principle of “three grunts forward, two slithers back.”)

How many people have seen the pictures in the catalog and bought snowshoes that they only used once or twice?  How many fools have taken their snowshoes on cross-country touring centers and trudged along sadly as skiers happily glided past?  I knew it—it’s a conspiracy of snowshoe manufacturers!

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