Snowshoeing guide

We’re walking in the air. No people far below. The villages go by like dreams, the rivers and the hills, the forests and the streams … so go the lyrics to The Snowman. And so goes the feeling when snowshoeing through remote, white, mountain villages, because snowshoeing takes you into another world. One that is far from the world of skiing, and totally about winter walking. Powder plodding rather than powder pushing. Pondering the pistes rather than bashing them.
Snowshoeing over the snow covered black lava flows on Mount Etna is out of this world. Fire and ice. Very very nice.
And snowshoes are no longer like battered old tennis rackets; they’re made from lightweight aluminium with crampons for extra grip. Attach them to waterproof walking boots, grab some poles for extra leverage, follow your mountain guide and you’re off. Five minutes later forget you are wearing them. Until you try to go backwards, that is. And then you fall flat on your face. Don’t pack your pride for a snowshoeing vacation, just pack your childhood sense of adventure. And go walking in the air.
Read more in our guide to snowshoeing vacations.

Is snow shoeing for you?

Go on a snow shoeing vacation if…

… you love hiking or running in mountainous wild places. It’s the same buzz. In the snow. … you get cabin fever in winter, but skiing isn’t your thing. … off the tourist trail places appeal, such as Bosnia, Albania or Romania. … snow travel means slow travel for you.

Don’t go on a snowshoeing vacation if...

… you are unfit. This is a pretty serious workout, and you are often out and about all day.
… piste parties and snow chic are what you are after. Snowshoeing takes you into remote spots, with huts, cabins or small lodges, and star filled nights of tranquillity.
… you have very young children. Most snowshoeing vacations insist on a minimum age of 12. Although there are family vacations with a mix of winter activities, with snowshoeing thrown in. And children love snowshoeing. Especially the running downhill.
… group travel isn’t your thing. Nearly all snowshoeing vacations are guided in groups by experts.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Snowshoeing or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to go snowshoeing

The wonderful thing about snowshoeing is that most people do it because they love to explore landscape on foot. So, if the snow melts, just put on your hiking boots. It’s no big tragedy.
The Dolomites are wonderful late in the season as the temperature really warms up, but there is still plenty of snow late Feb-early March the best sun and snow combo conditions The French Alps, particularly around Chamonix are wonderfully quiet in January once the New Year celebrations are over. Plus, you can head to good altitudes here, so the snow stays around for quite a while. In Albania you will find quiet spots all the time, but the days start to get longer from February, with more sun too. In Finland, February and March offer the best snowshoeing conditions with a lot of soft snow and also the days start to get light. In Romania, you will get a good 4-6 hours of daytime hiking during January and February. March and April are perfect months for snowshoeing in Austria, higher elevations still blanketed in the white stuff and spring in the air.
Written by Catherine Mack
Photo credits: [Page banner: Jennifer C.] [Top box: Aurelien Breeden] [Go if box: Paxson Woelber] [Best time: Richard Allaway]