MSR Snowshoes Review – Why I’m a Diehard Fan

Snowshoeing with a furry friend in Cheakamus Canyon, Whistler B.C.

Snowshoeing with a furry friend in Cheakamus Canyon, Whistler B.C.

Well, hiking season is winding down, sadly. But on the bright side, that means snowshoe season is on its way!

I’m not so into skiing of snowboarding, even though the “cool factor” for those sports may be higher than snowshoeing. But I’m an avid snowshoe fan!

If you haven’t snowshoed before, you’re in for a treat. Snowshoeing is pretty much like hiking, except your “hiking shoes” are extremely big and clunky. 🙂 It takes some getting used to, and you may trip over your snowshoes a few times at first. But after a few minutes you’ll be clomping along just fine.

And it’s so much fun to hike through the snow! The best scenario is when you snowshoe on a sunny day with fresh, fluffy snow. It’s like being a kid again, squishing through the fresh white landscape. Or if you come across a well-traveled trail, try bum-sliding down a hill! Just be sure the end of the slope doesn’t take you off-trail (or worse yet down the mountainside).

This brings me to why I adore my snowshoes, which are Women’s MSR Ascents. I’ve tried a wide variety of snowshoes, but I haven’t found any snowshoes that can match MSRs for versatility, useability, and grip.

The key with MSR Ascents are that they have a unique metal frame around the edges, with lots of grippy teeth, as you can see in this photo:

Mine are a slightly older model of these

Mine are a slightly older model of these

Other snowshoes have metal tubing for a frame, which are lightweight, but don’t have any grip. The only teeth are in the center of the snowshoe, which makes it harder to trust that your foot will stick when you place it on a slippery, icy patch of snow.

Ascents also have easy to use bindings to strap in your boots, and heel lifts. If you’re thinking of getting a pair of snowshoes that don’t have heel lifts — believe me, it’s worth the extra $$ to get a pair with heel lifts! They make those uphill slogs much more pleasant.IMG_0177

My MSRs work great, whether I’m frolicking through fresh powder, or across icy stuff. And believe me, I’ve tested these puppies. My friend V and I once got stranded on the backside of a mountain after sliding off-trail. We had to literally climb back out, kicking out footholds for our feet with our snowshoes! I was very grateful for MSR’s extra grip.

I honestly can’t think of any downside to MSR snowshoes. Perhaps it could be nice if they somehow included a hot chocolate dispenser feature. But MSRs are lightweight, perform great, and include special snowshoes designed for women or those with narrower gaits. Plus, MSR hails from my hometown in Seattle, Washington 🙂

Whatever snowshoes you end up with, I hope you’ll get a chance to get out to the mountains this winter! (And my sympathies to those that don’t live near any snowy mountains).. Just remember to stay safe. Stay on trail, be prepared for the elements, bring a map and emergency numbers, and hike with others!

Happy hiking,

Tiffany

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cover-Easy-Hiking-RecipesP.S.: Check out my e-book Easy Hiking Recipes for more flavor ideas to spice up your meals this winter!

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What Reading and Hiking Have in Common

Discovering new vistas on the Diez Vistas trail in Vancouver

Discovering new vistas on the Diez Vistas trail in Vancouver

I was a major nerd in school. What am I saying; I still am a nerd! 🙂 But I was a bonafide bookworm all through junior high and high school. I read everything, from Nancy Drew to cheesy historical romances, to Dostoyevsky, to daily newspapers, to sci-fi. I particularly loved reading fantasy novels, and almost exclusively read fiction.

In college I continued to read, but textbook reading tended to take precedence over reading for pleasure. Then when I got out of school, I gave into the trend of reading non-fiction to “better” myself. Nothing wrong with that, but there’s this idea that non-fiction is somehow fiction is a “waste of time” because it’s purely for entertainment, rather than non-fiction which is for educational purposes (like, cooking for instance ;)).

My world was pretty small and boring, but when I read a book, I suddenly escaped to a world of possibilities. I loved nothing better than to escape into a world filled with adventure, where anything could happen.

I love hiking for the same reason. When I was a kid, I found adventures through reading. Then when I discovered hiking (regretfully at the ripe old age of 23), I discovered that I could have adventures in my own life too! I could venture into the unknown, face grueling challenges, and–literally–reach new vistas. This is also the reason I fell in love with martial arts, and rock climbing. To me they are all related.

Writers who dare to dream up a new world have that same sparkle in their eyes as a hiker surveying a new trail to explore. Climbers who tackle a rock crag with 100% focus have the same electric charge radiating from them as a martial artist who is totally engrossed by the form they’re practicing.

Many of our lives are pretty cushy; I know mine is. It’s easy to get lulled into complacency, just going with the flow out of fear or laziness. Hiking keeps the laziness at bay for me.

Life is a great adventure. So put on your hiking boots, or dust off that book you’ve been meaning to read, and join me in discovering some new horizons to explore!

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ps – If interested, check out my e-book Easy Hiking Recipes: Simple Meal Ideas for Day Hikes and Other Outdoor Adventures!