Once the snow falls, it’s time to snowshoe

Paula Porter/For the Mining Gazette Snowshoes at Swedetown

Snowshoeing here in the Copper Country is as real as it gets. The weather can be warmer or colder, sunny or dark, the biggest factor is snow. It is a purely recreational sport that can be done nearly any winter day, although it is a necessity to have snow at least to a point.

Meaning snow is a criteria to snowshoeing, however it can all depend. Certain areas could have less or more snow, and it is something that you can assess and adjust for.

If the snow conditions seem less ideal with snowshoes on, then you simply stop and take them off. Hopefully before you’re too far in to need to carry them or leave them behind some random tree. Winter here is about adapting to current weather conditions. Wear your best hiking boots, and you’re well on your way.

The best months of the year here in the Copper Country for snow lovers are the “white” months, typically November to April depending on the year. Meaning snow and lots of it. Obviously, this year has not been ideal — yet.

The benefits to snowshoeing are numerous. Exercise, fresh air, relaxation, sightseeing, camadarie if you go with friends or family. Solo hikes can be beneficial, too. It is a simple adventure most can enjoy. And it’s good to get your heart pumping. Being outside in the Copper Country is good for your health.

The main aspect of snowshoeing that is unique is that it’s not that difficult to do. The first decision is finding a pair of snowshoes you prefer. The newer designs being lightweight plastic ones that can be actually quite enjoyable to use. Make sure the fit is good and you’re good to go. Older wooden snowshoes have a great appeal to them as well. Either kind of snowshoe design works. Keep a wide stance and avoid stepping on your own snowshoes — that is all there is to it.

Here in the Copper Country, there are endless local places to go snowshoeing: McLain State Park, Tech trails, Swedetown trails, Chassell trails, Maasto Hiihto trails and local beaches. Or friend’s and family’s houses, especially if they live in the country. Wear warm layers depending on current temperatures and wear sunglasses. The snow sure gets bright up here!

Snowshoeing is a local highlight of winter activities here in the Copper Country. Seeing the wildlife, different animal prints and freshly snow-covered trees and bushes in the snow is what winter is about. There are times where trails will even be lit up at night for special events.

One caveat is on ski trails make sure to not go on the main ski trails if it’s going to put ruts in it. In the event of conditions like that, it’s best to go up further and off towards the woods more. Plus, it’s a lot of fun and good exercise. Do not snowshoe on snowmobile trails.

The biggest factor to snowshoeing is getting the snowshoes on and going. Once you hit that snow it’s full speed ahead. The condition of the snow is personal preference, that’s what’s unique also about snowshoeing. The snow can be both less fresh or less deep, and you can still go snowshoeing.

It is mostly about getting out on snowy trails and enjoying the winter weather here in the Copper Country. It is one of the reasons we enjoy living here. Something about being out in our woods enjoying the peace and solitude is next to being in heaven. Nothing simply compares.

Snowshoeing is so simple that you basically just need good balance to do it. And even with that you could still try it and use ski poles if you’re uncertain about balancing properly. The ski poles will help you balance better and stay upright. Additionally, ski poles will be beneficial for going up any hills, too. It’s nice to have the added stability and to lean on for any sightseeing breaks.

Next, if you plan to go awhile, remember to take some water and let family or friends know your plans. Or take a backpack of essentials with you for deeper longer snowshoeing hikes. Try to check the weather forecast beforehand, too. Being stuck in a white out or a blizzard is not fun. Trust us on this one.

Short snowshoeing hikes or long hikes. It’s all your personal preference. Find the snowshoes, find the trail or make your own, and your Copper Country snowshoeing adventure awaits!


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