This winter has been a blessing for those who cross-country ski and snowshoe. After a few years with below average snowfall totals the Lehigh Valley has already received over 41 inches (more than the average of 33 inches) of the white stuff and it’s only mid-February with many more forecasted storms on the horizon.
After several weeks with plenty of good snow for cross-country skiing we received a storm last week that ended with ice. The storm played havoc on sidewalks and roadways, and made the foot or so of snow pack icy and near impossible to walk on.
If you tried to walk on the snow you either slid across the icy surface or broke through it. Plus, it wasn’t good conditions for cross-country skiing, but for the snowshoers this was perfect. Remember, snowshoes spread out a person’s weight across a wide area which prevents them from sinking into the snow.
Over the weekend local trails were virtually void of walkers as the temps moderated into the mid-20s’ with light winds. So the shoers who made it out had a great time. And Sunday afternoon ended with some light snow making it plain awesome.
If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Snowshoeing, when done right, requires only a slight adjustment to normal walking. Lift the shoes slightly and slide the inner edges over each other, keeping your feet directly under your weight, avoiding an unnatural and fatiguing bow-legged gait. You can roll your feet slightly and exaggerate your stride when you start out.
Snowshoeing can give you a great workout and snowshoes are relatively inexpensive. Poles aren't necessarily needed, but they can help with balance and are helpful when climbing hills and add the arms into your workout.
You can snowshoe in any field, at a park, your backyard or at many of the great trails throughout the Valley. Some of the best places to snowshoe or cross-country ski are at Lehigh University’s Goodman Campus, the Lehigh Parkway in Allentown, the Lehigh and Delaware Towpaths (D&L Trail) and at Nockamixon State Park.