Get eye-to-eye with nature during the winter in Colorado in a pair of go-anywhere showshoes. Walk (or run for a full-body cardio workout) through quiet forests and experience the solitude of this solo or group activity. Guided snowshoe tours are available at many resorts. Half-day and full-day trips are offered and snowshoe rentals often come with poles and trail maps. Some resorts offer full-moon or starlight snowshoe tours throughout the season.
If you are new to snow, snowshoeing is one of the easiest ways to acquaint yourself with snow. It is a very natural parallel body movement, just like walking. However, don't be fooled. Snowshoeing is physically demanding and does require proper gear for the outing you are planning. Getting the right gear will make your excursion fun. Along with selecting the snowshoes that will work best for you, using poles is popular as they will help with balance. Dress for the occasion as well. Snowshoeing is an aerobic sport so dress in layers and consider bringing a backpack so you can stash extra clothes once you heat up. Bring water and snacks is a good idea too.
Snowshoes that have a small surface area are the easiest to get used to. They are lightweight and don't extend that far in front of or behind your boot. This smaller diameter enables a more natural stride versus a larger snowshoe requires a more animated stride. You have to learn to pick up your feet to allow the snowshoe to clear the snow, not trip or catch the snowshoe. These small surface area snowshoes are best used on packed trails. As they will sink in deep snow, proving to be useless. They are popular when used for snowshoe running. however, snowshoe running is best on packed trails.
Snowshoeing can go wherever there is snow, no trail is needed. However, if you're heading out into deep untracked snow. Untracked means no person has previously stomped in a trail. Then you need to be prepared with larger surface area snowshoes. The larger the snowshoe the more they will "float" or stay on top of the snow. Although staying on top of the snow sounds like a wonderful idea. Snowshoeing through deep powder without a trail beaten in requires a great deal of effort and coordination. Trudging through fresh snow offers a lot of resistance plus you have to be good with placing your snowshoe and balancing on the snowshoe with each step. If you're planning on going a distance, it's best to have at least one or two people along so you can take turns breaking in the new trail.
Perhaps you want to try out snowshoeing and a friend offers you a pair of old rawhide snowshoes with leather buckle straps. Honestly, these old snowshoes are best used as wall hangers. Renting snowshoes is really inexpensive. Don't waste your time trying to make old snowshoes work. It's best just to go rent the most modern snowshoes you can find.
Looking for another way to hit the trails this winter? Nordic or cross-country skiing is also another popular winter alternative to alpine skiing.