|Being Canadian, I embrace outdoor winter sports thoroughly, and my favourite winter sport is definitely snowshoeing for a number of really great reasons, followed by downhill skiing as a close second. I was first introduced to snowshoeing some 5 years ago by Linda Service, the General Manager of Scenic Caves. She took me out on a quick familiarization tour down to the Suspension Bridge and back and then up to the Look Out.|
Did I ever learn a few things on that first snowshoe trek and over the past few years now that I have incorporated snowshoeing into my ongoing Quest for Fitness.
• The view from the Suspension Bridge is outstanding in the Winter as well as the view from the Look Out perched high on top of the Escarpment.
• Set your own pace and bring water. I actually had to eat some pristine white snow to wet my whistle. Since then, I have become much more hydrated in general but I always bring a bottle of water with me.
• Don’t overdress. I could not believe how much heat you generate snowshoeing. I have never ever been cold snowshoeing – even on the most frigid days. Choose a jacket that has some venting capabilities and dress in layers.
• Use poles for a better total body workout. If you keep your arms and legs moving, not only do you stay warmer, you burn more calories and exercise more muscle groups. I use my Nordic poles when snowshoeing because the poles are longer and seem to work better for me compared with my downhill poles.
• Make sure that your boots are comfortable and snug fitting. There is nothing worse than a loose fitting pair of boots where you end up getting too much interior foot rub. Even the smallest heal blister can be a real pain. Pop a couple of band aids into your pocket just in case – Elastoplasts are my preferred brand because they are thicker and tend to stay put in high friction areas. It’s an easy fix even if you’re way out on the trail…just slide your foot out of your boot…you don’t even have to undo your snowshoes. Slide off your sock…stick on the band aide and you’re back in business.
• Wear proper sports socks. Investing in a good pair of winter sport socks is probably one of the best investments you’ll ever make. My very favourite winter socks are made by Veba. Scenic Caves Nordic Centre has also expanded their clothing lines in the gift shop and you can find all sorts of winter wear perfect for snowshoeing and Nordic Skiing.
• Snowshoeing burns about twice the amount of calories per hour as walking at a brisk pace on flat ground.
• Snowshoeing burns roughly the same amount of calories per hour as downhill ski racing.
• If you can walk, you can snowshoe and you can control your pace or speed all the time.
• For a person that weighs 200 lbs you can burn approx. 745 calories per hour snowshoeing at a moderate pace. If you weigh 150 lbs you’ll burn approx. 545 calories per hour.
• Snowshoeing is affordable, fun and great exercise.
Scenic Caves Nordic Centre is an awesome location for snowshoeing. Lots of well marked trails with exciting lookout points. No where else can you get a 10,000 square kilometre view from Ontario’s longest suspension bridge.