Aside from regular paths in mountain valleys, specially maintained tracks are also created and marked at about the same elevation as the ski areas. Aside from tours on foot, winter hiking also encompasses ski touring, cross-country ski tours and snowshoeing.
Nordic Walking originally came from Finland, a new form of outdoor exercise that does great things for your health and is drawing increasing numbers of newcomers to the sport. Propelling yourself forward with the help of poles, this form of exercise has been specially tailored to hikers and is intended for longer distances. The sport is also about sociability, of course. After all, when they are out on extended tours, hikers want to enjoy a good chat and enjoy nature together. But the workout effects of using those poles in Nordic walking technique are very evident as well. Nowadays, it is quite common to see hikers with two poles out on the trails.
For a number of years now, snowshoeing has been growing in popularity throughout the Alpine world as a means of navigating the mountains and valleys. In fact, most Alpine peaks, which can be tackled on skis in winter, are just as readily reached on snowshoes. In the Alps, snowshoeing has been a popular sport amongst the locals for many years. Whole families and groups, but also over-stressed managers, take advantage of snowshoeing as a form of sporting activity with great recreational value and wonderful recuperative benefits. Also available are special guidebooks and descriptions tailored to the needs and interests of snowshoers.
Benefits of snowshoeing
- Snowshoeing knows no age limits, making winter experiences possible that truly do bridge the generations.
- Snowshoeing spans the spectrum from laid-back recreational activity to high-performance sport - all depending on your chosen speed and the nature of the terrain.
- Snowshoeing technique requires practically no prior experience; if you can walk, you can also snowshoe. Snowshoeing is an attractive supplement to cross-country skiing, since it is also an endurance sport and is suitable for steeper terrain where there might not be any ski trails.
- As little as 15 cm snow covering is sufficient to get going, and there is no upper limit; from powder snow to frozen crust, it is possible to tackle many different types of snow, as it is flatter or steeper terrain. Which makes you less dependent on external conditions, while the winter sports areas can avoid the extensive preparations otherwise so essential for sports such as alpine skiing.
- Snowshoeing supplements other winter sports and requires only minimal personal investment, since the remaining equipment - such as telescopic poles, hiking shoes etc. - are often already on-hand.
- Snowshoeing is also becoming ever more popular with Nordic walkers in the form of Nordic snowshoeing - allowing them to continue their training year-round.