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In the extreme Northern Hemisphere the traditional means of transport during long winter months has always been a reliable pair of snowshoes. Simple and robust, these lightweight frames enable effortless walking, since they hinder the wearer from sinking into the snow. Their ease of use, in particular when compared to mountaineering skis, which can be both heavy and cumbersome, make them the ideal choice for walking through woods or crossing other more difficult terrain.

Snowshoes have seen an incredible revival recently, not only in America but in the Alps too. Originally used to move around on foot before the emergence of the car, they were last used extensively by the Italian Alpini during the First World War. Nowadays though they are no longer used for traditional activities such as hunting, but instead as an enjoyable means to reach those areas still left untouched by man. Many of the paths which in summer are packed full with tourists are used only by animals in winter: their footprints are testament to this. With a bit of luck some chamois may be spotted high up on the slopes!

One of the beauties of this sport lies in its simplicity; snowshoes are stepped into, strapped on and with two walking sticks the fun can begin immediately! No other special equipment or rigorous physical training are required, no extra hassle. It's no wonder more and more enthusiasts are discovering the simple delights of snowshoeing!

Many different companies now produce snowshoes and their design and the materials used have evolved radically in recent years. Choosing an appropriate snowshoe can prove extremely difficult, given the vast variety of shapes, sizes and prices. has looked into this fast growing market to explain the main differences and to help you make an educated choice.
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