Snowshoeing is Fun for the Whole Family

by Jonatha Wey
Note: Jonatha conducts Women's Clinics for Atlas Snowshoe.

©SIA 2007-8

Getting the entire family out on snowshoes can be a whole lot of fun! We have had some snowshoe hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire as well as dog walks in our local conservation land.

As the mother of 3 children as well as the Trips Director for a summer camp in Maine, let me share some practical tips for keeping kids happy, warm and having fun in winter wonderland!

Probably the most important thing is to begin with reasonable expectations. Depending on your child’s age, keep your first outing simple, ie, don’t bite off more than you can chew. As with many things in life, if the first experience is pleasant, your kids will want to go back again!

If your children have never been out on snowshoes, begin on flat terrain. Public golf courses, conservation trails, or even your own back yard are great places to start. Make sure the children (and yourselves!) are properly sized (this site has many helpful tips for that).

Depending on their age and experience their attention span may be limited. What we see as beautiful may not register to them, but what they find as “cool” may be something we walk right by!

If you venture out to a place that has a map, you may want to make a copy for each one in your group and put it in a Ziploc bag. If they are old enough this could help engage them in knowing where they are. If old enough, have then wear a watch and be aware what time it is.

Be sure to pack extra layers and snacks. Bring food that you know your children will eat. If they choose cheddar goldfish instead of a power bar, you can put the snack in a container so it doesn’t get crushed. And make sure you all have enough water. We don’t feel thirsty the way we do in the summer so may want to add a flavor to encourage hydrating.

Children as well as adults often begin to quickly and thus burn out ahead of schedule. Initially put someone in the lead who both knows what they are doing and has nothing to prove! The seven year old can keep up with the twelve year old if the pace is appropriate.

If you carry a camera, keep it close to your body to keep the batteries from freezing. Your family will enjoy seeing what they did later that evening! Encourage the children to take a picture of nature instead of taking nature itself home – that way other people can enjoy the same scenery also.

The whole point of getting out as a family is to enjoy the wonder of winter as well as each other’s company. With reasonable expectations, proper gear, food and water, patience, and a good sense of humor, you and your family will have a day to remember!