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SALT LAKE CITY — With the tops of the Wasatch Mountains covered in snow and the weather getting cooler, it's a perfect time to start planning what you want to do this winter. People all over the country know Utah as having some of the best snow on earth, but there is so much more to do in Utah’s snow than skiing and snowboarding.
Snowshoeing is an incredible way to get off the couch this winter and enjoy the outdoors. It is a sport that practically anyone can do. If you can hike, you can snowshoe. You can snowshoe to stay in shape or take an easy stroll up a groomed trail. It is also a wonderful activity for the whole family. Here are a few tips on what to wear when snowshoeing.
Proper footwear is key. For most people waterproof, insulated winter boots will work great. Making sure that you get the correct size of boot is important — loose or tight fitting boots will leave your feet cold.
A pair of wool or synthetic socks are ideal when snowshoeing. Cotton socks absorb sweat, and dry slowly, which can leave the foot cold. Wool and synthetic socks whisk moisture away from the foot, keeping it dry, comfortable and warm. Gaiters are also a great option to help keep snow out of your boots.
When choosing what clothing to wear when snowshoeing keep layering in mind. Layering your clothing provides you the opportunity to make small adjustments to your clothing depending on your activity level. Proper layering includes a base layer, insulating or mid layer, and outer layer.
The base layer is designed to be next to your skin. This layer's purpose is to move moisture away from the skin and to keep you dry. It is easier for your body to regulate its temperature when it's dry. Proper base layers for winter should consist of long underwear or thermals. Finding a base layer that is made of synthetic or wool material is ideal for moisture management.
Next, the insulating layer is designed to keep you warm. For winter activities, fleece, wool or down make great insulating layers depending on your activity level. Ideally, this layer should also draw moisture away from the body. Fleece is breathable, lightweight and still insulates when wet and perfect for high aerobic snowshoeing. Merino wool mid-layers are exceptional insulators, breathable, and naturally odor free. Down is supreme when it comes to weight-to-warmth ratio. Since down loses it insulating abilities when wet, it is best for lower aerobic activities.
The outer layer, or shell, is designed to keep you dry when it is snowing or windy. The best shells are made of waterproof, breathable material that blocks the wind and moisture from coming in, but also allows internal moisture to escape. Gore-Tex is probably the best known waterproof, breathable material, but there are many companies that make great shells. This includes a good pair of snow pants that can keep the snow out.
Gloves and a hat are essential to snowshoeing. A good pair of ski gloves or mittens works great for snowshoeing and keeping your head and ears warm is very important. There are many types of hats that work well for snowshoeing from a basic wool beanie to a full balaclava.
Knowing how to layer and what to wear when out snowshoeing is key to having a successful day.
Jeremiah Breeze is an outdoor enthusiast, and father of three adventurous kids. Follow him on Twitter at @openairlife or visit http://openairlife.com