If you still haven’t tried hiking with snowshoes around Valtellina winter is the ideal season to try it out.

Modern snowshoes, related to ancient snow rackets, were born to allow for easy movement on the snow, on flat routes or slight slopes, without sinking.

Snow rackets of the past, made with wood and ropes, have undergone transformations over time to make them lighter, easy to handle and safe. Currently they are made of plastic mold or an aluminum structure with neoprene support surface.

The straps that held the old snow rackets have been replaced by adjustable joints similar to those of the skis to further facilitate walking.

Furthermore in the lower part, aligning with the toe and the heel of the boots, they are mounted with climbers that allow for hooking hard and icy snow preventing from slipping on slopes.

The shape has evolved and is different depending on the routes that you plan to deal with: Canadian rackets are almost a meter long and often equipped with tail. Despite their overall dimensions they are ideal for walking in deep snow and are not recommended for steep paths or hard snow.

The modern rackets, lighter, shorter and bean-shaped, have several types of joints and crampons that allow you to make the best choice depending on the type of trail you will be facing and are also good to use on sloping terrains.

Snowshoes are usually used with telescopic poles that help improving the stability of the walk.

Using snowshoes is very simple and does not require any training course.

Once you learn the few simple hacks to get them on you’ll be ready to start your hike.

Some precautions are on the other hand indispensable regarding the proper outfit and the trail.

Clothing for the hike should be warm, waterproof while leaving space for a good freedom of movement.

As for the trail, the same precautions that are recommended for summer excursions should be followed: choosing a route that is appropriate for your personal abilities; be supplied with maps or other means of orientation; for long journeys or unknown routes take an ARVA transceiver to be tracked in case of avalanches.

Valtellina offers many trails for beginners and experts with views that are sure to repay you for your efforts.

Photo credit: krpamayii via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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