Snowshoeing in Alaska is a great way to saunter through breathtaking landscapes. It is a great activity for groups or individuals. This winter sport offers a space for outdoor social gatherings. Simultaneously, you can enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with a traverse across a field of freshly fallen snow. This sport is inexpensive and doesn’t require too much skill to navigate. Snow shoes are specialized to help you save energy, all while enjoying the beautiful snowfalls that happen in Alaska.
Snowshoeing doesn’t take too much gear or expense to enjoy. Head to the second hand store or buy snowshoes brand new, either way helps get you onto the snow. Make sure that all the buckles and mechanism fasten and are operational in the store before purchasing. Knowing what size snow shoe you need is based on your weight, so be sure to get the size that works for you. Next, you’re gonna want to make sure you dress in breathable synthetic layers that will keep you warm. And, that you can easily put on and take off.
Water proof boots are a must and you might even want to consider using gaiters for those deeper snow pack areas. Adjustable poles with snowshoe baskets will be of benefit to bring along to help with stability in your stroll. And, in your backpack should be your essentials e.g. a first aid kit, an emergency kit, water, food supply, a map that is accessible and consistent regardless of phone signal and charge, and a GPS device that let’s you send a rescue signal in case of emergency.
This is a group friendly activity and caters to a range of people with varied skill levels and abilities. Plus, a wide range of ages can enjoy this too. Snow shoeing can be for leisure and also a great way to spot and track wildlife.
Booking a snowshoe tour with a guide is a great way to get to know the area and take in some local knowledge. Some places offer snowshoeing lessons if you need help getting started. So head out with someone who knows the best spots around. And, having a guide can help answer your questions and understand your gear a bit easier.
The sunrises and sunsets in Alaska during the winter are phenomenal. Waking up with a fresh cup of coffee and heading out into a serene morning by snowshoe is refreshing and calming. If you’re not a morning person, getting out there to enjoy the few daylight hours and some of the best photography lighting might be a better choice. Or, waiting till sun sets and the skyline explodes with colors over the white snow that blankets the land as far as the eye can see. And, maybe if you enjoy being out in the cold and dark, you might catch the Aurora Borealis.
Where to Go?
Alaska is huge. And each region offers something different. On the coast you may get a wetter and more cemented snow pack. If you travel into the interior you will start to reach more fluffy, deep, and powdery snow. The Far North comes with brutal temperatures and the wind that scours the alpine tundra. However, it takes you deep into the heart of a remote Alaskan wilderness.
We recommend heading to the Interior and Southeast region for the big snow falls and consistently powdery landscapes. This area does get some harsh temperatures but you can also catch some sunny and moderate bluebird days. With ample amounts of public lands to explore you might be overwhelmed by just how much space you can cover.
Starting with established recreation areas and trails is a great place to start. Some popular favorites that aren’t too far from Anchorage: Hatcher Pass, Chugach Mountain State Recreation, Eagle River Natural Area, and Denali National Park.
Matanuska Valley Winter Magic
In the Matanuska Valley you can stay in historic lodges, enjoy established trails, and even walk up to the Matanuska Glacier. If you want to expand your exploration you could book a winter glacier tour.
Anyway you decide to get out there be sure to educate yourself on avalanches and snow hazards before you head out! All though snow shoeing is not an extreme sport, being able to identify when your track crosses through an avalanche zone is a must for outdoor winter recreationists. Checking Alaska’s Avalanche Information Center is a great resource to use before heading out, every time.
Get your gear, find your winter stoke, gather your friends, and hit those magical winter areas that Alaska has to offer!