"Wow, that's ambitious," said a skier as we strapped on the two older kids' snowshoes and loaded the younger two into the child carriers.
My wife confidently affirms that "There's no difference between taking kids snowshoeing and taking them hiking." The first time she said that, I interjected: "Except you need to be prepared for the weather."
She looked at me and questioned, "You mean like hiking?"
We found a local, community-run cross-country ski and snowshoe trail (Larch Hills, BC) and loaded up the kids, packed our new Tubbs Snowshoes (from the Sierra Trading Post coincidentally) along with candy, jerky and hot tea.
I knew that my wife and I would have a blast, but you never know if the kids' enthusiasm in the car will translate to fun on the trail. Would it be too challenging? Is it too cold? Will they enjoy it?
After listening to my daughter's third verse of "I love snowshoeing" (I... didn't recognize the tune) as she bounded down the trail, I had no more doubts. They were hooked.
I think part of it had to do with our own enthusiasm and excitement. We don't have to fake smiles
when we get talking about nature's cathedral.
Within fifteen minutes of getting on the trail, the kids discovered what happens when you push a snow-covered tree. It seemed like every few steps there would be chortles of joy and satisfaction as the trekking poles went up and a cascade of white powder would envelope them like a magician's shroud.
On our first trip we tried pulling the two younger kids in a home-made pulk sled. Our three-year-old alternated between "wee!"s of excitement while sliding down hills and disconcerted gasps as he tried to hold on to the pulk as we careened up steep slopes. The youngest let us know right away that this sled-thing wasn't going to work and my wife ended up carrying him the rest of the way. Although we still had fun out on the trail, the pulk was retired from day trips after that and
next time we used the child carriers.
That decision made our second trip even more successful. Energized by regular snack breaks, we covered a couple miles (despite frequent stops to examine hollow trees and analyze animal tracks in the snow and eat more candy). They didn't struggle with the snowshoes as I thought they would, even fighting for the lead when breaking trail on the lesser-used routes.
Snowshoeing has definitely become a favorite family adventure, and we can't wait to add another.
Share our adventures with this short (one minute) video of our trip and let us know: what are your favorite winter activities that your families just can't get enough of, and what should we try next?
-Paul Osborn is an avid outdoor adventurer and frequently tweets about his trips. He's loved being outdoors since he was a kid and is always game to try something new. Currently, he's trying to instill a love for everything wild in his own kids. Paul's website, The Outdoor Adventure, encourages others to open their doors and get outside by giving them the tools and confidence necessary to do so. He did just that on the John Muir Trail in July 2013 with a group that included members of Sierra Trading Post's own social media team. (Read about #JMT2013 on the Hub!)
Looking for more outdoor winter adventures? Check out our Winter Camping Trip.
Snowshoeing for the First Time: A Family Adventure
By Paul Osborn
January 10, 2014
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