Beginner Snow Shoes
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James Patsalides
(james@patsalides.com) - MLife

Locale: New England
Beginner Snow Shoes on 11/16/2009 08:29:46 MST Print View

So, I'm thinking of going out for my first snow shoe expedition in the New Year. Probably be in Conn/Mass at first, so no technical terrain, long flatish forest trails, but with some limited steep ups & downs and occasional small river crossings. I wear GoLite StormDragons or New Balance sneakers for three seaon hiking, so ideally would continue using these but with a good snow gaiter.

Friend of mine recommended Tubbs Flex snow shoes, and they have them in LL Bean at the store right here in town. I've read that they're great shoes but not the lightest... They need to be good starter shoes, with a budget around $150, but I'd like them to last me a few years, at least! Any advice or guidance would be much appreciated!

Cheers, James.

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
STP Re: Beginner Snow Shoes on 11/16/2009 09:46:17 MST Print View

I'm shopping for snowshoes for my wife and daughter. They probably won't use them more than a few times each year so price is important.

If you sign up for Sierra Trading Post's "Dealflyer" there are some great deals on closeouts. Right now they have several 25" models from Tubbs, Redfeather, and TSL for around $100- considering today's $20% off + free shipping Dealflyer. (Although this deal expires today, they email different discounts almost daily)

I'm looking at the Redfeather Hike for $60, but it has some definite tradeoffs such as nylon straps (which can freeze up and/or slip). The Tubbs Timberline and TSL Take The High Road models are both about $90 and appear to have better features. TSL weight looks high but that might include the provided carrying bag.

At $60-$100 you can see just how much you like snowshoeing. Then if you want a better shoe you will know what features are needed for your uses. The inexpensive shoe won't be a big waste of money because you can loan it to friends!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
COSTCO on 12/03/2009 14:58:28 MST Print View

Check COSTCO's "Alaskan Charlie's" 30" snowshoe KIT. Very sturdy 'shoes.
(great snowshoes, poles and a carry bag for $79.) Got a pair for my son-in-law for Christmas. I recommend 30" 'shoes as they give good flotation in most snow conditions W/O being too long.

I have the much pricier 30" MSR Lightning Ascent 'shoes but I use them a lot more than he does.

Edited by Danepacker on 12/03/2009 14:59:22 MST.

Spruce Goose
(SpruceGoose) - F

Locale: New England
Re: Beginner Snow Shoes on 12/03/2009 15:19:04 MST Print View

>>Friend of mine recommended Tubbs Flex snow shoes...<<

I'm pretty sure the Tubbs Flex just came out this fall. I'm surprised that anyone is "recommending" them yet.

My recommendations would depend on your weight, and whether you would plan on eventually using them in the mountains (Whites, Adirondacks, Catskills).

To give you a basic idea, I'm about 165 lbs, and spend most of my time in the Whites and Adirondacks. In the price range you're looking at, I'd personally go with the MSR Denali.

For less extreme terrain, I'd recommend the Northern Lites Quicksilver. They come in 25 and 30 inch length. Unless you're talking about weights over 200 lbs, I'd go with the 25 inchers...assuming you're mostly going to be on trails.

Edited by SpruceGoose on 12/03/2009 15:19:49 MST.

James Patsalides
(james@patsalides.com) - MLife

Locale: New England
Beginner Snow Shoes: Northern Lites QuickSilver? on 12/07/2009 12:39:45 MST Print View

Jim & Eric:
Thanks for your lower budget options... food for thought!

Spruce:
After reading around, seems like alot of folks on this site LOVE the Northern Lites QuickSilvers, and they seem like the lightest option out there. I do not expect to be doing anything extreme - mostly on trail in lower New England (at least at first). The key for me is to get a pair that will "grow" as I learn about stuff, at least for a few years.

Oh, and on the tubbs flex, I "challenged" my buddy, and apparently he has used Tubbs shoes in the past, he just thought the flex shoes looked good on the website. He'd never actually used them! That was a good catch (and a lesson in asking probing questions when you get a "recommendation"... thanks!

Anyway, I put the Northern Lites QuickSilver 30s on my Christmas gift list - perhaps my ol' secret santie will bring me some... Cheers, all. Great advice all around.

Peace, James.