View the most recent posts on the forum.


Author Topic: Looking for advice re large snowshoes  (Read 3087 times)

Offline Okanagan

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 14
    • View Profile
Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« on: March 09, 2018, 10:11:12 am »
First post.  I am tired of postholing off trail in snowshoes and joined this forum for the wealth of knowledge here re finding some BIG snowshoes or wide ski solutions.  Suggestions?  Cautions?  Mistakes you learned that I can avoid?  Info on my intended use below.

I'm 225 lbs. and often carry a 20 lb. pack for a 250 lb. total.  As I age my snowshoeing consists of short forays off of plowed logging roads in Interior and coastal BC, often only a few hundred yards but in deep soft snow usually on steep ground.  My longest trek in the past 2 years was 5 km, and most are under 500 metres distance.

I have an old pair of wooden/rawhide longish bearpaws 11x30” that I put a lot of miles on when I was younger and currently am using a pair of Yukon Charlie 930's that were a gift to me. 

From reading archives it looks like the GV Wide Trail 12x42 is the largest mass produced snowshoe available that has aggressive snow teeth, which I like.  Maybe I should buy a pair of the magnesium military surplus and put my own bindings with crampons on them. 

What is the quality of Bigfoot snowshoes?  They have a 40”x 11” on sale for $199 CDN right now. 

On a long day of winter game tracking up and down over small ridges decades ago I designed in my mind a wide short ski with retractable crampons, to climb hills and slide down.  I have never found such an item and wonder if any here know of something similar.  I have looked at the Altai Hoks online, and wish that they had more aggressive climbing traction but have never tried them.

Two recent anecdotes:
1.  Climbing a hill in waist deep snow I fell through the top of snow covered brush.  I was armpit deep in snow, snowshoes tangled in brush. :P

2.  In waist deep snow with a light crust under two inches of fresh snow, I punched through on a slope and found myself head down hill on my back, with hefty day pack, snowshoes extended under the crust, and any attempt to push up merely plunged my arm into the snow up to my shoulder. :)

Offline kinguq

  • Supporter
  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 567
  • Det finnes ikke darlig vaer, bare darlig klaer!
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2018, 10:29:04 am »
I would recommend a large pair of traditional style snowshoes, preferably with mono lacing.

If as you say you are travelling in soft snow, you don't need crampons. They don't do anything in soft snow. I had them on my traditionals and I took them off. Snow sticks to them under some conditions and they become a problem. And lacing grips surprisingly well in soft snow.

I have a pair of 16 x 48 Hurons that I got here http://www.snowshoesalesandrepairs.com/?action=products

These are pretty much the largest snowshoe in terms of surface area that you can find. I love them. And I weigh about 160 lbs. They are fantastic in deep soft snow. Size is everything with snowshoes under those conditions.

Many people prefer the Bearpaws to the Hurons and I wouldn't argue much over that. The Bearpaws are certainly better for deep bush.

As to skis, I use pretty standard touring skis with a narrow, full length climbing skin which are removable in the field. These give more than enough grip. Personally I think flotation in skis is vastly over-rated under most conditions. Most of the time you will be pushing any ski through the snow, and a narrower ski pushes through snow more easily than a wide one. That is why I am not a fan of super-wide skis like Hoks. I should note that this is very much a minority opinion, but it is based on quite a lot of experience.

Kinguq.

Offline Bioguide

  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 984
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2018, 11:28:25 am »

On a long day of winter game tracking up and down over small ridges decades ago I designed in my mind a wide short ski with retractable crampons, to climb hills and slide down.  I have never found such an item and wonder if any here know of something similar.  I have looked at the Altai Hoks online, and wish that they had more aggressive climbing traction but have never tried them.


I bought the Hoks with the idea they would be useful in touring around the rolling terrain but for me they were too fast under my feet and not wide enough for floating my 235#s. I was often left supine on the snow and cursing while trying to get back up and bending my ski poles in the process. I'm 60 years old and I'm not a long distance trekker but I do get out quite often and when I do get out and need something on my feet for the snow conditions my first choice now are my wide custom made trekking skis' (a few others had them made this year as well). They are modeled after the Russian hunting skis and have full skins on them which help tremendously on the incline and, more importantly for me, aid in maintaining a controlled descent. The skins also give me the ability to haul a sled as well.

I've produced a couple of videos of them and the links to the videos can be found in the forum discussions about the skis below:

https://www.wintertrekking.com/community/index.php?topic=4013.msg36246#msg36246

https://www.wintertrekking.com/community/index.php?topic=4415.0

Offline AunNordDuNord

  • Supporter
  • Living Large At -40
  • *****
  • Posts: 2119
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2018, 11:29:18 am »
What Kinguk said!!

Offline Dave Hadfield

  • Stoking the Woodstove
  • ***
  • Posts: 201
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2018, 02:08:54 pm »
I rarely walk on a packed trail, and am often in the bush in deep snow. I want very large snowshoes and I don't like modern ones.

I bought these...



... which are 12 x 60 frames from Faber that Lure of the North strings with monofilament. It makes them lighter, and there is not much reduction in the flotation.

I like them.

Dave


Offline gnatwest

  • Warming Up
  • **
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2018, 03:41:04 pm »
I agree with traditionals.  My wife and I purchased some modern styles and found there was no difference between wearing them and not wearing them for post holing.

We got 60x30 huron and bearfoot styles with mono and they work great.  I also have a pair of the magnesium.  Not as much float but still very good I pack them as a spare set or if I need less float.

Offline scouter Joe

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2018, 04:37:01 pm »
I agree with Kinguq in reply #1 . I recently got a pair of 14" x 30"bear paws from snowshoe sales and repair . I've tried them out off trail and really like them .  They also have a larger pair of bear paws that may work for you .  The 400 lb. mono line is really tough and does not soak up water in wet conditions . I have a pair of 16" x 48" traditionals  with babich that work well in deep powder . They do not really work that good in wet snow when the temperature is above freezing . scouter Joe

Offline Old Guide

  • Stoking the Woodstove
  • ***
  • Posts: 112
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2018, 07:01:34 pm »
gnatwest...did you err in the size of your snowshoes at 60x30's? Or am I misreading it?

Offline memaquay

  • Supporter
  • Hauling Sled
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2018, 07:01:51 pm »
I'll be the fly in the ointment.  At your weight (very similar to mine) floatation is more of a dream than a reality.  Sounds like you need something that won't break when you might come through some rough terrain.  I've broken two pairs of 60 inch traditional alaskans, and a couple of traditional 48 inchers.   I have never broken my modern GV's, and I've been running them for 14 years now. I've got a standard pair of 36 inchers and I've got the big wide trails, 12 x 42.  The wide trails are the way to go.  Ditch the heel strap though, I've only found that to be annoying.  I take the wide trails over the traditionals most times.

Offline Okanagan

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2018, 09:58:07 am »
Wow!  You all speak with the authority of experience.  Thank you.  What a difference from most outdoor sites where the universal advice is to buy cute little snowshoes that are easy on the legs when playing on groomed trails off a parking lot.

I wish I could try some wide 60 inch long traditionals.  They appeal to me for deep powder and moderate slopes.  I have bad memories of slipping on steep crusty ice with my traditional bear paws, however, which is why I went to the early Sherpas when they first came out (yes, I am that old!)  I suppose I really should buy two pairs:  one a huge traditional pair for powder and the other big synthetics with claws for icy crusts over soft coastal snow.  At this point, the GV Wide Trails sound like   maybe the best compromise for my use, still pondering.

Very good info and I am still learning.  The mono lacing is a new wrinkle to me, and sounds like a good one re my memory of rawhide getting wet and stretching.  I have used snowshoes every winter but have not kept up on tech/material advances for the past 20 years.

Again, thank you for posting such excellent info, and keep it coming as you think of pros & cons and things to add.  I am checking out the sites and specific snowshoes each of you has mentioned.  Where has REI and MEC been hiding these items?

Added re skis:   Bioguide, love what you are doing with the wide skis.  I posted on your thread showing the custom skis.

I used to love cross country skiing and was amazed at how many miles one could cover easily on groomed trails or merely following snowmobile tracks.  However, my experience with skinny skis was that I floundered in off-trail powder as bad or worse than with boots alone. 

« Last Edit: March 10, 2018, 10:23:44 am by Okanagan »

Offline gnatwest

  • Warming Up
  • **
  • Posts: 59
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2018, 12:37:00 pm »
gnatwest...did you err in the size of your snowshoes at 60x30's? Or am I misreading it?

I might have it wrong. The largest size from lotn

Offline Okanagan

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2018, 11:34:36 am »
Am zeroing in on the Lure of the North 16x48 Hurons laced with monofil, and the GV Wide Trail 12x42 and want both of them!

You folks are a bad influence on my budget!

Do the GV Wide Trails ever go on sale?

Offline memaquay

  • Supporter
  • Hauling Sled
  • ****
  • Posts: 322
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2018, 12:24:41 pm »
I have never seen the GV's go on sale, and they are certainly pricey.  Too bad you didn't have access to a bunch of different ones to try before you pull the trigger. For instance I'm not a fan of really wide snowshoes, they don't work well with my short legs, lol.

Offline Okanagan

  • Coming in From the Cold
  • *
  • Posts: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2018, 12:55:06 pm »
I have never seen the GV's go on sale, and they are certainly pricey.  Too bad you didn't have access to a bunch of different ones to try before you pull the trigger. For instance I'm not a fan of really wide snowshoes, they don't work well with my short legs, lol.

Thanks re sale on GV Wide Trail.  I suspected that.

Yes, wish I could try several.  It is late already this snow season in my area, and I'm still pondering.  I think the 12x60 monofil laced traditionals would be good for travel on unbroken trails and unplowed logging roads but for my use maneuvering in timber and brush, shorter seems wiser.  I often travel from a logging road into timber and there is always a border of deadfalls in the edge of the trees, before you get into open forest. That transition zone has been the worst for me, falling through, bridging snowshoes across logs, poking a shoe into the snow void under a log, etc.  I have done the falling through and falling down and crawling over snow covered logs and am ready to try struggling with less wieldy wide and long shoes that keep me on top more.  Once inside the forest travel is usually much easier, though the undisturbed snow is often soft and calls for a big shoe.




Offline kiggy

  • Supporter
  • Stoking the Woodstove
  • ***
  • Posts: 225
    • View Profile
Re: Looking for advice re large snowshoes
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2018, 04:17:33 pm »
Not sure where are you located but in canada we have GV on sale now
https://www.sail.ca/en/winter-clearance-1?brand=19290