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Home>>Snowshoes for Adventure Racing, Training and Endurance Competitions
Selecting the right snowshoe for you is a balance of the following key influencing factors: Primary activity or use, Gender, Snow conditions, and Terrain.  If you snowshoe a fair amount of time this may lead to a couple different pair for snowshoes: one pair for backcountry and one pair for racing.
  • Primary activity: Decide how you will use your snowshoe: Fitness, recreation, racing, and expedition or backcountry.  Racing snowshoes are light weight and small (regulation length 8"x22") and are designed for running over groomed trails as a competitive sport or for fitness. Fitness and recreation snowshoes span the difference between racing snowshoes with a small deck and the larger backcountry snowshoes with larger flotation.
  • Gender: Women specific snowshoes differing these areas: smaller bindings to accommodate women's smaller boots and shapes to match the stride pattern of women.
  • Snow conditions: If you snowshoe in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, or Southeast the snow conditions tend to be wet/dense thus you may want to choose a smaller size shoe.
  • Floatation:  Floatation is linked to your weight (in your winter boots and all your layers and possibly a pack) and the snow conditions.  Typically, larger snowshoes are used in powder, while smaller snowshoes are used heavy wet, packed snow.  Racing snowshoes have very little flotation and are best for hard packed groomed snow courses.
  • Terrain: Will you be snowshoeing on rolling terrain or steep ascents climbing 14ers or on a hut trip?  Steep ascent and traverses suggest aggressive crampons and side teeth for stability.
  • Binding types:  There are two binding types: fixed and hinged with a pivot point.  The advantage of the fixed (with a spring-loaded binding system) is increased maneuverability and the ability to easily backup.  The racing snowshoes I own [Atlas Dual-Trac Super Lite] use this type of binding system.  The down side of the spring-loaded system is during training on surfaces that are not completely groomed and packed you will have snow kicked up by the spring action on your back and legs (usually down the neck).  Backcountry or most recreation use the hinged (single pivot point) that swing freely down to allow snow to fall off the back decking.  You can mount your shoes to the decking through a number of methods which reduce the weight for racing.  I have seen this technique used for backcountry snowshoes offered by a rental company.

Snowshoes I own and use:

  • Racing snowshoes: Atlas Dual-Trac Super Lite. Used in winter adventure racing and training. Owned 3 years. Excellent snow shoes.
  • Training snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoes 25x8.
  • Backcountry snowshoes: Older Tubbs Mountain Series. Owned 12 years. Used in backcountry in West Virginia, Virginia (Old Rag area) and Colorado.  No complaints, but the newer binding systems are attractive...

Bottom Line: Carefully examine how you will use your snowshoes throughout the year and select recreational, backcountry or racing snowshoes that match your needs.  I have provided both MooseJaw and Altrec snowshoes below.  I purchased my racing snowshoes at Altrec--they offered the best price and were in stock.


MSR 8-inch Flotation Tail (Fall 2008)

Free Shipping. MSR 8-inch Flotation Tail (Fall 2008) Simply attach the 8-inch Flotation Tail by MSR for additional flotation in soft snow or when carrying a heavy pack. This quick adjustment easy to ... more info.


MSR Denali Classic Combo (Fall 2008)

Free Shipping. MSR Denali Classic Combo (Fall 2008) The Denali Classic Combo by MSR including Denali snowshoes and Denali III poles.


MSR Denali Snowshoes (Fall 2008)

Free Shipping. MSR Denali Snowshoes (Fall 2008) MSR builds their reputation on the time-tested Denali Snowshoes, which offer high-end features at an entry-level price. They come equipped with steel ... more info.


MSR Denali Snowshoes (Fall 2008)

Free Shipping. MSR Denali Snowshoes (Fall 2008) MSR builds their reputation on the time-tested Denali Snowshoes, which offer high-end features at an entry-level price. They come equipped with steel ... more info.


MSR Evo Flotation Tails (Fall 2008)

Free Shipping. MSR Evo Flotation Tails (Fall 2008) The modular Evo Flotation Tails by MSR work with both the Denali Evo and Denali Evo Ascent snowshoes providing extra flotation in deep snow or when ... more info.


MSR SnowTote (Fall 2008)

Free Shipping. MSR SnowTote (Fall 2008) The Snow Tote by MSR is a durable bag offering ventilated protection for all 22- and 25-inch (56- and 64-cm) MSR snowshoes while also protecting packs and ... more info.


Crescent Moon Booties for Snowshoeing

The single best accessory you'll ever have for snowshoeing! 6 ml of closed cell polyurethane wrapped entirely around your feet and over your most comfortable performance shoes will keep you warm, ... more info.


Crescent Moon Gold 10 Snowshoe

The Gold 10 is recommended for off-trail enthusiasts who want to go where they want to go. The Gold 10, like all the Crescent Moon snowshoes is a tear drop shaped shoe that gives you greater ... more info.


Crescent Moon Gold 12 Snowshoe

The Gold 12 is for the fast and fit, or those who want to be. This year's race shoe is lighter and perhaps, faster than ever with a new durable decking material and a 3 claw aluminum traction ... more info.


Crescent Moon Gold 17 Snowshoe

Large enough to float Sasquatch, the Gold 17 has its own weather pattern and zip code. The large deck provides float for snowshoers and their gear up to 300lbs. New for the 08/09 season is a more ... more info.


Crescent Moon Gold 9 Snowshoe

The Gold 9 is the most popular shoe Crescent Moon makes. Recommended for snowshoers who love the best equipment they can buy so they can focus on having the best snowshoe experience every time they ... more info.


Crescent Moon Silver 10 Snowshoe

The Silver 10 is recommended for recreational snowshoers up to 225 lbs including your gear and is designed for on or off trail fun. The simple cam-locking buckle system is easy to use and provides a ... more info.


Crescent Moon Silver 17 Snowshoe

Like its Gold cousin, the Silver 17 is one big-daddy snowshoe. It is recommended for snowshoers and their gear (that's a big picnic) up to 300lbs. But the shoes themselves are very lightweight and ... more info.


Crescent Moon Silver 9 Snowshoe

The Silver series of shoes was introduced to provide all the advantages of the teardrop shaped frame unique to Crescent Moon with components that make it lower in price than the Gold series of shoes. ... more info.


Crescent Moon Snowshoe Carry Bags

Heavy Canvas, double zipper, ventilated front pocket, water-proof liner snowshoe carrying bag will hold 1 pair of Crescent Moon snowshoes, not including the Model 17. Bandelero style bag worn over ... more info.


Kahtoola FlightDeck Gemini Snowshoe

Like conventional snowshoes, the Kahtoola FLIGHTdeck™ Gemini Snowshoe (TS24) provides the flotation you need when hiking in untracked snow. The Flightdeck™ is really two products in one: ... more info.


Kahtoola FlightDeck Gypsy Snowshoe

Like conventional snowshoes, the Kahtoola FLIGHTdeck™ Gypsy Snowshoe (TS23) provides the flotation you need when hiking in untracked snow. The Flightdeck™ is really two products in one: a ... more info.


MSR Classic,Ascent 8" Snowshoe Tails

Adds durable flotation to the Denali and Denali Ascent with quick and easy lock link.


MSR Denali Ascent Snowshoe

Classic full traction design with grip blades, heel lift, braking bars accepts flotation extenders.


MSR Denali Classic Combo Snowshoe

Classic full traction design with grip blades, adjustable pole that accepts flotation extenders.


MSR Denali Classic Snowshoe

Classic full traction design with steel grip blades and braking bars accepts flotation extenders.


MSR Denali Classic,Ascent 4 in. Snowshoe Tails

Modular design allows one pair of shoes to adapt to a wide range of loads and snow conditions.


MSR Denali Evo Snowshoe

Tapered tips & tails help you walk with natural gait and steel traction blades for excellent grip.


MSR Evo 6 in. Snowshoe Tails

Adds durable flotation to the Denali Evo and Denali Evo Ascent with quick and easy lock link.


MSR Lightning 22 Snowshoes

Light aluminum frame with 360-degree traction, toe crampon, two-strap binding for 225 lbs or less.


MSR Lightning 25 Snowshoe

Light aluminum frame with 360-degree traction, toe crampon, two-strap binding for 225 lbs or more.


MSR Lightning Ascent 22 Snowshoe

Outdoor Magazine Editors' Choice Award (2007) winner launches a revolution in snowshoe design.


MSR Lightning Ascent 30 Snowshoe

MSR won Outdoor Magazine Editors' Choice Award (2007) for the new Lightning Ascent Snowshoes. Presenting a revolution in snowshoe design and available in men's and women's models, they feature a ... more info.


MSR Women's Lightning 22 Snowshoe

Light aluminum frame with 360-degree traction, toe crampon, two-strap binding for 125 lbs or less.


MSR Women's Lightning 25 Snowshoe

Light aluminum frame with 360-degree traction, toe crampon, two-strap binding for up to 175 lbs.


MSR Women's Lightning Ascent 22 Snowshoes

Light aluminum frame with 360-degree traction, toe crampon, and heel lift, for 125 lbs. or less.


MSR Women's Lightning Ascent 25 Snowshoes

Light aluminum frame with 360-degree traction, toe crampon, and heel lift, carries up to 175 lbs.

 


 
  
Other gear for adventure racing, snowshoeing and backcountry travel: