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Snowshoes for the newbies?

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Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby chrismjx » Tue Jan 08, 2013 12:49 am

I am just wondering what snowshoes the 14ers forums community would recommend for total newbies to the activity? Our goals would include hiking peaks and to alpine lakes on generally snow-buried trails. We're new, but very active (male and female), so we don't need or want the "training wheels"-type; looking for a good quality snowshoe that we can expect to get years' use of with proper care...

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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby dehrlich101 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 1:10 am

Check out the MSR Lightning Ascent 25's snowshoes. I just bought them and they are great for just a good ole snowshoe down a trail to hiking peaks. The reason I went with this pair is because I am around 180 pounds and they are rated to 210 pounds so they will give me enough floatation even when I have a lot of gear on. The teeth on the frame really help while on steep terrain and the heel lifts are life savers when going up hill.

http://www.rei.com/product/805325/msr-lightning-ascent-25-snowshoes

Depending on how much your lady weighs I've heard a lot of good things about the MSR Evo Ascent 22's. They aren't as aggresive as the lightning's but should give plenty of floatation for anyone under 180 pounds (Including Gear)

http://www.rei.com/product/805328/msr-evo-ascent-22-snowshoes
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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby Jeremy Bauman » Tue Jan 08, 2013 9:55 am

+1 on MSR Lightning Ascents in a 25 or 27.

I have MSR Evo Ascents and my friend has the lightenings, I really wish I had lightenings as well. They are lighter and provide way more traction. Also, don't listen to the "weight rating." IMO the times you actually need snow shoes (powder) you want all the dang flotation you can get. The nice thing about the Lightenings now is you can start with a 25 but add the tails on them to make them float better.

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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby SurfNTurf » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:27 am

If cost isn't a factor, go with the MSR Lightning Ascents. But assuming beginner = entry level, I love the MSR Evo Tours. They have heel lifts and crampons (the two must-haves for mountaineering snowshoes) and are only $180. The only difference between the Evo Tours and the Evo Ascents is the binding system, and I actually like the bindings on the Tours better. Very simple to take on and off. I weigh 175-180 and have had no issues with them keeping me afloat. The add-on tails are nice for deep powder days.

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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby Derek » Tue Jan 08, 2013 10:50 am

chrismjx wrote:I am just wondering what snowshoes the 14ers forums community would recommend for total newbies to the activity? Our goals would include hiking peaks and to alpine lakes on generally snow-buried trails. We're new, but very active (male and female), so we don't need or want the "training wheels"-type; looking for a good quality snowshoe that we can expect to get years' use of with proper care...


MSR's (pick your model) are great snowshoes for mountaineering...feel a bit more compact than most, pack easier, weigh less. 90% of the time I use my Evo Ascents.

HOWEVER....

If you major goal is a nice day of snowshoeing, just breaking through powder to destinations that don't involve lots of elevation, I'd stay away from MSRs. In my experience, a "bulkier" snowshoes like Atlas or Tubbs may weigh a bit more, but make up for it in general floatation. (Even if using tails on the MSRs) Example, sometimes I'll go birding in the plains after a big snow dump, and ALWAYS take my Tubbs. Saves the legs on long, generally flat terrain.

Summary- MSR vs Others: Both are good for what they do. Plan on spending all day below treeline plowing powder, I go with "others". (Tubbs, Atlas, etc.) If you plan on them coming off and on, trekking above treeline, days with heavy climbs and elevation, I go with MSR.

Just one guys opinion.

-D

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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby shearmodulus » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:11 am

My first pair was a set of Atlas 925s. Really wide, lots of float, but not good for climbing. They would be great for long flat routes or hut-to-hut trips without a lot of gear.

I switched to MSR Evo Ascents with flotation tails in preparation for Denali. They're meant for carrying heavy loads with a solid plastic deck versus a fabric. The heel wire gives you a great mechanical advantage on the uphills. Even if the snow is marginal for snowshoes, the combination of the crampon and the heel wire gives you an edge (pun intended) for getting up steeper sections of trail.

My wife uses the MSR Lightning Ascents. She doesn't do multi-day overnighters with tons of gear like I do, so a lighter deck is appropriate. I think the side grips on the MSR Lightning Ascents is much more agressive than the Evos. She's about 130 pounds and 5'2" and they wormk great for her.

Bottom line: if you're carrying a ton of gear, go with the Evo Ascents. If you're day hiking, go with the Lightnings. You will be satisfied with both, I think.
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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby Scott P » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:12 am

MSR's (pick your model) are great snowshoes for mountaineering...feel a bit more compact than most, pack easier, weigh less. 90% of the time I use my Evo Ascents.

HOWEVER....

If you major goal is a nice day of snowshoeing, just breaking through powder to destinations that don't involve lots of elevation, I'd stay away from MSRs. In my experience, a "bulkier" snowshoes like Atlas or Tubbs may weigh a bit more, but make up for it in general floatation. (Even if using tails on the MSRs) Example, sometimes I'll go birding in the plains after a big snow dump, and ALWAYS take my Tubbs. Saves the legs on long, generally flat terrain.

Summary- MSR vs Others: Both are good for what they do. Plan on spending all day below treeline plowing powder, I go with "others". (Tubbs, Atlas, etc.) If you plan on them coming off and on, trekking above treeline, days with heavy climbs and elevation, I go with MSR.

Just one guys opinion.


I agree with the above (which explains it very nicely) and I own several pairs including MSR's, Tubbs, Atlas, and EMS. All are good and have their own advantages and it depends on what you are using them for and the conditions.

Steer clear of Yukon Charlies, Coleman, LL Bean (all of which are built by Yukon Charlie) and Red Feather, of which I either own or have owned.

PS, the difference between a beginner snowshoer (assuming you aren't doing any serious climbing) and an expert snowshoer is about 3-4 steps.
I'm slow and fat. Unfortunately, those are my good qualities.

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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby peter303 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:51 am

You could borrow or rent a couple different sizes and kinds. I think REI has them.
If you going on packed old snow, just carrying a day pack, or running, you might use the size for your body wight.
If you expect to be be breaking power, or carrying a heavy camping pack you might want a size larger as not to sink to your knees in the snow.
You might find the weight-rating off a size after you tried a pair.

Look at the bindings too. The better ones load, tighten and release quickly. You dont want to fidgeting them for five minutes in cold weather. Nor have to take your gloves off to adjust them. Nor have to adjust them more than twice in an outing. Pre-adjust them before you pack the car.

Some peopel find ski poles useful, especially for climbing/descending.

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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby climbingaggie03 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:14 pm

I have an older pair of MSR denali's and they're great! My favorite part of the MSR's is the traction, especially side hilling. They are much better than the tubular framed models in that regard. The denali's don't have the best float, but I love having the adjust ability of the tails, they are less awkward to walk with than most tubular framed models, and are the best bindings I've come across.

I'd agree that if you're going to be trucking across alot of open fields that the tubular frames are better, but as soon as there are hills involved, the MSR's are definitely superior.

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Re: Snowshoes for the newbies?

Postby jmc5040 » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:35 pm

I've used my MSR Evo Ascents on everything from the backcountry woods of NY to peaks here in CO. I have always used the tails, and really love the snowshoes. Quick to strap on with any hand wear and definitely pack tight to your pack when not in use.

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