If you can walk, you can (and should) snowshoe!
Sunday, half past ten in Innsbruck – the early bird is in a bad mood! So we enjoy a long lie and, with our snowshoes, we set off in the midday sunshine for the Birgitz Köpfl mountain summit. (translated from German).
Moving at a leisurely pace, I put one foot in front of the other – a slightly waddling movement, a bit like a duck admittedly. But after 5 minutes I don’t even notice that any more. Cold air streams through my nose, Anna’s cheeks are rosy. It’s so peaceful, the landscape is pristine, the snow glitters. I plod steadily onward, each step a muffled tread – it’s a very relaxing movement. I can hear nothing except my own breathing and the crunch of snow underfoot. Friends of ours, a couple, are snowshoeing for the first time with us and they immediately take to it.
Animals, Men, Women
Into the forest we go, through the untouched snow in which we don’t sink quite so far now. A squirrel is scrabbling around searching for nuts; a bird of prey is watching him – they must both be hungry. The forest trees become fewer, the sun becomes stronger and the summit cross comes closer and closer. Chris and I suddenly start to speed up – men like a bit of competition just before the finish line! My darling girlfriend and Sabrina are spoiling the peace – women are more sociable creatures than men and prefer to chat. The chamois at the top is not happy to see us coming and grumpily wanders off. At the summit we drink hot tea and enjoy the view in silence – even the women!
Skis or shoes?
Downhill is a lot faster than uphill – with every step the snowshoes sink into the powder-soft snow and slide down further. For every two steps up we only need one step down – but unfortunately only where it’s steep and where there’s enough powder snow. We would be quicker with skis – but back-country ski tourers are just lazier snowshoers. We’re more resolute! We walk all the way back down for which we receive a reward – damned sore muscles! It was a beautiful day in the mountains. When we get home we’re going to chill-out in front of the fire, each roast chestnuts and watch a DVD!
What you need
Not much at all! Take your rucksack and add to it the following: gloves, hat, tissues, sun glasses, a Thermos flask (filled), a change of T-shirt, head torch, a first aid kit suitable for mountain tours and some chocolate biscuits! Then you’ll need warm, waterproof clothing, winter boots, gaiters, height-adjustable walking poles and snowshoes. Indigenous peoples used snowshoes to stop them from sinking so far into the snow. Today they are pieces of sport equipment suitable for everyone – if you can walk upright, you can snowshoe. You don’t need any special skills, but a reasonable level of fitness is an advantage.
SnowShoeFun comes effortlessly. The only thing you can do wrong is not to give it a go! The area around Innsbruck offers a wealth of tours , from easy-going walks on the flat to summit climbs – avalanche equipment and experience essential in the case of the latter. See for yourself:
- Here you can find a few really nice snowshoe hikes.
- If you don’t have the necessary gear, you can borrow snowshoes from the sport shop ‘Die Börse’ in Innsbruck for € 12 per day.
- Once you’ve reached the summit the Birgitzköpflhaus offers a cosy atmosphere in which to fortify yourself after the climb.
So, what are you waiting for? Strap on your snowshoes and off you go!