We didn’t even really know snowshoeing was a thing when we first set off on our season long motorhome ski trip. The first proper introduction to snowshoeing that we had was on meeting Viv and Jason (Blog: DaysAway) who were well on into their International Mountain Leader training by the time our paths crossed in Le Grand Bornand in January (you can see our YouTube video from LGB here).
After that point, everywhere we went, we spotted people hiking in the snow – powering through designated trails with their very own ‘piste maps’ and their dogs having the time of their lives! Reluctant to give up our days on the hill to a glorified walk – we made a pretty big mistake. We did not get snow shoes – and we should have. It would have opened up a whole new world – new views and perhaps most importantly, we might have taken advantage of days that seemed wasted on trying to ski through the weather.
We fixed this prior to leaving for the Pyrenees this winter by investing in some ‘entry-level’ snow shoes from Decathlon that cost us around £65 a pair.
We’re known for being huge fans of Decathlon – and these snow shoes are an example of why we love it so much. Without having to do hours and hours of research, you can get a foothold in a new sport without breaking the bank or over-committing yourself to something you don’t know will float your boat.
After some pretty epic power dumps and some fun hiking around our Pyrenean mountain homestead, we collected some thoughts on the Quechua SH500 snowshoes (available to buy here in turquoise green or grey here at Decathlon).
Snow Shoes Are Essential Snomad Equipment
Snowshoeing is a whole heap of fun and if you’re in the mountains in winter in a camper van, motorhome or caravan, you need to find space for a pair of these each for a lot of reasons:
- You’re going to see places you don’t see from the regular pistes
- You will earn far more fondue points snowshoeing than from skiing which, unless you’re a complete beginner burns far fewer calories than any of us would like to think!
- You can take advantage of days that might keep you in off the slopes – and whilst a lot of great snowshoeing is accessible from the lift system in resorts, there are often trails you can hit directly from resort which means you don’t need to invest in a ski pass
- Doggos! Most dogs aren’t designed as actual powder hounds and it’s not advised to take your pooch on the slopes unless you know exactly what you’re doing (many dogs are injured by skiers and snowboarders). Snowshoeing allows you to take them on their own mountain adventures without the risk associated with on piste skiing.
- Whilst ski touring requires a bunch of specialist kit – snowshoeing really doesn’t have to set you back too much and as always, Decathlon is the place you want to go for the full monty – they’ve got everything from entry level snowshoes to the highest tech kit so if you want to progress through the ranks, you can.
Why the Quechua SH500 Snowshoes?:
- Inexpensive and reputable online retailer – you know they’re going to deliver – ours arrived in 24 hours
- Great quality – I can’t stop raving about the Decathlon business model and their innovation is sending older more famous snow sports brands round the twist. These show shoes feel really robust without being heavy and loads better than the rental ones I tried
- Adjustable – one size fits all unless you’re a freakishly massive or tiny person
Spec (for those interested)
- TRACTION: 2 heavy-duty steel rails, front and rear claws
- ANATOMIC DESIGN: Grid size M 54 x 21 cm, 40kg to 90kg, size 36 to 46
- STABILITY: Opening clip at the back., Buckle always clamping on the outside of the foot.
- EASE OF USE: climbing wedge snap-on batting, improves comfort in climbs
- EASY SPOTTING: Heel marks for foot positioning.
- FRAME: 100.00% Polypropylene (PP)
- SOLE: 100.00% Steel
- BOTTOM SHOE/BOOT: 100.00% Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)
- BUCKLES: 100.00% Polyamide
- STRUCTURE: 100.00% Steel
Some people think Decathlon gear is cheap and nasty – this is a myth – if you’re in any doubt as to the quality of showshoe you’re going to get, this is worth watching:
If you’re fairly convinced you’re going to love snow shoeing and you want to splash out on a more technical and advanced pair, TSL are specialists in the show shoe arena and have a wide range on offer from around £100 up to an expedition grade £250 – you can check out their full range here on Amazon.
More on Snow Shoeing
If you want to know a little bit more before taking the plunge – check our Viv’s guest blog for Winterised: A Beginners Guide to Snowshoeing and if you’re thinking of taking a guided tour on your new show shoes – please contact Viv and Jason who take guided tours and trips in the Portes du Soleil.