Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 42

Thread: Snowshoes that work and Snowshoes that dont?

  1. #1

    Default Snowshoes that work and Snowshoes that dont?

    I am interested to hear what you guys use for snowshoes that work really well in deep snow in the winter and rotten snow in the spring. I guess what I am looking for is a snowshoe that actually floats well and doesn't sink too deep. I have some 30" Yukon Charlies that have worked okay but fail miserably when in the deep stuff. Does a guy need to go with something like a 36" shoe to really get good flotation? I am not a big guy 185lbs , so it suprises me that a 30" shoe has worked so poorly for me. The ones that really look good to me are the MSR Denali Evo Ascents with the flotation tails, they break down fairly small to be strapped to a pack with the tails stowed inside and they are very light weight but I wonder how much better the MSR with the tails at a total of 30" will float any better than what I have now. I am all ears, on your snowshoe reccomendations

  2. #2
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Eagle River, AK
    Posts
    13,391

    Default

    I haven't tried very many varieties, so I can't say that mine are better than others. I have a set of Tubbs 36" shoes, and I like them quite well. Like you, I weigh in right around 180 and used to use 30" shoes for most activities. I found them lacking in light, fluffy, and deep snow...especially with a moderate pack on my back. The 36" shoes certainly do better. I'd be curious how the MSRs work as well, but for the time being I'm happy with my Tubbs.

  3. #3
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default

    I have a set of 36" atlas (I think) Mine submarine in deep snow horibly! I didn't do any scientific studies but it seems like the toe of my boot is too far forward on the snowshoe body. If I lean back and keep my weight on my heels it helps some but it is very uncomfortable to try to traveling even a short distance like that. I may just buy a set of the magnesium military shoes unless I can find a light weight set that have the binding more centraly located.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    I think the most important difference between shoes these days is the bindings. I have a cheap set of utility snowshoes from AIH that work great but have straps for bindings. Inconvenient, but they work fine as long as I take the time to wrap the straps correctly. I also have a pair of Atlas shoes with the new snap-in style bindings. Very convenient and very stable. I've had Tubbs shoes and liked them but prefer the Atlas binding. I can't tell the difference between the decks on any of the synthetic shoes.

    The only time my snowshoes "submarine" in deep snow is when I take long steps. I find a short shuffle step works better. Long steps take too much energy trying to maintain my balance. That applies to every brand and type of snowshoe I've tried.

  5. #5
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    5,594

    Default

    I've had a pair of the 36" atlas shoes for over 10 years, and they are a very good pair of snowshoes for most conditions. But snow conditions have a huge impact on how effective your snow shoes are. I've been on 12' snow packs in the sierra where I was floating on top of them, and I've been in 8' of fine snow on turnagain arm where I was following where a moose had made a trail and I was waste deep, even with the snowshoes!

    For all around use I haven't wanted a different shoe than the atlas, but there are certainly some instances where one might want more, or less. Just realize you still sink with snowshoes, but the key is to have stable footing.

  6. #6
    Member Matt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    3,410

    Default

    Whatever you do, get the expensive one's. That way, when you sell them next year, I can get a good deal!

  7. #7

    Default

    Your first in line Matt!...grin

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Valdez, AK
    Posts
    100

    Default

    I have both the MSR Denali Evo Ascent and the MSR Lightning Ascent. As a general all around shoe I like the Denali's They have great traction and the smaller size (22" without tails) is perfect on the Cascade Concrete I was hiking on and the ascender bar made it really easy to go up mountains with them. I used them on Mt. St Helens in the spring of 2005 and blew by the other folks trudging up the boot track in the snow.

    My Lightning Ascents are 30 inches long and you can read my review of them here http://www.backpackgeartest.org/revi...Jason%20Boyle/

    These are what I use for fluffier snow... however I will say this, there is no shoe that is going to give you great floatation in powder... just doesn't happen, there is too much air in the snow that has to be compressed to support a person's weight. That being said, the larger the shoe, the better your floatation will be in powder. I have also used various models of Tubbs and Atlas shoes and I always come back to my MSR shoes...

    Jason

  9. #9
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    730

    Default long snowshoes

    Maybe I'm moving into the old timer bracket.

    I used Sherpa snowshoes for many years ... both 30" and 36". About 10 - 12 years, I switched to Northern Lights snowshoes .... about 1-2 lbs lighter, with just as much flotation.

    But, I think, none of the 30" - 36" modern shoes really has enough flotation in some of the light, deep snows we have up here. I would like to see Northern Lights, or any of the other makers of aluminum snowshoes make some models that are longer .... say 40" or 44" or even 48" for the deep snow. No takers that I know of.

    On a trip in the Brooks Range ten years ago, I tried my partners old fashioned wood framed 56" Alaskan Trail model snowshoes. What a revelation. They may be heavy and cumbersome, and require care to avoid busting them, but they proved to me that for light deep snow, they are better than the New Age designs. Now, if the current makers would come up with snowshoes that are long enough and have enough floatation in our snows, they'd sell many pairs to Alaskans.

    By the way, Sherpa used to make a 48" model called the Bigfoot. I should have bought a pair when they were in production.

  10. #10
    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Squarebanks
    Posts
    661

    Default Avery

    I have some friends that live Ontairo, Canada and they got me a pair of Avery Showshoes. They are 48" long and roughly shaped like a ski. They pack well either on the back or on the sled. They are made of eastern birch and they are pretty strong, Im close to 200lbs and they support me in fairbanks, fluff realativly well. The cool thing about them is the binding, they are made of Inner tube. So they are like the sping loaded newer binding. Im afraid they will break (the binding) so I canrry an extra set, just a few ounces in my pack.

  11. #11
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    I spent a lot of time on snowshoes back when I was working as a surveyor. Back then the only quality aluminum shoe was a Sherpa. With my back pack, chainsaw and myself I weighed about 250#. I got around 75% of the time on 30" shoes, 20% of the time I needed my 36" shoes..and the remainder of the time in super fluffy fresh snow I cussed ALOT. I tried a set of BigFoots but they were too long and I was constantly hitting the toes with the chainsaw. I think for other uses they would have been great.

    For hunting and carrying on my snowmobile I now have a set of Cabelas Alaskan Outfitter 10x36 shoes and they are everything that my old Sherpas were. The bindings are definately better.

  12. #12
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Eagle River
    Posts
    2,162

    Default MSR Denali

    Been using the Denali (Classic?) for past 2 winters - excellent for most conditions (I'm 170lbs). Agree with other posters, deep snow is sometimes a problem and icy slopes too, but encountered infrequently.
    Without the flotation tails, these shoes have been nimble and easy to pack.

    Considering buying the flotation tails this year for deeper conditions - which are available in several lengths (4, 6, 8 inches). For frequent icy conditions, the Lightning Ascent shoes mentioned above appear to be different design/concept - a lot of bite area, which should excel on ice.

  13. #13

    Default shoes

    I too have used the Denali's over the past three seasons and do like them, im on them close to 80 days. If you decide to go that way I suggest adding a small screw and lock nut to your kit per shoe. The binding attaches to the rest of the shoe by a small pin and clip much like a Barney pack and I lost one two winters ago.

    For several years before them I used a shoe by Yuba, Wasatch's I think 30". Good light duty shoe using the solid bar axel type under the foot which broke when I really started to put miles on them.

    Had a friend using the Yukon Charlies until last winter and i'd say they fall under the light duty category.

    The Denalis work well with the tails and I use them 90% of the time when the snow is deep but for all around float its hard to beat a pair of backcountry ski.
    Last edited by whitepalm; 10-24-2008 at 06:53. Reason: more

  14. #14
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    3,293

    Default

    It's odd how everyone mentions deep snow and nobody has said a word about overflow. I encounter overflow more often than deep snow. Snowshoes are amazing in overflow conditions where you'd be sunk without them. What type of bindings and decks the shoes have is a huge factor when you're walking on water.

  15. #15
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Talkeetna
    Posts
    5,714

    Default

    Bindings are a huge issue when dealing with overflow. I've been stuck in my snowshoes more than once when my Sherpa bindings froze into a big ball of ice. Ditto with these Cabelas. However, I've yet to find a binding that didn't ice up really bad.

  16. #16
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Valdez, AK
    Posts
    100

    Default

    Interesting comments about bindings freezing up. I only had that problem while using Kahtoola's Flight System. The boots froze into the binding. I reported the info them and they were able to make the changes.

    I haven't experienced and don't think I would have any freezing problem with MSR bindings. Since they are a rubber strap that runs under an open "C" hook I would think no matter how much snow or ice, I would be able to pull the strap through the opening in the "C" hook.

    Jason

  17. #17
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    100

    Default

    AK Cub, for the conditions you describe 10X56 is the only shoe I would consider. I have hundreds of miles on mine. They are big enough to stay on top of just about any snow condition. Stay away from shoes that have a solid type webbing or you will be packing snow around with every step. Webbed type allow snow to fall through. Bindings are critical also. My bindings are made from a truck tire tube and allow you to kick the shoe aside should you step into overflow or water.pak

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AKDoug View Post
    Bindings are a huge issue when dealing with overflow. I've been stuck in my snowshoes more than once when my Sherpa bindings froze into a big ball of ice. Ditto with these Cabelas. However, I've yet to find a binding that didn't ice up really bad.
    All I ever use for bindings is a strip of truck tire innertube about two inches wide. Cut the tube across, leaving a complete intact loop. Step into the strip, put over toe of boot (under foot rest of shoeshoe) and then on the heel. Carry extras in your pack or pocket. Flip them off, when you are in a hurry or when the ice is packed around them. They are the best bindings you can get. I have used quite a few factory and homemade brands of bindings, innertubes work best.

  19. #19
    Member JoeJ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    ND
    Posts
    207

    Default

    The only way I know is ole school because I am an ole fart, so take whatever I say as just that - the ole broken down way. I've done my share of tromping around in deep powder and after several years I just gave up on "factory" shoes and had a pair made. Back then I was 230#s and the pack was another 25 to 40#'s. The shoes I had made were 76"s long and 10.5" wide, which did a great job 98% of the time. I should have went with 80"X12" and suffered another day or two with sore thighs at the beginning of the season I think but the 10.5's just felt good at the time. I used the innertube bindings for years and I like them but the straps just seemed better for me. Here's a a couple poor picture of the shoe and my binding.
    Last edited by JoeJ; 01-20-2009 at 17:39.

  20. #20
    Member 454casull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sterling, Alaska
    Posts
    223

    Smile Snowshoes

    I have a pair of the military magnesium shoes and a pair of Tubbs Altitudes 30 inch. I am also around 185 pounds and I have had good luck with these, even with a moderately heavy pack. I use the the white military shoes for flat land with deep powder because they do have better flotation than the Tubbs, but also very little traction for hills. I use the Tubbs for the mountains and packed snow. The Tubbs are much more agile. I also have been looking at the MSR shoes and suspect that they would be a great shoe for the hills and mountains and packed snow, but maybe lacking flotation in deep powder. That is just my opinion from my experiences just by looking at them. I really think a guy is well served with at least a couple different "styles" of shoes to match the conditions he is going to be in.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •