How To: Choose Modes of Winter Travel

// by: MWO

Choose the mode of winter travel for you!

Whether you’re enjoying a brisk walk in the backcountry, treading up a snowy mountain, or traversing a glacier, there are many options available for convenient and rugged traction for all types of winter terrain.

1.  Touring Skis

This is the best option for those interested in speed, efficiency, and of course (but not limited to) the awesome ride down!  In addition to the gratification of hiking for your turns, you gain the ability to travel farther in a single winter day on your skis than you would be able to in boots or snowshoes.  This giving you the ability to make it home for dinner and après ski to boast about the deep “pow” and your perfect turns all day.  On skis you gain the efficiency of gliding over the snow on your way up (convince your buddy to break trail ahead of you) without sinking up to your knees in snow, and heading back at the end of the day is much less daunting and much more exciting!
The magic behind climbing uphill on skis and not sliding backwards lies within climbing skins.  These adhesive strips have a low temperature glue on one side that attaches the skins to your skis, and on the other side lies a combination of nylon hairs and mohair at an oblique angle.  This allows the ski to glide forward with the direction of the hairs, and stick if you start to slide against the direction of the hairs.  As the slopes you are charging up get steeper, the grip of your skins may not be able to hold you back. In this case it is perfectly okay to start switch-backing your way to the snowy summit of your personal backcountry playground (Just be sure to leave some untouched snow beside your uptracks for you to paint some turns on a snowy canvas)!

2. Snowshoes

For some mountain enthusiasts snowshoes are a critical tool for backcountry exploration. For others, snowshoes are simply a fun means to adventure in the winter wonderland. Whether you’re looking to trek to the base of a snowboard run or just get some fresh air and exercise, snowshoeing is a sport that accommodates all fitness and experience levels.
Made in Seattle, our favorite snowshoes are manufactured by MSR. Constructed on an unprecedented foundation of all-terrain traction, modular flotation, and ergonomic efficiency, MSR snowshoes are engineered to carry you confidently through all of winter’s changing moods.

3. Crampons

Crampons are an essential connection between you and the frozen medium. They assist in crossing glaciers, ascend snowy slopes, climb frozen waterfalls, and even scale ice-smeared rock. Crampons need to be both high performance for solid, confidence-inspiring traction on ice, snow, and rock, while also being durable to withstand years of rough treatment.
Compact and easy to use, crampons are optimized for general mountaineering, backcountry skiing, as well as glacier walking. They are constructed using stainless steel or rugged aluminum for design that won’t rust and resists snow balling underfoot. The horizontal structure of the crampon frame creates a secure connection to modern climbing boots allowing for increased sensitivity and precision. Horizontal front points provide excellent stability on snow and ice, while secondary points create a stable platform for kicking steps; serrated points bite into frozen terrain for a secure hold.

3. MicroSpikes

MicroSpikes are a light, versatile traction system designed for use with any common footwear: trail running shoes, hiking boots, and snow boots. They are ideal for winter walking, hiking, trail running, adventure racing, non-technical mountaineering, and even snow shoveling. MicroSpikes are constructed with high-quality stainless steel, strategically placed spikes, and flex-chain that combine to dig into the ground and grip any terrain.  The tough elastomer shoe harness ensures a snug, responsive fit and secures easily, while their compact size takes up little space in your pack, car, or emergency kit. 4. Ice Cleats provide sure-footed traction on packed snow and ice whether standing, walking, or running. Strap them on and hit the ice! The one-size fits all stretch rubber technology provides the ultimate customized fit for both shoes and boots. They are equipped with ice biting steel studs placed under the toe, heel, and ball of your foot for traction where you need it. Ice cleats are compact and easy to store, making them perfect for a glove box, jacket pocket, or backpack!