Last week, while vacationing in Beaver Creek, Colorado, I went snowshoeing for the first time. It was a sport I’d never thought about before, and I was eager to try it. It’s also a sport that has a big following all over the world. You can either snowshoe for pleasure, or you can race competitively (believe me, I know what I’m talking about, I met several people who do it). According to the Snow Sports Industries America, snowshoe sales are up 21% in units and up 20% in dollars sold through February this season.
If you like sports, particularly running, then you’re definitely going to like snowshoeing. It’s easy to learn, cheaper than other sports, like skiing), poses little risk and is a fantastic way to get exercise. We were told by our instructor after a 3 hour hike in the snow that we’d burned off 1,500 calories. It’s definitely a good option for “non-skiier” who would rather sit by the fireplace and read. It’s active and a great way to explore the mountain.
We got our snowshoes from the Beaver Creek Nordic Center. They daily offer daily snowshoe tours in McCoy Park, one of North America’s premier lift-accessed trail systems located at the top of Strawberry Park Express Lift (Chair 12) where they only allow cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The tours vary in price. Our 1/2 day tour cost $84 and our equipment cost another $30 and the trip is well worth the money. On Tuesdays, the Beaver Creek Nordic Center offers free snowshoeing tours for children.
We were in a small group with a guide (pictured on left with us). The snowshoe tour ranges in level of difficulty. Our instructor gaged that we were intermediate and took us on a tour of the mountain. First we were fitted with our snowshoes meant for first-timers. They were quite comfortable and good for the simple terrain we’d be walking on. We grabbed a few bottles of water, took the lift up and started our tour. As I walked along the snow in the shoes, I felt a different kind of sensation in my step and knew I was in for a good work out. Much of our walk was uphill, but we went at a nice pace and took several water breaks. The views from the top of three mountain ranges were breathtaking and my sense of achievement at the end of the trip was just as high. John, our instructor, was patient and engaging, telling tales of the mountain and provided information about trees, animal footprints (mostly foxes) and threw in other useful facts.
After the tour, we needed a good rest. Our legs were soar, but in a very good way.
In addition, the staff at Nordic were really helpful, and I’d definitely recommend their services to anyone visiting Beaver Creek. They also offer cross country and telemark ski rentals and lessons. Here’s a short video with Nate Goldberg, who manages the center, talking about Nordic’s services:
The Beaver Creek Nordic Sports Center is conveniently located at the bottom of Strawberry Park Express Lift (Chair #12) in the Strawberry Park condo building next to the Medical Center.
Phone: (970) 754-5313
Dates/Hours of Operation: December 10, 2011-April 18, 2012. Open daily 8:45am-4:00pm.