Snowskating, or what to do once you've snowshoed to the top of that mountain!

By Chris Kostman

Originally published in Oui, October 1996; Fitness Plus, January 1997; ULTRA Cycling, October 1996.

If you're like most people, you can creep and crawl and climb all day long up the most death-defying mountain, only to get to the top and wonder how in the heck you're going to get back down. Well, look no further, and quit praying for a stray helicopter to come along and offer you a ride down that peak you just "bagged." Instead, pull some Sled Dogs Snowskates out of your daypack and point yourself feet-first downhill!

While snowshoeing has been around for 6,000 years, snowskating is the new kid on the block. But the two sports go well together: Train beautifully AND get to know your mountain of choice intimately by snowshoeing up it (and avoid lift lines and lift tickets at the same time), then don snowskates and swish-swoosh your way back down in an easy but exhilarating manner. Like snowshoeing, snowskating is NOT equipment, technique, or cash-intensive.

Snowskating is like in-line skating ("blading"), except on snow. Snowskates are built like an in-line skate or ski boot, but there's no ski or wheels. Instead, the bottom of the skate boot is a miniature ski that's only as long as the boot itself. It even has metal edges. Bottom line: tons of fun, super easy to master, and no skis with which to destroy your knee or ski poles on which to impale yourself in a crash.

Snowskates have other serious advantages over skis, as well. They're far more maneuverable, due to their short length, allowing the user to really carve up the snowscape, dodge skiers, and catch big air at a moment's notice. They also allow you to actually skate (by kicking out, like on "real" skates) to propel yourself when the slope gets shallow or when you're heading to the lift lines or snack bar. No more floundering around or using ski poles to push yourself. Also, because you're not using poles or skis, you can get much closer to people, places, and things while moving, and you have your hands free to take pictures, zip your jacket, or reach for your bota bag.

But best of all, snowskates are easily portable, making traveling much easier and allowing you to explore more remote areas while snowshoeing. New models have slightly wider and longer bases so that deeper powder can be navigated, allowing the hardcore snowshoe/snowskate adventurer to really get out there away from the crowds. Happy skating!