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Backpacker Magazine – Fall/Winter Gear Guide 2010

Winter Hiking: Master Winter Travel

Quick tips for your transportation of choice.

by: Kristin Hostetter


FAST OR EASY: WHICH MODE OF TRAVEL IS BEST?

Snowshoes
Pros
Easy learning curve—just walk; max flotation in deep snow; light and packable; work with most boots; relatively cheap ($70 to $280)

Cons
Slooooow; less of an adrenaline thrill than skis

Best For
Rolling terrain, mixed snow and rock conditions, and dense forests too tight to ski


A.T. or tele skis
Pros
Fast; let you cover more terrain; exhilarating

Cons
Require practice; higher injury risk; more likely to take you into avy terrain; expensive ($1,500 to $1,800)

Best for
Broad ridgelines, couloirs, widely spaced trees, or faces less than 30 degrees steep

Cross-country skis
Pros
Faster than snowshoes; lighter than A.T. or tele skis by two to three pounds; more affordable ($300 to $600 for skis, bindings, and boots)

Cons
Less control on steeps or ice; waxable skis require practice (and patience!) to get the wax application just right.

Best For
Relatively flat or rolling terrain





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