Gear Review: GV Mountain Extreme 830 Snowshoes

These burly monsters will not let you sink, period.

[best load-hauler]

“These snowshoes are as burly as they look,” declared one tester after a three-day trek into the Spanish Peaks area around Big Sky, Montana. “They kept us on top of the snow no matter how heavy our packs (up to 50 pounds), or how soft and fluffy the powder.” The squared tails of the snowshoes and tight, semi-rigid plastic decking that spans from edge to edge (gaps along the frame are minimized) provide outstanding flotation compared to other comparably sized models. The 830s really shine when touring steep terrain. In addition to the aggressive forefoot and heel crampons, the aluminum blade-style frame even cuts into crusty snow for a firm bite. Unlike other blade-style snowshoes, though, the 830’s frame is angled outward a bit so the bottom edge is slightly wider than the top edge. That outward flare allows for better snow shedding, and improves grip on traverses since the angled frame, when pressed into a sidehill, cuts more vertically into the slope. The secure, ratcheting binding system is adaptable to a wide range of footwear, but the ratchets can be difficult to operate with bulky gloves. The Mountain Extremes are also a bit heavy, but that’s the tradeoff for the extra flotation of a bigger deck. $270; 25 and 30 inches; 5 lbs. 1 oz. (30);