Glossary: Snowshoeing Terms

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Snowshoeing Terms

Grasping the snowshoe lingo will be helpful when making snowshoe related purchases and in learning more about the sport. Take a peak at the most common terms associated with snowshoeing…

Backcountry – Typically refers to ‘off the beaten path’ or a place with no designated trails.

Binding – A device with straps that attaches your foot to the snowshoe.

Crampon – A toothed traction device, located on the underside of the snowshoe, that helps gain foothold on slippery or steep slopes.

Decking – Flat surface of the snowshoe, typically made of plastic or synthetic materials, that evenly distributes the weight of the snowshoe, allowing it to float.

Fixed Toe Cord – Point where the binding attaches to the snowshoe, limiting the amount of rotation on your binding and keeping the snowshoe close underfoot. It springs back up, thereby providing greater maneuverability for activities like racing or running.

Floatation – The ability  of the snowshoe and the user to stay on top of the snow, rather than sinking.

Frame – The outer edge of the snowshoe where the decking attaches, typically made of metal or plastic.

Hypalon™ – Very durable and flexible rubber material used in snowshoe decking.

Pivot Point – The point under the ball of the foot where the snowshoe is attached to the binding.

Rotating Toe Cord – Binding point attached to the snowshoe that pivots on a metal rod. It allows the snowshoe tail to drag or track behind you.

Self-Arrest – Planting your ice ax into the hillside with body weight to stop a fall.

Self-Belay – A self saving method that prevents you from falling in which your ice ax is planted and used as a hold.

Snowshoe PolesSnowshoe Poles with large baskets on the ends used to increase stability while walking in deep snow or uneven terrain.  Essential part of the snowshoe gear.

Step Kicking – Ascending steep terrain by kicking your snowshoe toes into the snow, creating steps.

Toe Cord – See ‘Pivot Point’ above.

Traverse – Method of moving across a slope horizontally, with one shoulder facing uphill and the other facing downhill.

V-Trail – A snowshoe frame design with a tapered tail for better traction.

Western –  A snowshoe shape, usually aluminum frame, with rounded tails.



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