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Does Anyone Snowshoe Or Cross Country Ski?
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I've always wanted to try those, but I never really had anywhere to go. Now we have a bunch of land and I'm really excited to try them out this winter. Any tips? How about good websites to look at for equipment? Where do you usually go?

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You might want to look at the L.L.Bean website for snowshoes. www.llbean.com

They also have cross country skis, just click on the other tab.

I've done both cross country skiing and snowshoeing many years ago (before I got too sick for either), and it's great fun and excellent exercise. And really not hard to do!

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I live in Montana where we have winter 9 months of the year (I hit snow hiking yesterday) and so I do a lot of cross-country skiing (about twice a week) and snowshoeing (about once every week or too). Both are a great way to stay in shape when the snow's too deep or it's too icy to hike or run. Plus they're really fun.

Snowshoeing is super easy. If you can walk, you can snowshoe. It's fun too because you can go absolutely anywhere on snowshoes. To get started, you'll probably want a basic walking model. More advanced models have heavier bindings for more support and sharper teeth for steeper hill climbs. The more advanced models, however, are much heavier and more expensive. There's lots of brands out there, but I find that Tubbs and Atlas are both very durable, well-made brands.

As for cross-country skis, it depends on where you'll be skiing and how much downhill skiing experience you have. I'd start with waxless skiis. They have scales on the bottom so you don't slide backwards so easily and then you don't have to learn how to wax correctly for the proper glide at the beginning and don't have to do a lot of maintenance. If you are skiing on roads or good trails, don't worry about getting metal edges. If you're skiing off-trail or in a hilly area or are a pretty good downhill skier, I'd get skis with metal edges. There are 3 types of bindings - SNS, NNN and NIS. They're pretty equal for the average skier and a given binding system will fit with only certain types of boots. I'd find a pair of boots that fit comfortably and then go with the binding system that fits those boots. If you have weak ankles, haven't skied much or will be skiing mostly off-trail, I'd go with a stiffer, higher boot that goes over the ankle.

There's lots of choice for both skis and snowshoes, so I'd go to a large true outdoor store such as REI or Eastern mountain sports (not sure where you live) or a small local ski shop where you can get a clerk who really knows their equipment and can do a good job of fitting the equipment to you.

Email me if you have more questions.

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One more thing I forgot about - a pair of ski poles makes snowshoeing much easier.

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I love cross country skiing. Corinne's advice was very good. I definitely agree, start with the waxless skis without metal edges. I've had mine for several years and I love them. I agree, find a boot that fits well first and then get the ski binding that matches the boot. We have a bunch of outdoor stores here and I have got my gear from three different ones depending on what I was looking for. It pays to inform yourself and than you can shop around.

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Great advice all around. One thing I would add is that I would rent a few times prior to buying anything. They are both great "sports", but the equipment can be pricey - better to try before you buy! I know REI and EMS both rent equipment at reasonable rates. They are also usually very knowledgeable and helpful with both the equipment and where to go to try it out. I have Atlas snowshoes and have nothing but good things to say about them. I have used Tubbs in the past with no problems. Poles are a definite hep if you will be venturing out onto steeper terrain. Have fun! (i'm jealous)

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