Basic Snowshoeing Course - Foothills - 2020

Snowshoeing Course

Basic Snowshoeing Course

Introduction to snowshoeing. Learn how to get out in the winter wonderland confidently and safely on snowshoes.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

Want to learn to snowshoe? This course is designed for those with no or little experience who want to learn the basics of snowshoeing. Whether you're new to snow sports  or yearn to extend your hiking adventures into the winter, this course will get you started. We cover basic balance and maneuvering on snowshoes, going up and down hills and other practical winter field skills. Lecture topics include selection and proper use of equipment, rental options, selecting trips based on conditioning and skill level, winter clothing and winter travel safety.

In addition to Beginner rated snowshoe trips (which are open to all memebers), graduates will be eligible to participate in Basic rated snowshoe trips with the confidence of having a solid foundation in snowshoeing.

The course consists of the following:

  • 1 Lecture
  • 1 Field Trip
  • Completion of free Avalanche Awareness seminar
  • Completion of free, online Low Impact Recreation eLearning


Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 on how we run our courses, we are requiring interested participants submit an application.

  1. Submit an application. This will take you to a short questionnaire where we spell out the cancellation policy and the expectations surrounding carpooling. Provided you agree to those terms, there are no other requirements in the application.
  2. Applicants will be offered spots in the order received. You will receive an email from the Mountaineers offering you a spot in the course. At this point, you must accept the offer and pay the course fee, at which point you will be able to register for the course and activities.
  3. Sign-up for the online lecture.
  4. Sign-up for ONE (1) field trip. The earlier you sign up, the more likely you will get the field trip date you want, so don't delay. If you cancel from the field trip, there is no guarantee there will be space in another, and no guarantee of a make-up trip.

Space at lecture, field trips and regular trips is limited, so please sign up early to ensure you get the dates that work for you.

Link to Mountaineers Financial Assistance Program.


  1.  While this is an introductory course for beginners, snowshoeing is a highly aerobic exercise, and a moderate level of physical conditioning is expected. A typical field trip will involve approximately 4-5 miles of travel round-trip and up to 900 feet total elevation gain on snowshoes. This is the equivalent of a summer hike of approximately 6-8 miles and up to 2,000 feet elevation gain wearing hiking boots on trail. If you are new to exercising, this is not a class to take to "get in shape."
  2. If you are new to the outdoors and don't have equipment or the Ten Essentials, you can expect a moderate level of investment in equipment and clothing ($200-600 for new or mostly new items). Quality used gear and clothing is a good way to begin building your inventory. It is also wise to rent or borrow snowshoes before investing in them. Check the 'Required Equipment' list in advance to begin preparing for the items you will need for this course and for snowshoeing in general. (We will also cover clothing and gear in detail during the lecture.)

Graduates of this course will be eligible to participate in Basic rated snowshoe trips. Those desiring to go on Intermediate rated snowshoe trips, which require additional skills and knowledge, must take the Intermediate Snowshoeing course subsequent to this course.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Additional badges needed to graduate


Required Equipment

A large part of the classroom evening is devoted to gear and clothing, how/why to choose it and where it may be purchased or rented. We suggest that those new to snowshoeing refrain from purchasing new equipment until after the classroom session, or try borrowing it from friends before you spend money.  This will probably avoid a few of the missteps of over-purchasing or purchasing inadequate gear.  One thing to remember, NO COTTON.

 Important note: Some people's feet get colder more quickly than others, and everyone's feet are different. Students should wear winter boots with insulation for snowshoeing.  If you're bringing a pair of boots that you wear in the summer, they're not warm enough. The guidance we give for snowshoeing is to wear insulated, waterproof winter boots. They have thick soles, rubber/leather uppers and insulation. If you're not sure, winter boots are made to wear in snow and are too warm to wear in summer.

Winter Boot.jpg

A limited number of MSR snowshoes will be available for students to rent. If you're interested in this option, please contact the leader for more information. 

For  the  field  trip,  and on regular trips, you  must  bring  your Clothing & Equipment and  Ten Essentials.


Map (provided to you), compass, sunglasses and sunscreen, extra clothing, emergency shelter, headlamp/flashlight, first-aid supplies, fire starter, matches, knife, extra food and water. Sun protection is a must. Snow reflection is highly damaging to eyes; UV damage and sunburns are common if proper protection is not used.


  • Winter boots (insulated)
  • Gaiters
  • Snowshoes
  • Backpack (large enough for all winter gear)
  • Ski / trekking poles with snow baskets
  • Clothing layers (adjustable to your activity level and the weather - No cotton)
    • Base layer: Wicking liner socks, glove liners, synthetic or wool long underwear that wicks away moisture, insulates well and dries quickly. Lightweight or midweight versions are available; pick a thickness based on the temperature and your activity level. A zippered top lets you adjust body heat as you stop and go.
    • Insulating layer: Wool socks, synthetic soft-shell pants, Polartec® or Primaloft® polyester mid-layer jackets. "Active Insulation" clothing makes a good mid-layer since it retains heat when wet and breathes as you exercise.
    • Outer layer: A waterproof, breathable shell jacket and pants that keep you dry and fend off wind.
  • Hats, Gloves and Accessories (to prevent loss of body heat/protect from sunburn)
    • A wool or synthetic hat, headband or balaclava retains heat; a wide-brimmed hat or a ball cap can shade your eyes on sunny days or keep snow out of your eyes.
    • Waterproof ski gloves or mittens are a must to keep your hands dry and warm. On cold days, combine shells with fleece mittens or gloves. In milder conditions, glove liners may be all you need.
    • A scarf or neck gaiter is a must especially on windy days, or if you tend to get cold easily.

Additional  Recommended  Equipment:  

  • Foam sit pad
  • Hand and toe warmers
  • Pack cover
  • Toilet paper, sealable plastic bags, and hand sanitizer
  • Dry clothes and shoes in your car for the trip home
  • Garbage bags in your car for wet gear
  • Camera and extra batteries, if desired
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.