Basic Snowshoeing Course - Seattle - 2021 Early Season

Snowshoeing Course

Basic Snowshoeing Course

Basic Snowshoeing Course - Seattle

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.


Please read "COVID-19 CONSIDERATIONS" below, including the information about carpooling restrictions this winter.  Before signing up for this course please be sure you have access to a winter-capable vehicle.   

The Basic Snowshoeing Course offers an introduction to safe and enjoyable winter travel for the beginner. It is designed for people who want to get a taste of snowshoeing and pick up solid foundational skills. Topics of instruction will include selection and use of proper equipment, conditioning, where to go, what to rent, winter travel, avalanche awareness, safety, and choosing an outing. Students will be eligible to participate in Mountaineers "Basic" Snowshoe trips with the confidence of having a foundation in winter travel.

Sign Up Procedure

Important note: To fully register and graduate from this course you need to sign up for these 4 separate components, and complete one other:

  1. Click the "Apply" button to the right and complete the enrollment application to verify that you're able to meet the COVID-19 guidelines for the course.
  2. Register for this Basic Snowshoe Course and pay the course fee.
  3. Sign up for the Lecture.  This is a 1.5 hour interactive online meeting via  Zoom.  Note that attendance at the lecture is mandatory in order for you to take the Field Trip. There are no exceptions.
  4. Sign up for the Field Trip Preview.  This is a brief (no longer than 1 hour) online meeting held just before the field trips at which you'll review weather and avalanche forecasts, and finalize the logistics of your field trip with your small-group field trip leader.
  5. Sign up for an available Field Trip. This is a full day small-group Field Trip on a Saturday or Sunday at one of several locations along Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass.  
  6. Successfully complete an Avalanche Awareness Seminar, a 1 - 2 hour class that is an introduction to understanding and avoiding avalanches. The Avalanche Awareness Seminar requirement can be completed before or after the Field Trip, but must be completed in order to graduate. Avalanche Awareness Seminars are now posted and open for registrations

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

Link to Mountaineers Financial Assistance Program

Things to consider before signing up:

1) If any field trips need to be cancelled, makeup trips will be scheduled on December 19 and 20. 

2) While this is a foundational course, a moderate physical conditioning level is necessary. The field trip involves approximately 3-4 miles of travel round-trip and up to 600 feet total elevation gain on snowshoes. This is the equivalent of approximately 6-8 miles and up to 1,200 feet elevation gain if wearing hiking boots on trail.

3) If you are new to the outdoors and the Ten Essentials , expect a moderate level of investment in equipment and clothing ($200-600 for new or mostly new items). Used but quality gear and clothing is a good way to begin building your inventory. It is also always 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 are eligible to join Beginner and Basic Snowshoeing trips. Those desiring to join Intermediate Snowshoeing trips, which require additional skills, gear, and backcountry knowledge, must take the Intermediate Snowshoeing Course in addition to this one.

COVID-19 Considerations

For the 2020-2021 season all Seattle Snowshoeing courses and trips follow The Mountaineers COVID-19 Guidance for WA Phase 2.  All participants must follow The Mountaineers COVID-19 Code of Conduct .   Some Phase 2 guidelines relevant to in-person Snowshoeing activities include:

  • Carpooling with people outside your household is not recommended.  See additional notes about carpooling below.
  • All participants must wear a mask that can be quickly raised and lowered while on the move.
  • All participants must bring hand sanitizer.
  • Whenever possible the group will practice social distancing (6' apart).  Masks must be raised when in situations where social distancing is not possible.
  • Participants may not attend if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have had any symptoms in the prior 14 days.

For the 2020-2021 Snowshoeing season carpooling with people outside your household is not recommended.  Snowshoeing trips, include the field trips for this course, are usually held at locations near mountain passes that require driving on side roads or icy parking lots. Before signing up for this course please be sure you have access to a winter-capable vehicle.  An AWD or 4WD vehicle is best, but a 2WD vehicle with reasonable ground clearance and snow chains can work in benign-to-moderate conditions.   Lack of access to adequate transportation will not be considered a sufficient reason to refund the course fee.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Additional badges needed to graduate


Required Equipment

Every person's clothing needs are different. Some people get colder more quickly than others. Remember: NO COTTON.  If you don't have any of this gear, try borrowing it from friends before you spend money.

For  the  field  trip,  you  must  bring  the  Ten  Essentials  and  Clothing  &  Equipment. 

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 & 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.


  • Pack  (large  enough  for  all  winter  gear)
  • Snowshoes
  • Ski Poles/Trekking poles with baskets
  • Sturdy, lug-soled, waterproofed boots    
  • Clothing Layers (no cotton)

Inner  Layer:

  • Wicking Liner socks, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)
  • Synthetic Warm Underwear, top & bottom, 2 sets (one set worn, other set carried)
  • Liner gloves,  (+extra set in pack)

Insulating  Layer:

  • Outer socks, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)
  • Pants, synthetic fleece or wool. Soft-shell or sturdy hiking pants suffice for many.
  • Shirt or sweater, synthetic fleece or wool
  • Mittens or gloves, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)

Protective  Layer:

  • Rain parka with hood – waterproof & breathable preferred; remember, coated nylon doesn’t breathe and traps moisture under the clothing.
  • Rain pants – waterproof & breathable preferred to avoid trapped moisture.
  • Long gaiters. Be sure they fit your boots correctly so that snow doesn’t crawl underneath. GoreTex or insulated gaiters are not necessary.
  • Hats (one for warmth; one for sun protection).
  • Wind jacket (which may be your rain parka). A fleece or wind stopper vest is also handy if it is warm.
  • Scarf or neck gaiter if you tend to get cold easily.

Additional  Recommended  Equipment/Supplies  for  the  Field  Trip:  

  • Foam sit pad
  • Hand and toe warmers
  • Toilet paper, sealable plastic bags, and hand sanitizer
  • Pack cover
  • 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.