Basic Snowshoeing - Tacoma - 2022

Snowshoeing Course

Basic Snowshoeing

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


This course provides an introduction to snowshoeing. It is designed for people who want to get a taste of snowshoeing and pick up solid foundational skills.

Lecture topics include selection and proper use of equipment, rental options, selecting trips based on conditioning and skill level, winter clothing, winter travel safety and avalanche awareness.  The field trip focuses on snowshoe techniques and travel.  This course is a prerequisite for Intermediate Snowshoe and Winter Camping courses. 

Graduates of this course are eligible to join Beginner/Easy and Basic/Easy+ Snowshoe trips. Students are eligible to join Basic/Easy+ Snowshoe trips following the successful completion of the field trip.  Those desiring to join Intermediate Snowshoe trips, which require additional skills, gear, and backcountry knowledge, must take the Intermediate Snowshoe Course in addition to this one.


  •  Attend basic snowshoe lecture and complete online classroom assignments,
  • Attend basic snowshoe field trip,
  • Participate in one Mountaineers snowshoe trip,
  • Completion of free, online Low Impact Recreation eLearning course,
  • Completion of free, avalanche awareness seminar,
  • Completion of conservation activities required to obtain a Stewardship Badge on your Mountaineers’ profile page.


  1. Snowshoeing trips, including 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. 
  1. 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 a trail. 
  1. 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.) 
  1. Students must complete the lecture, online classroom, and field trip during the first year.  Completion of the lecture and online classroom materials is required to attend the field trip.  There will be a $50 administrative fee charged to second year students needing to make up lecture and field trip activities.  Students may take up to two years to complete the Avalanche Awareness, Mountaineers’ snowshoe trip, and conservation requirements.
  2. Guests can participate in two activities prior to joining.  It is not possible to graduate this course as a guest participant.


  1. Register and pay for the course
  2. Register for the Lecture
  3. Register for *one* Field Trip date 

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

There is some equipment that will be required to complete the course but we suggest that those new to snowshoeing refrain from purchasing new equipment until after the lecture. This will probably avoid a few of the missteps of over purchasing or purchasing inadequate gear. A sizable portion of the classroom evening is devoted to what gear to get, how/why to choose it and where it may be purchased or rented. Some of the things on the list are:

  • Parka/ hard shell jacket
  • Gloves
  • Trekking/Snow Poles
  • Boots
  • Pack
  • Outdoor Clothing (synthetic or wool)
  • Water Bottle with insulation
  • Hand warmers
  • Gaiters

Do note that many people with some hiking experience will probably have a great deal of this gear. Our purpose is to show what you'll need, what are nice extras and what's available.

Check out the gear rentals:  Snow Links

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.