Coming from the UK, and living before Austria in The Netherlands, my experience of winter hiking was pretty poor on arriving here. But I really like the idea of carrying on hiking through the winter. Sure, skiing is great, but my two attempts so far have shown me that I really need to take the time to learn properly – so some investment of time and money is needed! But snowshoe hiking is something else – just strap a tennis racquet to your feet, and off you go!
Despite the Austrian love of mountains and of course skiing, snowshoe hiking is still not terribly well known. But most good sports shops have a few choices. Of course I first did my internet research and had good reccommendations for snowshoes made by Tubbs. Of course, as with off-piste skiing, you have to know where to go and what you’re doing. I looked at some tours organised by the Alpenverein, but I apparently missed the “easy” ones, and the rest required an avalanche transponder, shovel and probe (things I didn’t know existed until a few weeks ago!). However, Gigasport organise some easy hikes, in this case to Teichalm.
All in all it’s a great way to get out and see the mountains in winter – being in a group of ~20 people wasn’t perhaps quite a peaceful as it could have been, but following a tour guide has its own advantages, especially when you’re not too familiar with the white fluffy stuff! Although it’s theoretically “just like walking”, there is still some technique to learn – how not to step on your own snowshoes, keeping your snowshoes parallel etc.
I think the season is already over for me for this year – perhaps next year I’ll start a bit earlier, until then feel free to browse the GPS track, photos, altitude profiles etc. below (thanks to my GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr, TripTracker.net and GPSVisualizer.com
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