Category Archives: Product

Stay Healthy, Stay Active

Kinetic foam roll at office

Working at a snowsports company has its perks–fun people who love getting outside, equipment testing, time in the mountains, and getting our hands on the latest and greatest technologies. But with great fun comes great responsibility (that’s the saying, right?). In order to enjoy all of these things, we have to stay healthy!

We recently had the pleasure of hosting a foam rolling and stretching clinic from Seattle-based Kinetic Sports Rehab. They came in to show us how we can stay healthy at work (aka desk sitting) and on our way out the door to our hike, ski, snowboard activity.

Here is some advice on how to keep your body prepped for your snowshoe hike.  If you’d like to see video of these exercises, please go to their blog. Thanks Kinetic!

Transitioning from hiking to snowshoeing is a natural progression for those looking to take outdoor adventures and sightseeing through the wintery months. And while there are definite similarities between the two outdoor activities, there are also some innate differences which call for attention.

The most impactful and obvious difference between hiking and snowshoeing is (surprise!) you wear snowshoes! But, this is actually a pretty big deal, as the platform is significantly larger in length, and more importantly width, which has big implications in terms of gait and walking mechanics.

The wider platform forces you to take wide, somewhat unbalanced steps, which forces your lateral stabilizers and core to work much harder to keep its center of gravity. Additionally, the nature of a snowshoe stride is much more of a push into hip extension with the hamstrings and glutes compared to the quadriceps-driven motion that tends to be more prevalent in hiking.

What does this mean? Well, you should consider preparing differently for snowshoeing than you might train for hiking. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help. Check out the videos below for preparation and recovery to make your snowshoeing endeavors more pleasurable.

TRAINING EXERCISES FOR SNOWSHOEING

Monster Walks – 2 x 20ft x Medium Resistance Band

Why’s It’s Important: The wide snowshoe platform forces one to take wider steps than usually taken with normal footwear. Monster Walks simulate this wide-step pattern and strengthen the lateral hip stabilizer muscles that are needed to support the less natural gait pattern.

Hip Thruster – 3 x 15

Many runners and hikers tend to rely on their quadriceps to dominate their stride, which means many under-utilize the strong muscles on the back of the leg (glutes and hamstrings) that can really drive a snowshoe step. The Hip Thruster is a great movement to ignite those powerful posterior chain muscles that will be dominating your snowshoe strides. Not only that, but they are great for learning how to push into full hip extension efficiently.

Single Leg Deadlift – 2 x 10

The snowshoe step is a series of controlled single-leg pushing motions. To best simulate the stability needed to control such a motion, the single-leg deadlift will challenge the glutes, hamstrings, and lateral hip stabilizers to drive into hip extension so you can power up any trail on the map.

Bear Crawl – 5 x 10 Steps Forward & Back

The wide snowshoe platform forces requires the rotational stabilizers (think core) to work much harder to keep center of gravity on every step. Especially on a challenging snowshoe endeavor, efficiency is the name of the game and eliminating as much side-to-side swaying motion as possible is important. The Bear Crawl is a great way to challenge your rotational stabilizers and increase trunk/pelvis awareness, so you can power forward and not waste energy in the wrong direction.

Team Atlas Conquers Race Season

BC race elevation chart

Atlas Snow-Shoe Company is fortunate to have a partnership with the Beaver Creek Resort in Colorado. If you’ve ever been interested in trying out our snowshoes, Beaver Creek is the place!

In addition to our Nordic Center partnership, Atlas is proud to sponsor the Beaver Creek snowshoe race series. A collection of three snowshoe running events that bring together the very best athletes, as well as snowshoe enthusiasts just looking for a good time.

You may remember our series of training advice and blogs, straight from our Atlas ambassador athletes themselves. In case you missed it: Part 1        Part 2        Part 3

The end of the snowshoeing season marks the end to the race season as well. Below, we check in with Team Atlas to see how their Beaver Creek races went. Read on and sign up next year!

Emilys 1st place

Emily:

The Beaver Creek Race Series are three races at the Beaver Creek Resort near Avon, CO. The race offers either 5k or 10k distances with each race having a unique course. I elected to compete in the 5k distance, as I seem to be injury prone in snowshoes. My goal for these races was to utilize them as a challenging but fun workout in my training towards Snowshoe Nationals in Vermont!

To train for the race series, each week I did an 8-10 mile long run on snowshoes in the mountains, one 10k geared speed workout on the treadmill, and then easy trail miles with friends. My average weekly mileage stayed around 45-55 with spinning classes mixed in there to increase strength. The snowshoe long runs allowed me to explore areas that I otherwise would not have been able to access in the winter. My favorite trails are those around Nederland. These are quieter and almost always snow covered in the winter.

The thrill of the Beaver Creek Race Series centers around not being able to look up the course including the exact distance (anywhere from 5k to 3.5 miler) and elevation gain (700 to 1300 ft) before the race. Of the three races, the last one was my favorite. This course was 80% groomed and started at a higher elevation. Racers had to take the Strawberry Ski Lift to reach the Nordic track (given the 30 mph winds, this was excitement in and among itself!). The race course provided amazing views of the surrounding peaks, and the race crew from Beaver Creek was great, as always!

My least favorite part of the race series did not involve the race itself, but the drive to the race. I drove from the Boulder area each time and the drive took anywhere from 1 to 2 hours longer than it would without traffic. The second race, I missed the start by 20 minutes due to a traffic accident. If travelling to the race I would recommend either staying the night before, or leaving around 5am and relaxing at a coffee shop before the start.

EDITORS NOTE: Emily went on to compete in Snowshoe Nationals and took home the silver, earning her a spot on the worlds team. Congrats Emily!!

Tim:

The Beaver Creek Snowshoe series certainly dishes up some of the best snowshoe racing in the country, and 2018 did not disappoint! I raced the first race of the series in January and was excited to see how my run training in Denver would pay off. I am doing an Ironman on 4/28 so I had just started ramping up some of my miles. I chose the 10k race knowing it would take me a good hour to finish the winding and hilly course.

The resort got a good 6 inches the night before so the trails were great for racing. I strapped my trusty Atlas Race shoes and before I knew it we were off! Right away, I was in the front, but soon dialed into 2nd place. We went straight up the mountain and climbed for about 2 miles. I was feeling good and my feet felt very light with my racing snowshoes doing a lot of the work. After 15 minutes or so, I could tell I was going to be racing in 2nd for a while as there was no one behind or in front of me. I took in all of the views as best as I could while still pushing hard to the finish. The snowshoe course covered some incredible trails that have seen the likes of XTERRA, US Cycling Pro Challenge, and even the US World Alpine Skiing Championships back in 2015. So, yes, it was a hard course! I cruised to the finish in 1:04, 2nd overall, about 5-6 minutes back from 1st place. It was a fantastic time and I just wish I could have raced more!

Thanks to Atlas for all of the support…their snowshoes are the best!

Brandy:

The Beaver Creek race series is always appealing as the venue is stunning. However, the I-70 traffic can sometimes be a deterrent. My family and I moved to Summit County this past June as my husband took the Athletic Director position at Summit High School. Being less than an hour away from Beaver Creek, I decided to lace up the snowshoes and jump into the series after a several year hiatus.

I have a love/hate relationship with the January race. I enjoy the holidays and probably indulge a bit too much in Christmas sweets. So I always go into the 1st race feeling a little undertrained and overfed! My goal races are typically mountain races over the summer and into early fall so I’m in the middle of my base-building phase.

As the race approached, the snow conditions looked dismal. However, the night before the race, CO got some fresh powder. I got to the venue a bit early to ease my pre-race jitters, did a short warm-up, used the port-o-potty a zillion times and soon enough the gun went off and the rest was history! I was thankful for all the times I’d run up/down Keystone already this winter as I forgot how much fun bombing down the steep donwhills can be in fresh powder. It was a great rust buster, workout, and fun to catch up with Atlas teammates and friends.

Karen:

The beaver creek snowshoe race series was again a great success! Mother nature was kind to us and we always had fresh powder for each race. (Unlike road races snow is welcome sight!) The courses consisted of deep snow, singletrack and steep climbs and descents. The organizers always manage to find great trails for us , keep them well signed and marked , and you can’t beat the free lunch after the race.  Atlas Snowshoes also provides free running and race snowshoes to try out!  Snowshoe running is not completely like running on the roads. It requires a higher leg lift and wider stance. And you find yourself transitioning from running to hiking and back again. So having a great pair of snowshoes specifically designed for these conditions is awesome and allows you to make the most of your experience at the race.

 

 

 

 

Reflections from Outdoor Retailer

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By Jill Nazeer, Atlas Snow-Shoe Marketing Specialist

outside

This past week, Atlas Snow-Shoe exhibited at Outdoor Retailer, one of the largest tradeshows in our industry. It’s the time to showcase what’s new next season, meet with retail buyers, and engage the media with your product. For me, as the marketing contact, it’s also a time to check in with our non-profits, our advertising reps, and meet with potential new partners. It’s almost like a mix of a family reunion and a final exam; how has all of that work paid off this past year? What do we need to do better? Who’s gotten taller or had a baby or moved into a new house?

There’s been a lot of political chatter around the OR show. I won’t get deep in the weeds about it, but if you search “politics+OR show” you could read about a million articles about what’s gone on in the past year.

With the show in its first year in Denver, as well as it combining with the Snowsports Industry America (SIA) show, there seemed to be a renewed excitement surrounding this “reunion”. I found a noticeable shift from prior years and sat in on a lot of meetings surrounding an interesting notion:

What can we all do, as one industry, to make our world better?

That might seem dramatic, but it’s not exaggerated. It was exciting to be in a large convention center, surrounded by competing brands, and the question was no longer “what’s that guy doing better than me?”. It was “how can we work together to make sure all people will be able to play outside for decades to come?”. It almost felt like it was no longer a tradeshow, but instead a conference on our future.

panel edit

At the show, I attended a Camber Outdoor Thought Leader Keynote with our (noted: female) Sales Manager and Product Line Manager. Camber Outdoors, formerly the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition, has a goal of encouraging equality for women in the Outdoor industry. Since Atlas has a history of building women’s specific product, and employing female engineers, sales representatives, and marketing managers, we’ve been a proud supporter of Camber, even partnering with them on Elektra messaging and giveaways.

crowd edit

The audience, as well as the panel, were a mix of men and women from different brands, different parts of the outdoor industry, different ages and experience levels. The message: What can we do to make this community as diverse, and representative of our world, as possible? Despite Camber’s former namesake, it was not just about women in the workforce. It was about making sure everyone feels welcome and represented in this industry. If you’d like to watch the keynote, it’s linked here.

Snowshoeing might be a small portion of the outdoor industry, but we like to think our sport is one of the most accessible activities in snowsports; financially, geographically, and physically. Atlas Snow-Shoe Company has always been a supporter of building the snowshoe community, not just our brand. This tradeshow only encouraged our commitment to getting more people out on snowshoes, outside in the winter, enjoying snow, and staying healthy.

Please follow our social media pages, and this blog, as we continue to grow with our partners and hopefully engage some new ones. Our non-profit partners, such as the Outdoors Empowered Network and the Winter Wildlands Alliance, are dedicated to growing the snowsports community and we encourage you to get involved in your local area. Share your stories with us as well! We want to see what you do to get outside this winter. Thank you for being the supportive, and frankly awesome, community that you are.

Signing off,

Jill (your friendly neighborhood snowshoe promoter)

 

 

Review: Spindrift “Get Up to Get Down”

spindrift shoe closeup

Courtesy of Outdoor ProLink

Get Up to Get DOWN!
For when those couloirs are finally filled in, you’ve shaken the
summer rust off your ski legs, and you’re ready to really get after it, the Atlas Spindrift snowshoes are there for you. When it’s too steep for skins, and too deep to just pop the ski crampons on, these snowshoes will get you up the big lines. With use in the Chugach Range of Alaska, these snowshoes have been put to the test in temperatures of 0F, and on slopes up to 35.

spindrift skier uphill

Fit/Comfort
Thanks to Atlas’s new PackFlat™ binding the spindrifts stay snug on
the boot, with no adjustment needed throughout the hike. The Z-strap design and light-weight construction make them feel like an extension of your foot; essential in climbing steep coolies.

spindrift closeup

Look/Style
While no one wants to admit it, style is an important component of
our gear. Atlas’s design team updated several features of these snowshoes, style being one of them. The red trim on black is a pretty sleek look, but I appreciate that they aren’t trying to catch anyone’s attention with flashy colors.

Features
The urethane strap bindings are the first thing I appreciated about
these snowshoes, along with the extra utility strap that comes with the Spindrifts. They’re exceptionally easy to replace in the field. That being said, I had no issues with the durability of the straps. Unfortunately, in cold weather the straps are a bit difficult to work with. The heel lifters are the second feature that caught my attention during use. They’re easy to put up and down, and on snowshoes built for steep ascents, efficient lifters are an absolute requirement. If you’ve ever tried toe pointing up a hill, you know how quickly your calves burn out. These heel lifters give a much-needed assist on big climbs.

Weight/Packability
The Spindrift 25’s weigh in at 3.8 pounds per pair, but mind Atlas’s
size chart when buying them. If you and your gear weigh upwards of 180, go for the heavier Spindrift 30’s. Sure, it’s an extra 0.4 pounds, but the extra floatation will help save your energy for when you want it on the descent. When its time to strap them to your pack and charge back down the mountain, they easily attach to your pack, allowing you to keep the weight of your pack close to your body.

spindrift backpack

Function/Performance

According to Atlas, the Spindrifts are designed for speed and performance on technical terrain. To that end, they do exceptionally well. However, (on low density snow) they don’t always provide as much floatation as you need. This is a trade off you have to accept for their lightweight build and small profile, and they’re certainly a better option than boot packing.

Durability/Construction

So far, so good. Though it hasn’t been a full season, the Spindrifts have held up incredibly well and Alaska isn’t known for going easy on its people or their gear.

The final word

The Spindrift’s do exceptionally well in most conditions. Given spring temps on days you’re most likely to be climbing steep couloirs, they are easy to strap on, feel great under foot, and keep you from post-holing up to your waist as you might on a boot pack. When the temps drop, so does the functionality. The Atlas’s urethane straps become harder to adjust with a gloved hand than you might expect.

Bio

Logan spends his summers as a guide (ice climbing, glacier travel, rafting) in the Alaskan wilderness of Wrangell-St. Elias NP. He chases snow and big mountain lines through the winter. If he’s not on skis you’ll likely find him climbing rock or ice.

New to Snowshoeing Series, Part 1: Get Suited Up

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Perhaps you received some fancy new Atlas snowshoes as an awesome holiday gift… Maybe you’re making a New Year’s resolution to spend more time outside (even in the winter)… Or you could be trying to win the office step competition for bragging rights… Whatever your reason, snowshoeing is the answer.

And Atlas is here to get you started (and win that competition). Our ambassadors have loads of great advice for all abilities and fitness levels so you can get out on the snow safely to walk or run in potentially cold, wet, weather. Trust us, it’ll be great!

First: Commitment

Sometimes it’s hard to make yourself go outside in the winter. But the first step is making the proactive decision to just do it. Do you need motivation? Join a hiking group or sign up for a snowshoe race. Having something on the calendar will give you the extra motivation to train.

Pro Tip: It’s okay to feel awkward on snowshoes at first, but just commit to it and you’ll love it in no time!

Second: Gear

It’d be really hard to snowshoe without snowshoes, or a good jacket, or the right shoes. Every one of our ambassadors will tell you that the most important thing to them is quality gear. (We don’t pay them to say that, we swear!)

Snowshoes

Consider the type of terrain you will most often be exploring and factor in your weight to get the right amount of float on the snow.

Pro Tip: The filter on our website is a huge help. Simply select the gender with which you identify, where you’ll be using your snowshoes, and your desired terrain for a customized recommendation.

Footwear

Atlas makes great products, but you still need quality footwear to go into the bindings. If you’re using a speed series snowshoe, you can wear normal running shoes (our athletes recommend adding gaiters for extra protection). If you’ll be hiking, pair some thick socks with good hiking boots to keep your feet warm and dry. Nothing will cut your day short faster than cold, wet, toes.

Atlas Snowshoes - How To Dress

Clothing

Every one of our athletes had one word on when asked about clothing: LAYERS. The general rule of thumb is:

  • A high-quality breathable base layer
  • An insulating layer (thermal top, vest, jacket)
  • A waterproof shell

Remove a layer if the weather is warmer or dryer. Some people get cold easier so don’t base your needs on what your friends are wearing.

If you’re running or aggressively hiking, bring layers that are easy to remove and store. You’ll need those clothes to stay dry later on the way back down or if you pause to take a break. It also helps to have a lightweight pack to stash your layers, snacks, and HYDRATION (more to come on that in Part 3).

Pro Tip: If you’re dreading the cold day, Atlas athletes recommend putting your base layers in the dryer (if it’s safe to do so!) for a few minutes to warm them up.

Extras

A face buff is a great extra piece of gear to carry. Use a buff to warm your neck, put over your mouth to warm the air before it gets into your lungs on extremely cold days, or use it as a headband/hat or pirate headpiece (wanted to see if you’re paying attention).

Eye protection is often overlooked when snowshoeing but sunglasses are another great piece of equipment to stash in your bag. You think you’ll be in the woods the whole time or that it will stay cloudy, but if that sun comes out and reflects off the snow, you’ll want to save yourself from the glare; they can also protect your eyes from the wind and cold.

And don’t forget your gloves!

Safety

If you’re going to be running or hiking in low light or darker conditions (we don’t recommend it, but it happens) make sure to wear reflective clothing and bring a light with you. For just a few dollars at running stores, hardware stores, or even larger pharmacies, you can add this to your kit for great piece of mind. If you plan to spend a lot of time on the trail after dark, a reliable headlamp is a must. Make sure you’re seen out there!


Coming Soon, Part 2: Training Your Way to a Happy Day

Getting Off the Beaten Path on Mt. Hood

TomTomHood1
Photo Credit Jamie Mieras
Photo Credit Jamie Mieras

By Adam Chase, Atlas Team Captain

Even though Mt. Hood is just a 90-minute drive from downtown Portland and considered PDX’s playground, the amount of snow the upper regions of the volcanic and glacial mountain receives keeps the hoards away, leaving its open wilderness and National Forest areas wide open for exploration.

You can gain serious elevation by starting from Timberline Lodge, a beautiful 1937, Depression-era Work Projects Administration structure six miles up the access road from the town of Government Camp. Climber’s Trail is an obvious option for those wanting to head directly toward the rather daunting yet alluring summit. In other words, it goes straight up the mountain. The going isn’t easy but the views earned from ascending with every step are well worth the effort. Timberline Lodge sits at 6,000 feet above sea level while the summit of Mt. Hood is at 11,245 with the terrain getting rather technical above 9,500.

We did a four-mile out-and-back on snowshoes on a mostly sunny yet breezy day with temps in the high 30s and low 40s. It took more than 90 minutes to ascend 2,500 feet and less than 30 minutes to descend on the soft snow. We saw skiers and boarders who took two lifts to get to just above our turnaround point and plenty of climbers who were headed to make a Saturday night high camp before going for an early Sunday summit and the return home.

Unless the temperature is just right, you’ll need snowshoes, skis with skins, crampons or other traction device and maybe an ice axe or poles. It is a great calf workout and for those coming from sea level the altitude is sure to get the heart and lungs pumping hard.

It was tempting to turn around to check out the view of Portland, below, as the views were spectacular. But we were less than 3,000 feet from the top of the peak that is marveled at regularly by Portlanders, the way Seattle residents are in awe of Mt. Rainier. The ridge line of the summit and its snow- and ice-encrusted crown, like a white saw against the blue sky it cut with its teeth, is so compelling.

 

Design Your Dream Snowshoe

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chair

Ever wanted to sit in the chair of one of the Atlas snowshoe engineers? Well now’s your chance! (Not literally. Sorry folks. They need their chairs.)

We want to have a little winter fun and let you–our very knowledgeable and devoted snowshoe fans–design the most awesome snowshoe you can think of.

The rules are, there are no rules. Aim for the sky! No really, do you want flying snowshoes? Design what you would love to see in a snowshoe. Drawings and photos are encouraged. Be as crazy as you want to be. We want to see your creativity!

The best design will win a pair of existing Atlas snowshoes (sorry, we wish we could build your dream. Maybe one day.)

We lied, there are a few rules:

  1. This is a “dream” snowshoe. Entries will not actually be built.
  2. Contest will run until January 12.
  3. A single winner will be notified directly.
  4. Entries should be sent to:  marketing-web@atlassnowshoe.com
  5. By entering the contest you give us permission to post your submission to our social media accounts (with credit of course!) after the contest is complete. We will be posting the top designs and the winner.
  6. Multiple entries are welcome.

Hiking with Elektra

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You might know of the many different iterations of Elektra (or Electra depending on your mythology of preference): Marvel super hero, Sophacles’ heroine, Freudian complex. As one of the most popular mythological (and comic book) characters, Elektra is recognized as a strong and resilient female character.

So it’s no wonder that, in the early 2000’s, Atlas engineers decided to build a line of female-specific snowshoes, and name it after her. (Not to mention the earlier Electra was one of the seven daughters of the Titan Atlas, but enough with the history lessons!)

When we talk about our female-specific snowshoes, we don’t just mean a change in color. The reason we don’t call the line “Atlas Women’s Snowshoes” is because it is, physically, a different shoe from the men’s, and therefore deserved its own name and design.

Men's Montane
Men’s Montane
Elektra Montane
Elektra Montane

Elektra snowshoes are designed with a woman’s anatomy in mind. While studying the way women move, researchers note that women often have a narrower gait than men. Therefore, we needed to make snowshoes that allowed for that narrower step, specifically in the tail of the shoe (see our comparison above). When women are forced to walk in wider snowshoes, they’re going to expend more energy (try walking wider than is natural to you for a while, you’ll probably tire a lot faster). Therefore, a narrower shoe isn’t just necessary because of the weight factor, it actually helps the wearer save energy.

With snow starting to fall, now is the time to get yourself on the right snowshoes, built for you. Check out our Elektra line and see if it makes a difference on your hikes.

 

An Ode to the Local Shop

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Oh, Mom & Pop Shop!

Thank you for being you.

You support our adventures. You don’t laugh when we walk into your store and tell you our dreams. You hi-five us and lend us advice.

Thank you for being you.

You empathize with us. We share stories of victorious climbs, and commiserate when a goal goes unreached. You encourage us to keep moving.

Thank you for being you.

You educate us. When we don’t know what gear to bring, or want advice on your favorite products, you provide the guidance we need to begin our journey outside of the store’s walls.

Thank you for being you.

You bring us together. Be it the local community or connecting us to outdoor enthusiasts across the globe. You work long hours putting on events, giving us advice, teaching new skills, keeping us safe on our journeys, and bringing together new friends.

Thank you for being you.

Signed,

The Atlas Snow-Shoe Company

We encourage everyone to shop local this holiday season. Your local Atlas dealers can be found on our homepage. These dealers are leaders in your outdoor community and we are proud to direct you to them for your purchase needs, customer service, advice, or just to have a community of like-minded enthusiasts. Happy shopping everyone!

 

 

History 101: Snowshoes

From our sister site, snowshoes.com

From Europe to North America to Asia, people began using snowshoes over 4,000 years ago out of a basic need to explore new territories and to find food in the winter. With vast regions of the world snowbound for much of the year, hunters looked to emulate successful winter travelers like the snowshoe hare, whose oversized feet enabled them to move quickly over deep snow. In areas like central Europe, historians have discovered snowshoe-like tools, with the use of large leather flats and round wooden blocks, but the traditional webbed snowshoe design was developed and thrived with Native Americans.

The great success of snowshoes for winter travel was first observed by European explorers with Northeastern tribes such as the Huron and Algonquin, which led subsequent trappers, hunters, and surveyors to adopt snowshoes as their own. Some of the earliest snowshoes were over 7 feet long which, though unwieldy, were helpful in navigating through very deep, powdery snow. Snowshoers looked to the naturally efficient design of animal paws and began modeling their snowshoes after animal prints they found in nature. The popular “beavertail” style had a round nose with the ends coming together in a long tail. The “bearpaw” was short and wide with a round tail, as its name implies. Both styles have had enormous influence on modern snowshoe design.

Snowshoes.com | Origin of Snowshoeing

While the length and width of snowshoes varied over the years, they were typically large, made with ash timber frames and untanned cowhide webbing. The cultural landscape shifted dramatically approaching the early 1900s, as cities grew and society shifted from farming to industrial culture. People who no longer had to trap or hunt for food began to take to the woods for pure enjoyment and exercise, and the recreational sport of snowshoeing was born. In places like Quebec, recreational clubs held races and hosted hikes for recreational snowshoers, and new designs helped expand the market. Snowshoes became more than simply utilitarian, and with recreational use they became appreciated as aesthetic objects and pinnacles of craft.

Snowshoes.com | Tubbs Snowshoes Factory, Maine

Manufacturers like Tubbs Snowshoes, established in 1906, seized on the shift to recreational winter sports, building skis and snowshoe designs. Later on, as they developed smaller snowshoes using traditional constructions like the revolutionary 1950s Green Mountain Bearpaw, they made winter walking easier for the growing population. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that snowshoe design would radically change again. With the burgeoning back to nature movement, backcountry explorers looked to snowshoes to travel deeper into the mountains. These new designs featured new materials like aluminum frames and nylon decks, with smaller sizes and cleats underfoot for use in mountaineering and more rugged terrain. The eventual products, led by companies like Sherpa Snowshoes, introduced the world to the “Western” style snowshoe.

Snowshoes.com | Modern Snowshoeing Alum-a-shoe

 

Eventually the Western style snowshoe construction became the norm, replacing traditional wood and rawhide constructions with smaller designs that offered equal flotation and better traction through solid decks and aluminum cleats. Those designs would be further refined in decades to come with introductions like Atlas Snow-Shoe Company’s revolutionary binding suspension system and dual toe and heel traction in 1990. With great advances in lighter, durable materials and more compact, athletic shapes, snowshoes spurred a renewed interest the sport, expanding it to new markets with backpackers, hikers, runners, families and more.

Snowshoes.com | Modern Snowshoeing Atlas 2006 Men's 12Series

Today, snowshoeing has never been more popular, with roughly 5.5 million participants in the United States alone. Easy, accessible snowshoes have opened up a whole new world of winter, from snowshoe trail centers at ski areas and local parks to quiet hiking trails and distant snow-capped peaks with incredible vistas. Snowshoeing has come a long way from its early designs and uses, but there’s never been a better time to explore winter.

Interested in the history of Atlas specifically? Read this post from earlier this year!