Category Archives: Team Post

National Trails Day is Coming!


Photo credit: adventure

June 3, 2017 marks the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day. You might be asking, why does a snowshoe company care about a trails celebration when there’s no snow?

Well, we’re so glad you asked! It’s because we’re not just here to talk snowshoes, we’re here to encourage everyone to get outside, get active, and explore their surroundings. The outdoor community is, let’s face it, an awesome one. But, there are people who just don’t have the resources to get out and take on new adventures. We want to encourage newbies and experienced explorers to get out as much as possible, get healthy, involve their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Snowshoeing is a great way to stay active in the winter, and is friendly to all ages and athletic levels, but there’s  also a lot to do once the snow melts.

We asked our Atlas athletes to share their favorite trails and tips. Sarah McMahan and her family have an incredible place to explore all year long. Here’s what she shared with us:

The reason we live where we live (in Lake Tahoe, elevation 7,500ft) is there are trails abound!  Year round, we can head out straight from our front door to run, bike, or snowshoe.  And our goal is always to climb, high above the trees, to soak up the views.

In Tahoe, we love the Incline Flume and Rim trail, which is great for our whole family- 3 boys ages 6 and twins 11.

Just about every vacation we go on we explore trails, and climb our way to bliss.

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family bikes

Feeling inspired? Check out the American Hiking Society’s website to see how you can get involved in National Trails Day.

Getting out on your own? Share your photos and stories with us @atlassnowshoes to keep the inspiration rolling!

The Most Underrated Winter Endurance Sport


Atlas Team Member Karen Melliar-Smith

Over the river and through the woods….Thanks to Beaver Creek for once again putting on a great snowshoe race, which has to be the most underrated winter endurance sport. And to Atlas Snowshoe Co. for engineering some great running snowshoes, I am sure I test them to their limits.




Atlas Adventure Team Member Matt Novak

I’ll admit it here: I’ve never liked winter (GASP!). For my adult-life anyways, I’ve never liked winter. Without the proper gear and a serious physical bend for S.A.D. It just never struck me as a season that was particularly cheery. Here’s the great irony in all of this: I realized that my anti-winter attitude was more about not being able to get outside than anything else, so once I discovered snowshoeing, I actually, dare I say it, might love winter. Still not seeing the irony? Well 2015/2016 happens to be an unusually strong el Nino year and if you live in the North-East like me then you’ll know we’ve had about as much snow as they typically get in Georgia. See it now? The winter fairies are laughing at me… no snow. The thing I’ve waited for for months now.

All that changed last week as Winter Storm Jonas came barreling up the Eastern Seaboard and wouldn’t you know it, the Hudson Valley was about to get HAMMERED. I messaged my friend Lawrence and gave very clear, short directions. “BIG SNOW. HIKING FROM MY HOUSE FRI @ 3P. BRING SNOWSHOES.” He listened well enough and rolled up to my house at 2:30 with dog in tow and some grass fed beef for the fire.

We hiked out, shoes on our packs because there wasn’t a flake on the ground yet but the atmosphere felt dense with promise. And it was there, that we plopped down on the outskirts of a half frozen reservoir and began the wait.

Forecast called for first flakes at 11PM with high winds, big drifts and snowfall rating about an inch an hour. and that’s what I kept repeating to myself as I sat by the fire and waited.

11PM – Nothing

12PM – Nothing

Finally I slept; dejected; knowing there would be no snow. It must’ve been one of those typical nor’easters: easily drifting out to see as they woudl dump two feet of snow.

But when I woke up, not true. Winter wonderland had come. Enough to make fresh track for days and make this guy pretty stoked to have decided he didn’t hate Winter after all.















Winter Fitness


Atlas Team Member John Tribbia shares how to accept winter weather in your running routine, and why snowshoeing is great off-season cross-training.

Uncertain footing in snow and ice can discourage the dedicated endurance athlete, even a member of the Atlas Race Team like myself, from running during the winter. When it gets ugly underfoot, it’s all too easy to just give and go to the gym and get on the treadmill. But if you’re looking to get your fix of fresh air and sunshine, along with a great workout, snowshoe running might be the ticket. Snowshoe running is a fast-growing sport in the US, offering a safe, low-impact alternative to running on trails, giving you a new way to build strength and fitness during the winter months.

Interested? Here are a few basic tips on how to get started:


Running snowshoes differ from trekking/hiking snowshoes in three ways. First, they have spring-loaded bindings. Your cadence and footplant are slowed down significantly when running on a very soft surface like snow, and this is exaggerated with the added bulk of a snowshoe. Spring-loaded bindings help provide a quicker return when you push off the soft ground.

Second, running snowshoes have narrower frames to enable you to run with a more natural stride, instead of forcing you into an awkward waddle. Thirdly, they are constructed with lighter materials to lessen fatigue. Running in snowshoes uphill, in soft snow, or at altitude will tire you out more than any workout you’ve probably ever done, and the lightweight materials of running shoes do actually make a big difference.


Don’t overdress. The weather outside might be frightful, but running in snowshoes kicks your internal thermostat into high gear. Like running in sand, running in snow is a lot more work, and you’re going to sweat. Light, wicking underlayers and breathable outer layers (with ventilation options if you’re going with a hard shell) are key.

In addition, keep in mind that most snowshoes kick up snow on your backside. With your body temperature rising as you run longer, the snow being kicked up on you will melt and surely turn you into a soggy mess. For that reason, waterproof or at least water-resistant outer layers are key. Avoid back pockets or hoods, which fill up with flying snow from your stride.

On your feet, you’ll want either a light hiker or a running shoe, preferably with waterproof or weather-resistant protection. Gaiters come in very handy to keep the snow out of your shoes; an overbootie is not a bad idea if your shoes aren’t very waterproof. Wool or wool-blend socks (ski socks) are ideal because wool can still keep you warm, even when wet. If it’s sunny, sunglasses are a must to protect your eyes from the reflection off the snow.


Start at home. Practice putting your snowshoes on and taking them off; the last thing you want is to be in a cold trailhead parking lot and not know how to work your bindings. Your run will not go well if your snowshoes are flopping around, so make sure in advance that the bindings work well with the shoes that you’re planning on wearing. You can also walk around on carpet or outside to get a feel for what it is like to move with snowshoes. For your first run, start small. Try something short, mellow and close to home—a groomed or packed trail is ideal.

Once you’re ready to venture out, most Nordic centers allow snowshoes, some parks and forest-service areas have trails that are groomed; the Northeast is known for having well-maintained snowmobile trails to run on. You should also check out to find snowshoeing trails near your home or vacation spot.


Organize a group snowshoe run with friends, find a local running shoe store that is hosting group snowshoe runs, or hop in a race. There is a wide selection of races, mostly 5K and 10K distance, across the U.S. To locate a race near you, check out the following resources:

United States Snowshoe Association

Atlas Beaver Creek Snowshoe Race Series

Pedal Power, Vail Series

Athlete Anticipation


Atlas Team Member Sarah McMahan talks about the excitement for the coming season after an ankle injury and disappointing snow last year.

The word on the street in Lake Tahoe is this year we are expecting and El Nino winter. Since I believe in the power of positive thought, I’m planning for lots of snow and finally some snowshoe races in our area.  2014 was quite disappointing — most nordic centers didn’t even open, trails were bare, and snowshoe races cancelled. We felt confined to climbing ski slopes on man made snow before the sun came up and the resorts opened.

I’m especially excited to get my winter running on after sitting out all summer with an ankle injury. I love to grab my snowshoes and head up to our local Mt. Rose meadows for a run. Choose from packed down popular routes, flat loops, peaks to climb, or bomb off trail in deep snow for a real leg burner. I don’t keep track of my time or distance – just go. (OK I do peek at my watch when I’m all done just to see.)

 Let it snow!!!


Running: Snow or Shine


Atlas Team Member Sage Canaday talks about the importance of Consistency in Cross-Training across seasons.

Most of the year (when I’m not on trails in my Atlas snowshoes) I’m a MUT Runner. “MUT” stands for Mountain-Ultra-Trail and it encompasses all the types of distance runs and races that I do. The spectrum of MUT Running could include anything from a tame dirt trail 5km to 10km race, 100-miles on a synthetic track, or a 25km technical ascent up and down a 14,000’ mountain. Aside from short distance sprints or very short road races, the MUT category of distance running pretty much covers it all!

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I’ve found over my years of running track in college as well as marathons on the road as a post-collegiate that long periods of aerobic exercise pay dividends when it comes to an activity like snowshoeing or even climbing a mountain. However, after going full-time into MUT Running 3 years ago, my body has seemingly adapted new characteristics to tackle variable terrain and steep mountain slopes. The lateral movements required to dodge around rocks and turns on trails as well as the quad pounding descents off mountain tops have transformed my legs. The constant challenge and new variety of running events in MUT has taught me that changing variables in training can invigorate both the mind and body to perform better at all endurance activities. For example here are some lessons I’ve learned:

1. Running hills builds strength and speed (as well as lung power) that can help your flat running pace as well.

2. The key to transitioning from road running to trail/mountain running is to work on becoming more efficient on variable terrain. Specific training yields specific results (i.e. work on hills and technical trails if that is what you want to excel at).

3. Variety is the spice of life…and endurance sport (however, the self discipline and perseverance to accomplish and master a specific task is a noble endeavor to pursue as well).

4. Find “flow” in the mental/physical activities that you want to master (“flow” is basically like being “in the zone” and totally consumed by the challenge of an activity. I highly suggest the book “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).

5. Always keep an element of fun in your training and racing!

Mt. Washington, New Hampshire


A trip report from Atlas Team Member Jesse Cole.

December 21st is the official first day of winter credit for the 46 of the Adirondacks.  Since my friend Luc and I still had one week before we could start bagging winter summits again, we decided to tackle the highest peak in the east.  Mt Washington  a.k.a  The Rock Pile at 6,228 feet can be a serious climb if the weather is not in your favor. The fastest wind speed record on earth was recorded there at 231 mph in 1934. We decided to take the Lion Head trail on the Tuckerman Ravine side of the mountain.  Three feet of snow had fallen days earlier, making the ravine avalanche prone.

We had a rather easy snowshoe to the base of the ravine since the trail had been broken in from the day before. As we approached the tree line, conditions became icy. We switched to crampons and ice axes for safety.  On the way up to the tree line we had gorgeous blue skies with low rolling clouds.  I was certain that we would have great views at the summit.  By the time we got our crampons on and made our way up the Lions Head, our clear skies and views were all but gone.  Thick clouds had rolled in and the wind had died down considerably.  The last mile to the summit was discouraging to say the least.  We were only able to only see the next cairn and no farther.  Just before we reached the last cairn, we put on our balaclavas and googles so as to not get wind burn. The research center was covered in thick rime ice along with any other man made surface at the summit.

Once our summit sign photos were done, we headed back down the same way we came up. About a mile back down the mountain I started to see the clouds part so I convinced Luc to wait and see if it would clear out for us. No more than five minutes of waiting and we got what we were looking for.


It felt like we were on another planet.  For the rest of the way down,  it got clearer and clearer allowing us to get some terrific shots.  Once we hit the Lions Head again I took some final shots and said goodbye to a great climb.

Snowshoe Fantasy Gear

Snowshoe Tracks

While the sport of snowshoeing continues to gain momentum, it has yet to gain any substantial support from apparel and outdoor accessory manufacturers. Unlike bikers, runners, skiers, hikers, and even the likes of bowlers and golfers, we snowshoers have been left out in the cold to fend for ourselves by wearing clothes and equipment that was designed for those pursuing other disciplines. It is time for this state of sorry affairs to change.

The purpose of this article is to stimulate the outdoor manufacturing industry to address the fastest growing winter sport by giving snowshoeing the care and specific attention it deserves. The following “fantasy” ideas represent only a handful of the many snowshoe-specific products that should be available for those of us who are passionate about tromping on the white stuff. Please, manufacturers, make our dreams come true and share in the benefits (and profits) that our sport has to offer!

Wet-Butt Proof Pants

Who will pioneer the first snowshoe-specific pant by creating breaches that put a halt to “wet-butt syndrome,” a phenomenon caused by the snow one kicks up on one’s derriere while snowshoeing? The design idea is essentially the reverse of cold or wet weather biking tights. The backside would be waterproof. A heavy-duty lamination or more technical treatment, such as Gore-Tex, would not be necessary unless the pants were to be used in really slushy conditions. So long as the pants are used in temperatures at or above freezing, a microfiber or treated nylon fabric would be sufficient and cost effective.

To continue the reverse bicycle pant concept, instead of putting Lycra or some other stretchy material in back, that resilient fabric would be placed in the front to allow for greater flexion that snowshoeing demands of one’s knees and thighs. To finish things off, the pockets would zip shut to prevent snow from entering and melting, and the cuffs would be snug or have stirrups for the same reason.

Built-in Gaiters

Gaiters are often a requisite piece of equipment for snowshoeing. However, they do not often work as well as one would like and are prone to slipping down on the calves or coming unattached to a boot or shoe. They are also a bit cumbersome to don and even more trouble to remove when one’s fingers are numb.

The solution to the gaiter problem is to incorporate them into the wet-butt proof pants discussed above or into snowshoe-compatible shoes, discussed below. Nike tried to build a winter cross training shoe with its own zippered gaiter-like cover. Unfortunately, the gaiter zipper was placed directly over the lacing and had an uncanny tendency to burst asunder from the pressure of the instep flex. Needless to say, that shoe, the Air Mavsa, was only on the market for a single season. A strategically placed side-zip would do the trick and save us from having to deal with the gaiter predicament.


Although the idea for this came out of some winter bike rides and a yearning for the perfect hat to wear under a helmet, it crosses over to the snowshoe context very well, especially when there is blowing snow. The Tech-Beanie would be a three-panel headpiece constructed to fit close to the head. The first panel is a wind-proof crown that would block out any cold gusts and protect your forehead from flying frost. The second panel is a light, wicking and stretchable fabric for the back and top of the head to transfer and release the vast amounts of perspiration that escapes through the scalp. The third panel is a stretchy, wind-proof and water-resistant material that would wrap around the ears to give the beanie a snug fit and protect your lobes from frostbite.

The Tech-Beanie would also feature buttonhole slits on the side panels for sunglasses to slip through without pushing the cap away from your head or allowing the cold to nip at your ears. A final option would be a ponytail port with a built-in scrunchy for those with longer hair.


One of the hottest gear-intensive sports of the day is cyclocross. For those that have witnessed this exciting and grueling spin on bicycle racing that often takes place on muddy, if not snowy, courses, you may have noticed the racers wearing some pretty rad eyewear to shield their eyes from the mud thrown from riders ahead. Snowshoers can benefit from the advances made in cyclocross shades.

Goggles tend to be too heavy for snowshoeing and are prone to fogging up from exertion. Sunglasses are often too dark and do not cover enough of your face to protect from flying snow from fellow snowshoers or gusty winter winds. A hybrid of goggles/glasses with clear or slightly tinted lenses would be an ideal combination. Preferably, the spectacles would come with different colors of lenses so you could choose the right tint for the conditions.


I have learned a lot from my one-year-old son. One thing is that diapers are pretty awesome (when they don’t need changing). Ignoring the intended purpose of diapers for little ones — that is, to absorb or, at least, contain matter produced from an interior source — they also serve as terrific protectors from exterior sources. How many times have you wished you had a pair of diapers on when you fell right on your rump?

Applying the wrap-and-snap qualities of a diaper to the snowshoeing apparel context, the idea is to have an extended jacket tail that flaps around the back, between the legs, and attaches to the front of the torso. Not to belabor the wet-butt syndrome point, but the result of this wrap-around piece would be ample protection from the elements with minimal bulk or restriction of movement. Fencers wear something akin to this diaper-jacket and maintain their nimbleness without mimicking my son’s waddle-like steps.

Snowshoe Shoes

It has happened to skiing, snowboarding, and bicycling. That is, the replacement of generalized footwear with specific, more energy efficient, sport-specific shoes. Is snowshoeing next? While some footwear manufacturers have recognized the growth in the sport of snowshoeing by producing snowshoe compatible shoes, those shoes and boots are nonetheless multipurpose and lack the specificity that might take snowshoeing to the next level.

True snowshoeshoes would take advantage to step-in, strapless technology that concentrates the foot’s energy to the ball of the foot and distributes that step energy into the snowshoe frame or body without any efficiency loss. Those that have witnessed the effectiveness of clipless or SPD bicycle cleats and observed the stark contrast between such shoes and traditional toe-clip pedals will vouch for the direct attachment method.

Simple, efficient, easy-of-use, and lighter in weight, a strapless step-in system offers tremendous improvement over current binding methods. The snowshoe-specific shoes could also be modified to be stiff in ergonomically-correct places. To achieve that goal, manufacturers would first need to adapt the shoes to the step-in system by performing kinesiological studies on the foot strike of a snowshoer. The shoes should be water-resistant yet breathable, warm, and feature simple, built-in gaiters and Velcro or some form of fastening other than laces, which are difficult to use when either they or your digits are frozen.

Suck-a-Thumb and “Drac Pack”* Fuel Systems
* Drac Pack idea courtesy of Bill Perkins and Darrin Eisman

Now we are off of the diaper topic and have advanced to thumb sucking! How about a gel dispenser built into the thumb of a mitten or glove? Quick and easy, there would not even be wrappers to drop on the snow (and pick up to avoid littering). What is more, the motion and behavior is a natural one that is learned at a young age.

On a larger and more sophisticated scale, the “Drac Pack” fuel system would be a closed loop feeding apparatus with a lead and a feed that are both inserted into your jugular vein (i.e., the “jug plugs”). The lead would be hooked to a microchip that would be programmed to detect drops in your optimal glucose, hydration, and electrolyte levels. If the level should drop below a pre-set amount, the lead would trigger the feed to inject the relevant fluid from a back-mounted system of reservoirs. The Drac Pack would run off of batteries that are recharged through kinetic energy and the reservoir would be insulated so the unit would function under all weather conditions.

-Adam Chase (Atlas Team Captain)