Winters can be quite boring if spent at home, and if you’re looking for a fun and interesting outdoor sport to engage in, you should definitely explore the easy and affordable snowsports that are available. Cross country skiing and snowshoeing are both great options to chase away “winter blues.” This article helps you compare the two so you can decide on your personal preference.
What is the Difference Between Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing?
As the name suggests, snowshoeing involves two very important things: shoes and snow. Snowshoeing is essentially a kind of hiking in which the individual walks on piles of snow with special footwear. It is a sport founded 4000-6000 years ago and was originally a requirement for mountain survival.
Meanwhile, popular for being one of the healthiest sports, cross-country skiing is a gentler and more therapeutic form of a winter sport that you can engage in with your friends and family. You usually have poles on either hand, gliding on very narrow ‘skinny’ skis through flat runs and gentle slopes.
Required Equipment and Cost
Let’s now look at the complete breakdown of the equipment required for each of these enthralling winter sports, so you can have a better idea of which sport is ideal for you. The cost of required gear is also mentioned, in case you need a fair idea of what sport requires costly equipment.
Gear Required for Snowshoeing
If you are a beginner, snowshoeing is a better option for you amongst all three of these winter sports. This is because it is easier to learn and also requires less equipment. Overall, the gear required for snowshoeing is relatively less expensive as compared to cross-country skiing.
A good pair of snowshoes will cost you anywhere between $50 and $250. Hiking boots or snow shoes are essentially all that you will need for good snowshoeing, but you can also carry ski poles if you are hiking on more difficult terrain. Snowshoes strap to the feet so that they distribute the weight evenly and make walking on snowy hills easier.
Another great advantage of this sport is that snowshoes are lighter and easier to carry around, so if you’re traveling in an RV with a couple of family members or friends, you can easily carry these shoes around without any inconvenience. They are also more versatile on different kinds of terrains; whether it is snowy or dry ground, you can count on these shoes to be the perfect trekking partner.
Cross-Country Skiing Equipment
Among all three of these sports, cross-country skiing is considered to be more athletic and will give you a better workout. The right kind of equipment required for cross-country skiing, including Nordic skis, ski poles, or cross country ski boots, depends on the body of the skier as well as the technique chosen for skiing.
You should expect to spend around $600-$700 on average, but it depends on the kind of activity you’re going for. If it is just for recreational/enjoyment purposes, you can spend anywhere around $300-$800 and up to $3000 for top-of-the-line equipment for professional purposes.
Speed and Pace
Wondering the speed of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, and which of them is better as a recreational activity? Not sure which activity can be construed as a proper sport activity or mode of transport? Have a look.
Snowshoeing is Slower and More Recreational
Snowshoeing is an ideal activity for varied terrains, and snowshoes are a versatile pair of shoes. You do not need to worry about your shoes being stuck in debris or logs while hiking, as they are designed to provide efficiency while strolling in deep lumps of snow.
Moreover, snowshoeing is an ideal sport if you want to go to higher elevations and trek in the mountains, as the shoes often come with metal cleats to provide more balance and stability while walking in high altitudes. Also, these shoes allow you to change direction while trekking far quicker and more efficiently, which is a great feature if you want to stroll and explore.
However, if you compare it with cross-country skiing, then snowshoeing is relatively slower. This isn’t really a disadvantage if you’re the sort of person who likes to explore and stop while hiking to take in the scenery and enjoy the outdoors. Snowshoeing is definitely a more recreational and freestyle kind of sport enabling you to hike off the beaten path, and is a great hobby to adopt if you are a nature lover. For fitness freaks, sport snowshoeing is a means of aerobics, and they often sprint or run to get cardiovascular workouts.
Cross-Country Skiing is Faster and More Efficient
For workout fanatics and sports enthusiasts, cross-country skiing is a sport that provides a healthy full body workout and refreshes the mind. For beginner cross country skiers, the classical cross country skiing technique is more helpful and gentler, as it allows them to slowly build up confidence in skiing.
It is faster and more efficient in getting to places as compared to snowshoeing. This is because with the help of skis, you can pick up speed and glide through the groomed trails or if you opt for backcountry skiing, outside the ski area. However, cross-country skis are not very versatile and require smooth terrains to be able to fully enjoy the experience of skiing. This is because any debris or bumps can cause the skis to get stuck.
How Easy to Learn? Technique in a Nutshell
Willing to take on a new winter sport? This portion will give you an overview of the techniques and level of ease of snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. This will give you a better idea of which sport is more suitable for you.
Snowshoeing Is Easier
Snowshoeing is fairly easy to learn, as it does not involve a lot of technique or practice, but it is mostly a recreational sport to refresh the mind and body. With the right kind of shoes, you can instantly find yourself snowshoeing in the winter snow. However, if you want to pursue snowshoeing as a professional sport, you definitely need to practice hiking in rough terrains to get better at it.
If snowy areas excite you, then winters will be quite adventurous if you opt for snowshoeing. It is a great hobby to adopt and doesn’t require any experience. The sport itself is loved by experts, beginners, and sports enthusiasts worldwide.
Cross-Country Skiing Requires More Training
Cross country skiing definitely takes more time for the person to get comfortable with, as it requires more skill and training. The equipment requirement needed for this sports activity is also a lot, which is why it is mostly pursued by fitness fanatics or sports enthusiasts.
If you’re feeling the winter blues and want to charge up with a refreshing sport, this is the one we would recommend you to try. With snowy landscapes all around you, cross-skiing is definitely going to clear your mind and make you feel energized.
Staying fit can be a challenge, especially during winters, but with these outdoor activities, you can get the maximum workout.
Let’s take a look at the health benefits of each of these sports, including the amount of calories snowshoeing and cross country skiing burn per hour.
Burning Calories with Snowshoeing
If you opt for this sport, you can burn about 1000 calories per hour, which is a lot, considering it is mostly just freestyle walking in the snow. If you walk on flat terrain, you can burn about 370 calories in an hour, but if the terrain is packed with piles of snow, then you will exert more and burn around 450 calories in an hour. If you decide to go on a steeper hill packed with snow, you can burn 800-1000 calories.
Burning Calories with Cross-Country Skiing
Even as a beginner cross country skier, you can still achieve a high number of calories burned with this activity. Cross-country skiing is the most physically taxing sport of all the three mentioned, and depending on your body weight, you can burn about 1300 calories. On average, the sport can burn 1000 calories while working out your entire body. This sport provides a full-body workout and is refreshing to engage on a cold winter day.
Level of Exertion: Workout or Recreation?
Seeing the number of calories burned might make you believe that all three are workout sports. But is that really it? Let’s see:
Snowshoeing: This sport is usually a means of recreational activity, as there is not much skill required to do it. It requires exertion when the terrain is filled with snow piles, but on flat terrain, it is more like a refreshing walk to appreciate nature.
Cross-country Skiing: This is definitely a workout sport, as it requires skills, technique, and practice to be good at, and it also requires full-body strength, giving each part of your body a full workout.
When and Where to Practice?
If you are confused about where and when you should practice these sports, read on to find more details.
Snowshoeing: This activity can be practiced on any sort of terrain and is perfect for any winter spot with lots of snow. It is a versatile sport that is done to catch some fresh air and appreciate the surroundings.
Cross-country Skiing: This sport can only be practiced on smooth, steep slopes as skiing can only be done in a specific spot. For this activity, you need to find a park or mountain spot where sports enthusiasts practice, as bumpy terrains can be dangerous. It is the perfect winter sport, which is ideal for January/February.
Don’t Choose, Do Both!
If you are confused as to which sport to undertake, you don’t need to choose: you can do both. If you are going up a steep, snowy hill, you can use your snowshoes for a better experience and swap with cross-country skis to have a smoother and more convenient glide downhill or in flat terrain with deep snow. Either way, you can be guaranteed to have lots of fun and feel refreshed.
Stay safe and enjoy winter by warming up your body with these healthy and fun sport activities!