Snowshoeing Vs Cross-Country Skiing Vs Ski-Shoeing

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 snowy trails. You can indulge in various sports, including ski-shoeing, cross-country, skiing, and snowshoeing!

What is Snowshoeing?

As the name suggests, this sport 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.

winter snowshoeing

What is Cross-Country Skiing?

Popular for being one of the healthier 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 in the snow supported by your leg muscles.

What is Ski-shoeing?

Ski-shoeing is similar to snowshoeing, but it is easier and takes less energy as the shoes are designed for sliding, so you do not need to pick your feet up. It basically involves hybrid skis that were invented by Asian hunters long ago as a means to enjoying winter more conveniently.

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.


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 or ski-shoeing. However, if you are looking for a full experience, these are the must-take items for the trek:

  • Snowshoes
  • Food and water
  • Light Backpack
  • Wool socks
  • Gloves
  • Ski goggles and ski hat
  • A navigation tool such as GPS
  • Trekking poles (depending on the terrain)
  • Hiking boots (optional)

A good pair of snowshoes will cost you anywhere between $50 and $250. Hiking 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

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 this sport depends on the body of the skier as well as the technique chosen for skiing. However, the basic equipment needed for this sport is as follows:

  • Sunglasses
  • Drink belt (thermos for warm drinks out there)
  • A bandana or buff
  • A cross-country ski suit
  • A pair of cover pants and a jacket
  • A ski vest for all your essentials (phone, wallet, snacks, etc.)
  • Ski gloves for cross-skiing
  • Ski-hat

Snowshoeing Vs Cross-Country Skiing Vs Ski-shoeing

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.


A mix of both snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing, ski-shoeing is definitely an exhilarating winter experience for adventure-seekers. The gear you will need for this particular sport is a mix of the equipment used for snowshoeing and cross-country shoeing. However, ski shoes are easier to use and do not require a lot of high-end or specialized gear. You can use regular ski poles for balance while trekking or skiing, and ski shoes can be used with many flexible sole boots.

Again, the cost for the equipment needed varies, depending on the kind of gear you require. For beginners, it should not cost more than $500, while for medium-range equipment, the cost would range around $800-$1000. High-end equipment costs about $1500-$2500.

What’s Your Pace?

Wondering the speed of each of these winter sports, 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 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 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

For workout fanatics and sports enthusiasts, cross-country skiing is a sport that provides a healthy workout for the full body and refreshes the mind. For beginners, the classical 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, as with the help of skis, you can pick up speed and glide through the smooth terrains. 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.

Moreover, the equipment needed for this particular sport is more expensive, and recreational sports enthusiasts prefer a lighter, more freestyle activity.


Ski-shoeing comes midway between cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in terms of speed. It is much faster as compared to snowshoeing, as you do not have to lift or pick up your feet from the pile of snow each time you walk, but you can rather push or slide the snow. However, it is not as fast as skiing, as you cannot glide down the terrains with this sport.

Moreover, while ski-shoes do get traction when moving up to higher altitudes, they do not function as efficiently as snowshoes. With a few compromises, you can definitely enjoy ski-shoeing. Winters can be much more fun with this enthralling sport.

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, cross-country skiing, and ski-shoeing. This will give you a better idea of which sport is more suitable for you.


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

This sport 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.


Ski-shoeing is a sport that is not very difficult to learn, but it comes with its own set of drawbacks. Ski shoes may not provide the same stability as snowshoes on steeper hills, which can be hard to maneuver, but they are relatively easy to use in flat terrains as they glide easily.

Ski-shoes are best for individuals who enjoy winter trekking and hiking, as they provide you with a unique approach to walking: faster than if you would snowshoe, but more flexible than skiing. Rather than pulling your feet out of the snow like you would with a snowshoe, ski-shoeing involves sliding or pushing the shoe forward to keep moving.

Health Benefits

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 calories they burn.


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.

Cross-country Skiing

Despite being a beginner at this sport, 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 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.


Since this sport is an amalgamation of both snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, the total calories burned depend on the terrain and the steepness of the hill. If you are coming downhill, you can expect to burn only around 200 calories, while going up can help you burn 500 calories. Overall, you can expect to burn up to 1000-1200 calories per hour while ski-shoeing.

ski shoeing

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.

Ski-shoeing: This sport can be both: a workout and recreation, depending on the terrain as well as the nature of your adventure. If you go hiking, you can expect to work out more, whereas, on flat terrains, it is considered to be a recreational activity.

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.

Ski-shoeing: This sport can also be done anywhere, depending on the nature and intensity of the activity. Most people ski-shoe in the woods or in the open snow terrains during the winter months of January and 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 ski-shoes to have a smoother and more convenient stroll in flat terrain with deep snow. Either way, you can be guaranteed to have lots of fun and feel refreshed.


Hopefully, this article was helpful in determining the differences between the three sports and which one to choose for your next winter outing with friends. Stay safe and enjoy the cold winters by warming up your body with these healthy and fun sports activities!