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  599 Tahoe Keys Blvd. South Lake Tahoe CA 96150  (530) 544-5397
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Lake Tahoe Snowshoeing


Lake Tahoe Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is enjoying increasing popularity in snowy areas, mainly because it is so easy to learn and lots of fun. There are many fine ski areas in the Lake Tahoe Basin that welcome snowshoers. Most of the ski resorts listed on this page offer equipment rentals on-site, so you can try out the latest high-tech snowshoes and get a sense of the sport in a single sunny day.

Snowshoeing is a wonderful way to enjoy the snow, whether you venture out with friends, family or solo. Try out a variety of terrains to find the ones that appeal to your sense of adventure. Many skiers and snowboarders are discovering that snowshoeing is a great way to reach challenging terrain independent of ski lifts.  

If your are interested in learning more about snowshoeing, read on, or just click to the snowshoe entries for snowshoeing options in Lake Tahoe.



Lake Tahoe Snowshoeing

A Brief History of Snowshoeing

From Europe to North America to Asia, people began using snowshoes over 3,000 years ago out of a basic need to find food and explore new territories in the wintertime.

Snowshoers looked to the naturally efficient design of animal paws and began modeling their snowshoes after animal prints they found in nature. Some early styles like the beavertail and bearpaw are still in use today.

Some of the earliest snowshoes were over seven feet long which, though unwieldy, were helpful in navigating through very deep powdery snow.

As cities grew and society shifted from a farming to an industrial culture, people who no longer had to trap, hunt or forage for food took to the woods for pure enjoyment. The recreational sport of snowshoeing was born!

Large sporting organizations formed in Northern New England and Eastern Canada to enjoy this new winter activity. Some legendary snowshoeing clubs of Canada's Quebec Province had over 200 members and were known for wearing flamboyant costumes on their outings. Others set out with their own drum and bugle corps and special club flags and banner.

While the length and width of snowshoes varied over the years, they were typically made with ash timber frames and untanned cowhide webbing.

It was not  until the 1970s that metal alloy frames and solid fabric decking were introduced, once again revolutionizing the sport. Modern designs also include features like spring-loaded bindings and heel cleats, making them even more efficient and easy to use.

Snowshoe advancements have spurred a renewed interest in the sport, with new organizations and events that carry on the rich snowshoeing traditions of the past.


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Tips and Tricks for Snowshoers

To ascend a slope kick the front of your snowshoe into the snow and press down to compact it into a step. Make sure that each new step is sufficiently above the last one to avoid collapse.

Heel cleats are the key to an easy descent. Keep your knees slightly bent, lean back and  keep your weight on the heel cleats to maintain control.

The best way to traverse a slope is to kick the side of the snowshoe into the hillside, engaging the cleats. Swing your heel hard towards the uphill slope, then stomp down, securing the snowshoe edge in the slope. Poles are also helpful.

Breaking Trail
When snowshoeing in a group, walk in a single line behind the leader who is breaking the trail. When it is your turn to lead, take consistent, even steps that are easy for everyone to follow.


Safety Tips for Snowshoers

Check with the local weather service before you head out. Conditions can sometimes change abruptly.

Make sure someone knows where you will be snowshoeing and your expected time of return, even if you are not going alone.

When snowshoeing with a group, make sure everyone is comfortable with the pace and demands of the trail. Count the number of people in your group before you leave and make sure everyone in the group knows this number. Stop every 30 minutes to allow everyone in the group to catch up.

Know your limits and don't surpass them!




Clothing Tips for Snowshoers

On Your Body
Think in layers!The first layer of clothing should be lightweight and breathable. You should avoid cotton garments. The Second layer should be insulating. Lightweight fleece or wool is ideal. The outer layer should be waterproof.

On Your Feet
Your number one objective is to keep your feet dry! Wear socks made from moisture wicking materials like wool, silk or polypropylene. Your boots should be stable and comfortable. Waterproof hiking boots are your best bet. Gaiters are essential for keeping snow out of your shoes.

Supply Tips for Snowshoers

Essential Supplies
It is a good idea to take along a few things that always come in handy when you are out on a snowshoeing adventure. Be sure and have plenty of water. Plan for one quart per person, per hour. Take extra food or energy bars. Carry a compass and a trail map and know how to use them.  And pack a first aid kit.

Handy Tools
Snowshoe poles will help to keep you stable and to propel you forward. If you are a serious adventurer or mountaineer, an ice axe is absolutely necessary when crossing steep and icy terrain.

Copyright © 1998 Atlas Snow-Shoe Company. All Rights Reserved.

Atlas Snow-Shoe Company
The Lake Tahoe Vacation Guide would like to thank the Atlas Snow-Shoe Company for providing all the great information and pictures for our snowshoeing section. Founded in 1990, the company's simple mission was to revolutionize snowshoeing by building a better snowshoe.

Mission accomplished!

If you enjoy snowshoeing, or would like to learn more about the sport and equipment, contact the Atlas Snow-Shoe Company and request a copy of the official "Atlas Snowshoe Handbook" and product information.

Atlas Snow-Shoe Company
1830 Harrison Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

  800-645-7463 (U.S.)



Snowshoeing at Alpine Meadows

Snowshoeing at Alpine Meadows
Snowshoers are welcome at Alpine Meadows. As a partnership with the Tahoe National Forest Service, Alpine offers marked trails that begin near the lodge and meander through the old-growth forests around the base of the mountain. Atlas snowshoe rentals are available on-site. Visit the SKIING section of this site for more information about Alpine Meadows.

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort
2600 Alpine Meadows Road
Tahoe City

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Visit the WHERE TO PLAY main menu for information about other Alpine Meadows activities: Skiing, Snowboarding.


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Snowshoeing at Historic Camp Richardson
The Mountain Sports Center cross-country ski area is located at Historic Camp Richardson Resort, nestled amongst the majestic pines along the shores of South Lake Tahoe on the way to Emerald Bay. The Mountain Sports Center offers 35 kilometers of terrain for all skill levels with 20 kilometers of groomed trails, 10 kilometers of skating lanes and marked snowshoe trails that have beautiful lake views. You can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing along the shoreline of Lake Tahoe. And, kids ages 12 and under get a free trail pass! The Mountain Sports Center offers the largest selection of snowshoe rentals in Tahoe. Cross-country skis and telemark skis are also rented. Snowshoe and ski lessons are available. The Mountain Sports Center is open daily between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., weather permitting.

Mountain Sports Center
Historic Camp Richardson Resort
1900 Jameson Beach Road
SR 89, 2 miles north of the "Y"
South Lake Tahoe


Snowshoeing at Kirkwood
Snowshoeing is a great alternative to cross-county skiing. It is a relaxing way to enjoy a winter outdoor adventure that provides a means of traveling in the winter environment. You can climb steep hillsides without the worry of sliding backwards and you can get down hills easily without the learning process necessary on skis. At Kirkwood you can snowshoe on all 80 kilometers of the cross-country trail system, and the entire mountain! Several brands and models of the new high-tech snowshoes are available for rent at the Cross Country Center. Visit the SKIING section of this site for more information about Kirkwood.

Kirkwood Ski & Summer Resort
SR 88 between Silver Lake and Caples Lake

Cross Country Center

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Visit the WHERE TO PLAY main menu for information about other Kirkwood activities: Bike Riding, Day Care, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Rock Climbing, Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross-Country Skiing, Sleigh Rides, Tennis.


Snowshoeing at Northstar-at-Tahoe
Enjoy traveling in the winter snow without learning the skills of skiing. Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the serenity and beauty of the forest. At Northstar you can snowshoe on all 65 kilometers of the cross-country trail system and the entire mountain!  You can rent snowshoes at the Cross-Country Center and enjoy lunch at the Nordic Cafe. Visit the SKIING section of this site for more information about Northstar.

SR 267 at Northstar Drive

Cross-Country Center

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Visit the WHERE TO PLAY main menu for information about other Northstar-at-Tahoe activities: Climbing Wall and Ropes, Day Care, Golf, Hiking, Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross-Country Skiing, Snowmobiling Tours, Tubing.


top space Snowshoeing at Royal Gorge
Royal Gorge is North America's largest cross-country ski resort. Royal Gorge offers snowshoers an extensive network of cross-country skiing trails. The track system is comprised of 90 groomed trails that meander for 330 kilometers through some of the prettiest scenery in the Sierra. Snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the sun and snow without having to learn the skills of skiing. Rent some snowshoes at the resort and explore this winter wilderness with friends or solo. Visit the SKIING section of this site for more information about Royal Gorge.

Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort
9411 Hillside Drive
I-80 to Soda Springs/Norden Exit
Soda Springs

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Snowshoeing at Sierra at Tahoe
Sierra-at-Tahoe maintains three miles of groomed snowshoe trails that wind through scenic hideaways and pristine alpine terrain. Interpretive signs lining the trail system explain wildlife and other interesting facts about the Sierra Nevada mountains. Snowshoe rentals are available for $15 per two hours.

1111 Sierra-at-Tahoe Road
Twin Bridges, CA  95735

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Snowshoeing at Squaw Valley

The Squaw Creek Cross-Country Ski Center offers 18 groomed kilometers spanning over 400 acres of gentle cross-country terrain. These superbly maintained trails wind through the spectacular Squaw Valley meadow, offering snowshoers a very special experience. Call for information regarding times, ticket prices and on-site snowshoe rentals. Visit the SKIING section of this site for more information about Squaw Valley USA.

Cross-Country Center
Resort at Squaw Creek
400 Squaw Creek Road
Olympic Valley

Squaw Creek Sport Shop
  530-583-6300 x 6936

Visit the RECREATION menu tab for information about other Squaw Valley activities: Aerial Cable Car, Bungee Jumping, Challenge Ropes Course, Climbing Wall, Day Care, Hiking/Winter, Hiking/Summer, Ice Skating, Mountain Biking, Olympic Museum, Skiing, Snowboarding, Cross-Country Skiing, Swimming, Tennis, Tubing.


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