Josie from Ski Express recently went Snowshoeing at the Remarkables near Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island. Josie tells us about her half day adventure and thanks the sky above that 21st century snowshoes have come a long away since they were first made from twigs and rope!
As a keen skier and snowboarder – I love anything and everything to do with snow, so when I was offered the opportunity to join a half day Snowshoeing Discovery with Snowshoeing New Zealand – I jumped at the chance.
What is snowshoeing I hear you ask... Snowshoeing is simply walking through snowy conditions with the help of a snowshoes attached to your own footwear to prevent you from sinking through the snow. Snowshoeing has been around for thousands of years and has developed from a necessity for hunters and gathers back in the day - to a fun, active hobby for snow and outdoor lovers.
Our snowshoeing adventure began with a pick up from our accommodation and a 45 minute drive in heated comfort to the base building at the Remarkables Ski field. After stepping into the fresh alpine air, our small group of 3 plus our very entertaining guide and Snowshoeing New Zealand's Director – Pete, strapped on our snowshoes and started off on our journey.
The first few steps felt a bit strange – similar to a feeling of walking in flippers before you jump into the water - but after about 10 steps it felt completely normal. Our hike (with plenty of rest stops) took us up along the side of some of the ski runs – completely out of the way of the skiers and snowboarders, into the remote wilderness of the Remarkables and then on to a beautiful frozen Lake Alta.
After sitting down in a freshly-carved snow-seat made by trusty Pete - with a hot cup of coffee and biscuit, we sat “lakeside” and enjoyed the peace and stillness of the mountains – pure bliss. The 30 minute walk back down to the car was an easy one – all downhill with the sun shining and a perfect view down the valley. The trip took up half a day, but we would have only been walking for 2-3 hours in total.
Snowshoeing is great fun and suitable for everyone – if you can walk, you can snowshoe! It is a perfect way for non-skiers to experience the snow and explore the winter mountains of Queenstown. You don't need a high level of fitness – just a sense of adventure and a desire to make your own path. I joined a half day snowshoe discovery, but full day and privately guided adventures are also available.