What is Skishoeing?
Many people claim that you can’t have the best of both worlds. I say that is relative to your intent. Skishoeing, like many other engaging outdoor activities, such as alpine touring or kite boarding, is a combination of two winter disciplines: skiing and snowshoeing. I know that this is just stating the obvious. The real thought I want to consider however, is “why do it?” We know that quite often, when two things are combined, it results in something truly wonderful (bacon maple bars) or a heightened awareness of the downfalls of each (the El Camino). I would argue that skishoeing, when applied with the proper intent, presents a spectacular opportunity to experience a broader reach than would be accessible by either activity alone.
Skishoes come in a variety of styles and options. This is due to both the long history of this style of winter travel along with the insurgence of new products hitting the recreational market. The Hok from Altai Skis (https://altaiskis.com/) comprises all the technology of today’s marketplace with the inspiration from the birthplace of skiing. These short, fat skis are built with an integrated skin on the bottom which allows you to walk/glide forward with enough backward traction to allow uphill travel.
As with any product, there is a learning curve to the best technique. This learning curve however I believe is one of the great upsides to skishoeing. While traditional Nordic skiing can be intimidating to master, the gentle walking motion of the snowshoeing component makes it much more approachable for many. The wide stability of the ski underfoot is more comfortable as well for all levels of coordination and balance. From a ski standpoint, the short length and metal edges make maneuvering on the typically gentle slopes manageable. Don’t get me wrong, there will probably be a few spills in the beginning. Every kids falls off this bike at first too, but the consequences of a topple in the snow are often more silly than harmful.
The expense of getting involved are considerably lower than many other activities. With just a pair of skis and poles (or even a long stick, called a tiak) you can trek out into the beautiful winter wonderlands or tour your local parks without the cost of expensive boots or passes. Rentals are becoming more available at local outdoor shops as well.
I see skishoeing as a great entry activity for families and those new to outdoor winter recreation.