Thursday, December 16, 2010
This post marks a new stage in my gear posts... It's the first piece of gear I'm writing about that I don't actually own.  Yet.  So far, my top choices for residency would be in places I can snowshoe... so they may be getting added to the "gear I own" list eventually.  But as of right now, they were just a rental.  That doesn't mean I can't review them!  So here it goes!

While I was in the northwest last week, I wanted to do something winter-esque... to celebrate the fact that I was near big mountains and snow.  I thought about skiing.  I've only been once, and it's something I'd love to learn and become good at, but the likelihood of me injuring myself is high, and I didn't want to get quite such a close look at how the ER at OHSU worked, so I decided that snowshoeing might be a better idea!  It's a better way to see the sights, and I figured the chance of breaking a leg was lower. 

We headed up to Government Camp near the base of Mount Hood, and rented (for $10 a pop), these Tubbs Venture 21 snowshoes. 
In the grand scheme of snowshoe quality, these fall in the middle to upper end of the Tubbs series.  They are made for day hiking, rolling hills with some terrain, but don't have the aggressive traction of the mountaineering version.  Which was okay, because were weren't (supposed to be) going mountaineering.

The sizing is based on weight, not shoe size or anything like that, so if you're looking to buy or rent a pair, make sure you (and all the stuff you are carrying!), fall within the weight range, or you will sink and have less fun. 

So, we strapped these bad boys on and jumped onto 4 feet of mountain snow.  They were super easy to get into, and not as cumbersome to walk in as I expected they might be.  I imagine the engineering has come a long way since bent sticks and rabbit fur... 

They were excellent in the flats and rolling hills.  Traction comes from toe and heal spikes, and a couple on the sides.  For most of our hike, they provided PLENTY of traction.  And there was lots of time to take in the beautiful snowy scenery!

The only place we had problems was heading up this steep little gem... in the new falling snow.  Oh, and when we tried to follow some power lines back down to the water, until we discovered a cliff. 

 The uphill was okay, but the downhill was a little tricky!  I'd say the mountaineering version would have made this descent a little more stable, but these worked out fine in the end.  If you were going to be climbing LOTS of mountains, the upgrade would be worth it.  But for most stuff, I think that the Venture series provides enough traction, plenty of sink-prevention (yes, that's the technical term), and they are light enough that you don't really notice any added weight.  If the tracks they made were any shallower, we would have had nothing to follow back out of the woods, and might still be there...  The snow was coming down!

When we got back to the car, with frozen hands, they snowshoes were super-easy to pop off.  We chucked them in the trunk and returned them wet and dirty, so I can't tell you how they'd be to clear or maintain, but they were great for the day!

If (and when?) I were going to invest in my own pair of snowshoes, these would certainly make the short list of options!  As with many other things that you rely on to get you out of the woods safe, I would recommend against getting an inexpensive off brand pair.  The last thing you want is to break a shoe in 5 feet of powder in the woods in the cold while the sun it setting....  That being said, I think the mountaineering version is a step above what I might need... although I do like to be prepared in case I become more brave and upgrade my adventures to the stupid level.  I think I'm too afraid of avalanches to do that though.

All said, these rocked for our day trip.  Because the folks who rent these invest about $189 (list price) in each pair, and rent them for $10, I imagine they have some pretty decent longevity.  I can't personally speak to that as I only used them once. 

The good thing is, they are cheap to rent, so if you want to try it out, JUST DO IT!  It's super fun.  You'll want a pair too.

Adventure on,


About Me

I am a Family Medicine intern at a community hospital in Indiana, navigating the new world of being a physician. I am privileged to work in a field I love, where every day is a new and unpredictable challenge.
I am not only a doctor, but also a cyclist, runner, DIYer in the making, lover of the outdoors, traveler, and human.
Human, MD is a glimpse into the world of a young doctor who is just trying to stay true to herself through the grueling whirlwind of residency.


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