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Free Snowshoeing Classes in Colorado
In Colorado, there are several shops and mountaineering clubs that offer snowshoe courses for free. The classes are held inside a store or meeting room and generally taught by experienced snowshoeing and backcountry experts.
Once you have attended an in-city class and are ready to venture into the mountains, the safest way to proceed is to go to one of the many Colorado Nordic resorts or National Parks and join a group for a guided tour of an area. The guided group tours are generally free provided you have paid for a daily Nordic trail or National Park pass.
- REI provides a free, monthly snowshoeing class in its Denver store. It focuses on equipment selection, but also provides an overview of where to go snowshoeing.
- The Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) is offering a free lecture on the basics of snowshoeing given by backcountry snowshoeing expert and book author Alan Apt on Dec. 1, 2011, at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, CO. The lecture will cover the basics of snowshoeing, provide winter mountaineering tips, and end with a slideshow of beautiful places Mr. Apt has walked in his snowshoes. The CMC offers numerous mountaineering courses throughout the year that benefit anyone who wants to venture into the backcountry.
- Rocky Mountain National Park hosts free, ranger-led snowshoe tours at 12:30 p.m. every Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday through March. Required reservations can be placed by calling 970-586-1223.
- Winter Trails Day will be held on Jan. 7, 2012 in Estes Park, Colo. It's an event put on by several Nordic centers to get people interested in snowshoeing and cross country skiing. It features free demos of snowshoes and guided snowshoeing tours.
- Breckenridge and Frisco Nordic Centers in Summit County offer free guided tours with a paid trail pass. A daily trail pass is $17 for an adult.
One of my first real lessons with snowshoeing involved not being prepared for 6 inches of fresh powder that fell on our trail as we slept in our tent during a snowshoeing trip near Redstone, Colo. We weren't skilled enough to properly read our topography map of the area and the fresh snow covered up our man-made snowshoe path. At one point, we mistakenly started down an avalanche chute but luckily made our way out of that dangerous area. We eventually had no choice but to traverse a snow bridge to get down the mountain without traveling in an avalanche chute. We were lucky. Start snowshoeing with knowledgeable guides and learn basic mountaineering skills alongside your snowshoeing.
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