Learn how to snowshoe in two quick classes

It’s the perfect winter sport for klutzy people who are afraid of ski lifts but still want in on the winter action.

Snowshoeing is easy enough to learn.

It’s safe enough.

It’s affordable enough.

And it’s a great way to burn off that holiday blubber.

The Mountaineers can get you walking on snow after two two-hour sessions of classroom instruction. That’s right, two evenings off your warm couch can lead to places you’ve only seen on TV.

“It can be for people who never snowshoed before or want to increase their skills,” said Mountaineers volunteer Carrie Strandell. “Or meet other people to hook up with to go snowshoeing.”

Snowshoeing is an old sport enhanced with new technology. The snowshoes from six thousands years ago were a mode of transportation and even more primitive than those wood and rawhide snowshoes of the 1950s.

Modern shoes are lightweight aluminum with nylon decking and snow-crunching teeth.

The goal of the shoes remains the same.

“It keeps you on top so you don’t sink in,” Strandell said.

Snowshoeing treks vary. “It can be anything from snowshoeing up a logging road or going across country,” she said. A lot of ski areas have courses laid out, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost.

The class covers equipment, ski poles, clothing, safety, food, avalanche awareness and mountain weather.

Graduates get to try out their skills on a group field trip to Stevens Pass.

“It’s a very good workout,” she said. “It can be pretty strenuous.”

You might want to get off the couch now.

Classes

When: The classroom course is 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Field trip on Jan. 26.

Where: Snohomish County PUD, 2320 California St., Everett.

The field trip to Stevens Pass takes place Jan. 26.

Cost: $55 for Mountaineers members; $75 for nonmembers.

Information: www.mountaineers.org.

The Mountaineers

The Mountaineers, formed in 1906, has more than 10,000 active members. It has a small full-time staff, and relies on the 1,000 volunteers to run most of the programs. The organization offers trips, classes and events for all levels. Trips range from easy to very strenuous. Members pay annual dues and most trips are free. Courses usually charge a fee.

Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com.

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