Duluth Snowshoe-buying Advice

I’ve become a true Minnesotan — I went snowshoeing for the first time this past weekend. We checked out Lester Park and Park Point. I enjoyed snowshoeing so much I’ve decided to buy a pair with some gift money my generous in-laws gave me. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to buy snowshoes in Duluth? Any recommendations regarding brands also?

25 Comments

samh

about 9 years ago

Some of the finest snowshoes to be had are built just down the road from Duluth in Wausau, WI.  Northern Lites builds beautiful, modern, ultralight snowshoes for varying terrain and activity types.  

Visit the Northern Lites website for more info.

TimK

about 9 years ago

As a native, I of course own an inherited pair of snow shoes- therefor I've never shopped for snow shoes. However, the River Bend Nature Center in Fairbault has a good reference page on basic snow shoe info   http://www.rbnc.org/schoolunits/snowshoe.htm

TopOfTheHillMan

about 9 years ago

I made my own in an adult ed class and then we went out and used them.

Kerc

about 9 years ago

I think Hartley has a few kinds of snowshoes for rent - you could try the different styles out.

I've gotten two pair used from UMD's rec sports.

Cory Fechner

about 9 years ago

For the Duluth Area, if you are not planning to race or anything like that, go with a versatile Recreation/Trek snowshoe.


Also think about maneuverability and traction when choosing the size. Smaller snowshoes will offer better of both they are also better for steep slopes, thick forests and wet snow. On the other side of the coin, larger snowshoes will compress more of the snow below you keep you floating higher. In light, dry powder and on flatter, straighter excursions, you'll enjoy a bigger snowshoe.

Regardless of style and size, some snowshoes are designed just for women. Women have a different body shape and stride than men. Most women will find that these snowshoes, with their unique bindings and slimmer frames, are easier to use than general snowshoes.

I own Louis Garneau shoes and love them. I got mine online seeing I could not find what I was looking for in town. But I am sure Gander, Ski Hut or Duluth Pack have a decent selection. Also make sure to get good bindings, in my opinion it makes a big difference to have quality bindings.

Chris Bollman

about 9 years ago

Being a former TrailFitters employee, I would definitely recommend giving them a look.  They carry Atlas brand which is a subsidiary of K2 and they have a lifetime warranty.  I don't know what their stock looks like but the highest they carry in the Atlas series (8-12) is a 10 which is a pretty good happy medium between crazy light and super basic. (These are the modern aluminium variety of course)

...With that said, I would say check out the aforementioned local Northern Lites brand first.  I did not know they existed to be honest and I wish TrailFitters would pick them up instead!  

For shoppings sake, TrailFitters is located in the lower level of the Fitger's Complex.  I'd recommend just checking them out in general if you have never been.  They're a great source for clothing and gear as is Duluth Pack for more traditional gear.

Mick Dodds

about 9 years ago

We carry Atlas snowshoes at Skihut. Great warranty...we can fix them for you in a pinch if you somehow manage to break them - it is very difficult to break an Atlas! We also rent them....and your rental $$$ go towards your purchase!
Cory got the basics all right on. It's about floatation vs manuverability.

Sam

about 9 years ago

Redfeather, Tubbs, and Atlas aluminum snowshoes are great, and often can be purchased online or even used on ebay.  The local Ski Hut and Continental Ski stores have some good aluminum snowshoes.  Showshoes are often sold by how much the wearer weighs, so make sure to get a pair that suits you.

johnny b

about 9 years ago

Check out Sam's Club...Yukons. The web has great options. I found local dealers too expensive, even though they had the options of matching the web prices, and wouldn't. I just picked up a great set of shoes, 2 poles, and a carry bag for $79.99. It is my family's third set. We have had NO problems with any of them.

Gary

about 9 years ago

My wife and I got new snowshoes for Christmas.  The brand is MSR, which is well known for making high quality outdoor adventure gear, and they are made in the U.S.  Ours were purchased at REI in Bloomington, but I would imagine you can find them in Duluth too.  Mine are MSR Denali Evo Ascent, and my wife's are MSR Lightning Flash.  They have awesome traction, are lightweight and strong.

in.dog.neato

about 9 years ago

(Girl, where do you think I was just prior to my party on the first? Church? I can usually be found busting the powder down in Chester during and after good snow events.)

Conti carries Tubbs, which are made in Vashon Island, WA. Redfeathers are made in LaCrosse. For the money, I'd choose either of those two. Hazel has Redfeather kid's bearpaws.

Tubbs makes women specific models, and having used Atlas, Tubbs, Redfeather and another brand, I finally settled on Tubbs for the comfort, float and agility that they provide.

Any of those brands are going to serve you well, I'd imagine. Just be sure you get the right size for your weight.

Claire

about 9 years ago

Thanks everybody, your advice is much appreciated. This is why I love PDD -- I knew you all would steer me in the right direction!

I'll be sure to let you know what I get. I am psyched. 

(And, In.Dog.Neato, I knew you weren't in church before the New Year's Day bacon, bacon, bacon party.)

in.dog.neato

about 9 years ago

Larf! Yeah, and you only have to venture a block or so away from your house to Chester where there's some sweet trails packed down. I can usually be found busting through the powder during and after a good snowstorm, you know, to pack it down a bit before the walkers and joggers try to come through. I like to call it "trail maintenance."

Figuratively, though, on the trail is the same as being at church. IMO.

in.dog.neato

about 9 years ago

Oh, while we're at it, you can also pick up gently used from Play it Again Sports if your budget's not quite big enough for a spankin' new pair.

lee

about 9 years ago

I'll second samh's recommendation of Northern Lites snowshoes. I've been using a pair of their snowshoes for almost 10 years. They are light and tough and have easy-to-use bindings.

Carol

about 9 years ago

My husband bought my Yukon's at Northwest Outlet a couple years ago. Best gift ever! I've been using them every day this winter out my back yard and woods.

Mashtato

about 9 years ago

Personally I'd go with traditional style snowshoes. My friends and I snicker at all the yuppies in their little aluminium and rubber snowshoes plastered with colorful logos. I bought mine at Northwest Outlet in Superior, and I believe they sell traditional pairs at Duluth Pack.

Word of advice: go off-trail, that's what they're made for! You never know what you'll discover. For example, we stumbled upon a beautiful tiny forest lake (or huge pond) last Thursday, and we wouldn't have done so if we had gone on trails.

Claire

about 9 years ago

Update! I bought a pair of Tubbs snowshoes at Continental, their Flex NRG series, and went hiking around Chester Bowl. It's sunny, but cold, and the view of Lake Superior from the crest of the ridge above the bowl was spectacular! Thanks, everyone, for your advice and comments. See you in the woods!

nw

about 9 years ago

Best snowshoe and snowshoe binding on the market without a doubt, Crescent Moon. There is nothing better. You won't find them in Duluth.  Midwest Mountaineering or REI.

zra

about 9 years ago

No offense, but lack of local availability is precisely the reason why I would be hesitant to buy Crescent Moon. In hindsight, if I had done better homework on my brands I would have likely settled on Redfeather, due to its Wisconsin origin.

If they're not readily available here then the chances of finding maintenance and repair support are equally as scarce.

Claire

about 9 years ago

I just wanted American-made, and bought locally -- I'm happy, lovin' my Tubbs!

Mick Dodds

about 9 years ago

Just want to clear a few things up: 

- Tubbs are made in the cradle of snowshoing...CHINA....that is a fact. They were at one time made in Vermont - have never been made in Washington, and are disributed out of Vashon Island by K2. 

- Old fashioned wood snowshoes are great - for floatation(better than aluminum - simple matter of surface area). However they are pretty much useless for going up anything steep (with the exception of a few that do have crampons on the bindings).

- Aluminum shoes take ALOT more abuse - I am rather abusive to my snowshoes so I go with aluminum. Plus the traction for climbing is far superior. I can climb vertical with mine. If I were strolling lakes, fields and Tamarack swamps I would use some huge woodies.

-There are alot more differences between brands as well. Too much to type though.  That's why - regardless of where you live, it is best to talk to a local shop about what is best for you. Buy local y'all.

Claire

about 9 years ago

I did buy local, Mick, and now am bummed that my Tubbs were made in China. But I do love 'em.

mick dodds

about 9 years ago

Tubbs is a great brand -- no doubt.  I just like Atlas (also made in China) better for various reasons. That's why I sell them. We at Skihut are seriously considering an American made brand for next season -- maybe Crescent Moon -- but will still carry Atlas because they are the toughest out there right now.

Claire

about 9 years ago

I wavered between buying my shoes at Skihut or Continental... went with Continental. But my kid got her new X-country skis at Skihut, so it all worked out in the wash.

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