Snowshoeing Glossary

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a group of snowshoers on the trail

Baysport™— Polyurethane decking material used by Tubbs.

Binding— The harness that attaches your foot to the snowshoe.

Crampon— Toothed traction devices on the underside of the snowshoe, also referred to as cleats. May be at the toe, under the ball of the foot or at the heel.

Decking— Flat surface of the snowshoe that allows you to walk on top of the snow by spreading your weight over a greater surface area. Made of synthetic materials (or rawhide lacing on older models).

Fixed Toe Cord— Attachment point of the binding to the snowshoe that does not pivot but rather springs back up with each step. Usually made of neoprene, Hypalon or some other synthetic material.

Flotation— The ability of the snowshoe to keep you and your gear on top of the snow.

Frame— The aluminum or wooden outer edge of the snowshoe to which the decking is attached.

Hypalon™— Rubber material used for snowshoe decking. It's very durable and flexible (it's also commonly used for rafts).

Pivot Point— The point under the ball of the foot at which the binding is attached to the snowshoe.

Rotating Toe Cord— Attachment point of the binding to the snowshoe; it pivots on a metal rod so that the snowshoe tail drags or tracks behind as you walk.

Self-Arrest— Stopping your fall by planting your ice axe into the hillside with body weight over the axe.

Self-Belay— Preventing yourself from falling by planting and hanging on to your ice axe as you walk; catching a slip.

Snowshoe Poles— Poles with large-diameter baskets for walking on powder snow. Ski or trekking poles also work, but you may want to put larger snow baskets on trekking poles.

Step Kicking— Method of ascending a steep snow slope by kicking toes into the snow, creating steps.

Toe Cord— Same as the pivot point, above.

Traverse— Crossing a slope with one shoulder on the uphill side, the other, on the downhill.

V-Tail— Snowshoe design in which the frame tapers at the tail for better tracking.

Western— Oblong snowshoe shape with rounded tails; common shape of aluminum-frame snowshoes.



Remember: Safety is your responsibility. No internet article or video can replace proper instruction and experience—this article is intended solely as supplemental information. Be sure you’re practiced in proper techniques and safety requirements before you engage in any outdoors activity.