After several days of heavy snowfall, the pillows covering the forest floor are too deep to wade through. A subtle wind picks up a little. Pines creek in the relative silence. You set your old wood-framed snowshoes down and buckle the leather bindings around your boots. Under the weight of each step, bits of snow push up through the webbing, but you remain on top and walk easily through the trees. Fresh rabbit tracks course everywhere, between trees and into thickets. Just like you, their wide feet keep them atop the snow. You snap a dried, low-hanging bough from a spruce tree and plunge it into the snow, to measure its depth. It's almost a meter deep. These snowshoe tours make you feel like you've got an advantage on winter. And you do.
Snowshoeing has been around for thousands of years and has become more sophisticated over time. Born of a practical need, snowshoeing is now considered a winter sport. From the early wood-frame to the aluminum-frame models, snowshoeing has garnered quite a following throughout the world. Modern day snowshoeing is made up of casual snowshoers who hike trails for pleasure, extreme snowshoers who trek the backcountry, and competitors who race.
During winter, the Wood Buffalo region's snow-filled forests boast some of the best snowshowing in Alberta, with approximately 400 hectares of parks and trails.