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GV Winter Trail Snowshoes

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Canada is not without its shortcomings. Much of our domestic beer tastes like it went through a moose prior to bottling. Our mainstream broadcasting is so unspeakably bad as to have caused the Earth’s atmosphere to shrink by 0.015 percent over the previous two decades due to the effects of the picture tubes of tens of thousands of television sets imploding after being hurled from assorted windows. Our elected officials have the ethical standards of a Barbary pirate who’s found himself ostracized by all the other pirates; a level of forethought slightly inferior to that of suicidal lemmings and math skills that would embarrass a village idiot with two missing fingers.

We do, however, know a lot about snow up here. As such, in the event that you find yourself looking for snowshoes, you’ll want to keep an eye out for the ones with conspicuous “made in Canada” red maple leaves emblazoned upon their packaging. This is as distinguished from the ones made in the Philippines from parts fabricated in Korea. There are a lot of fine things that can be said about the latter countries – but they have little experience of extreme cold.

We saw an awful lot of snowshoes from the Philippines before we found a store selling snowshoes made by GV Snowshoes of Wendake, Quebec. Unquestionably the best designed, best built and generally coolest devices to have between your feet and winter, these are snowshoes that will probably take you almost as long to find as they did us, and they’ll be worth every minute of it.

GV Snowshoes claims to have been making these things for about half a century, and their experience clearly shows. Winter Trail snowshoes are built by snow gods. Every detail of their fabrication has clearly been the object of someone’s intense consideration and deep thought.

Unlike traditional snowshoes, which are made of wood and clearly designed to trip whoever’s unfortunate enough to be wearing them, Winter Trails are built around an aluminum frame that’s a good deal stronger than wood, and lighter than steel. It also won’t rust like steel. They come with a lifetime warrantee, and they’re doubtless intended to prevent anyone from claiming on it, by virtue of their never breaking.

The deck of Winter Trail snowshoes is a solid layer of something synthetic, rather than a web of rawhide, as in ages past. It won’t rot as rawhide can, and it provides more buoyancy in with less surface area. As such, you can get away with much smaller snowshoes and spend more time on your feet, and less on your backside trying to pry yourself out of drifts.

Winter Trail snowshoes come in a variety of sizes. If you’re honest about your weight, you can choose a pair that will keep you upright without being any larger than it has to be.

Winter Trail snowshoes include aggressive cleats to claw their way across ice and packed trails, and a pivoted surface under their bindings that will naturally persuade their wearers to walk correctly. Walking incorrectly in snowshoes will typically result in seriously painful ankles, usually when you’re miles from civilization and large handfuls of aspirin.

Easily among the slickest features of Winter Trail snowshoes, the bindings thereon are masterpieces of ingenuity. Whereas low-cost snowshoes typically come with nylon bindings and friction buckles… which wear out relatively quickly and unfasten themselves at the most inconvenient opportunities respectively… the bindings on these snowshoes use synthetic rubber straps that don’t freeze solid or break when they get cold, and clever mechanical ratchets that will quickly tighten themselves with minimal eye-hand coordination, never let go accidentally and yet, release instantly when it’s time to climb out and warm your feet.

The bindings of Winter Trail snowshoes are worth whatever these things cost, all by themselves.

In use, GV’s Winter Trail snowshoes speak to a manufacturer that does one thing and does it really well. We’ve crushed though miles of bush on these guys without anything like a snowshoe malfunction. They’re easy to get used to, comfortable to walk in and pretty much maintenance free.

Winter Trails cost about half again as much as generic imported snowshoes – needless to say, they’re worth it. They also look cooler than cheap shoes. Long after you’ve forgotten about the price, you’ll remember not having to try to hop home on one cheap snowshoe, because the other cheap snowshoe broke and left you stranded half way to the artic circle. Buy these snowshoes and years from now, you’ll still have all your toes.

Comments (1)

CalFebruary 9th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

Nice review, I’ve been using Faber snowshoes ever since I had a snowshoe snap in half for no reason, forcing me to crawl the better part of a kilometer back to my truck through chest high snow. Was wondering about GV’s snowshoes simply because their traditional snowshoes are significantly cheaper than Faber’s, I think I’ll give them a try. Thanks.