I was out this morning walking Ellie the dog through the woods after a fresh snow fall and used my new MSR Lightning Axis snowshoes. I loved them for gripping the ice going up and down hill; they also came with the heel bar (televators) to help going up a steep slope and their new speedlock binding system allows for a quicker way to place the bindings on, And their "Axid Gait Efficiency" system" - where you can adjust the toe placement to the left or right. - really helped my bowlegged issue. But with a full load of snow being dropped through the night, I might have been better this morning with my traditional Ojibway wood and cat-gut snowshoes. These tend to hold me up better in fluffy, really deep snow. They're darn heavy though, especially when compared to the MSR snowshoes. And the leather binding system is simply ancient (but it works).

Which one to choose? It all depends on the conditions. But overall I think I'd go for the modern pair. The important thing, of course, is that I went out in the woods in the first place. I couldn't believe the trails were empty of people this morning - it was a classic winter morning walk that should never be missed. Ellie enjoyed it too

Here's an older video on using traditional snowshoes (bear paw style) vs. modern snowshoes.

Plan your next great adventure with explore!
Off the beaten path locations, tips and tricks, interviews with intrepid explorers and more.