It is fun, it is easy, and it involves walking on snow. What’s not to like?
We are of course talking about snowshoeing, an age old means of transportation in the Arctic which today is a way of experiencing scenery while opening up the landscape and slowing down the traveler compared to faster adventures such as dog sledding, snowmobiling and skiing.
Snowshoeing is winter hiking in trailless landscapes
Snowshoeing is as basic as hiking, but with the added benefit of being able to approach the entire landscape as a trailless adventure all while enjoying walking in winter without the hassle of sinking into deep snow.
It is definitely possible to create long expedition style treks far into the backcountry on snowshoes in Greenland, much like you would go wilderness hiking in the summer season, but mostly snowshoes are used for easy access to shorter walks focused on scenic beauty and with a more soft adventure approach to the experience.
Along the edge of the Ilulissat Ice Fjord
Hiking together in a group of friends makes for a fun, inspiring, and ultimately also relaxed trip, complete with coffee breaks and time to enjoy the rather astonishing view of icebergs overwintering at the mouth of the fjord, before heading back to town, only a short walk away.
Hiking together in a group of friends makes for a fun, inspiring, and ultimately also relaxed trip
Snowshoeing in East Greenland often happens in conjunction with a wider adventure setting like a dogsledding trip with Travellodge Greenland from Ilulissat. They would bring along snowshoes to their remote hut location at the edge of the Sermilik fjord on Ammassalik Island.
Travelers then arrive on skis, dog sleds or snowmobiles to the hut, and the snowshoes are used for exploring the local area around the hut, including quick climbs to hilltops with views out over the ice fjord and across to the Greenland Ice Sheet in the distance.
But Tasiilaq is also a great starting point for a walk into the hills or an easy climb to the vantage points overlooking the icy Denmark Strait to the east. And basically this sort of quick adventure is what snowshoeing is all about both in East Greenland and elsewhere - an easy way to get an introduction to the winter outdoors in Greenland.
Travellodge Greenland in Tasiilaq can arrange standalone snowshoe walks and combination trips where snowshoes are an add-on experience to a longer trip.
PGI Greenland fit their adventures to your adventure level, and hikes can both quick walks and full day outings.
Snowshoes obviously prefer snow, but they strength lies in versatility and they handle well on both snow, ice, and even the occasional rock.
Bringing your own light weight snow shoes makes a lot of sense if you are travelling independently and are looking for easy backcountry access.
- Hiking longer trails mostly used in summer is definitely an option on snowshoes, and the classic Arctic Circle Trail from Kangerlussuaq to Sisimiut is an obvious candidate because of the access to 8 huts along the way.
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