Skishoes Coexist with Skis and Snowshoes

A few years ago, I was cross-country skiing at Green Lakes Park near Syracuse, New York when we came to a rest stop along the trail with a bench. A lady was sitting down taking a break, and we stopped for a minute to regroup and made conversation with her. She was on skis, alone, and remarked, “I’m waiting for my friend. He’s on snowshoes.”

This pointed out the difference between snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. It stands to reason that because skiing involves gliding and snowshoeing walking, you go faster on skis than you can on snowshoes. As a result, skiers and snowshoers just don’t mix.

Enter skishoes. Because they have a glide component, skishoes fall about half way between skis and snowshoes on the speed scale. This means they can legitimately hang with either group. I ski with the Kick’N Gliders, a cross-country ski club out of Harrisburg, PA, that runs frequent trips to New York, New England, and Canada. Occasionally, on a day-long jaunt through the forest, I’ll don the skishoes and see if I can keep up with the skiers. Because I’m a reasonably good skier and well-conditioned athlete, at least for my age (63), I find I can hang with them, largely because most of them are only out for a social outing, and they take frequent breaks, including lunch.

Typically, they eventually split into two groups based on their speed and ability, and I know I can always fall back with the slower group if I can’t keep up with the faster one. While they stay strictly on the trails, hopefully tracked and in some cases groomed, I venture off into untracked snow. In some cases, they may get slightly ahead of me on the flats and downhills, but then I catch them on the uphill climbs. It’s like a tractor trailer versus a car on the interstate.

On the other hand, I have skishoed with groups of fast, serious skiers and not been able to keep up with them. It’s a case of them waiting for you at occasional stops (what we call a no-drop ride in the bicycling world). You hope there’s another person on skishoes to keep you company in the back.

Lastly, I’ve skishoed with snowshoers and found myself slightly faster than them. But it only involved occasional waiting and worked out fine overall. Just goes to show that skishoes can coexist with skis and snowshoes, and everybody can do their own thing while socializing on the trail.

Tom Gibson
The Skishoe Guy
Trackers Skishoes


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