Snowshoeing is anything but an extreme sport. Boring as hell, is how many ambitious alpinists would describe the almost technique free activity. Just about anybody who is halfway fit for the mountains can go snowshoeing after a few hours, as if he had done nothing else all his life. And if you follow one of the well-trodden winter hiking trails or designated snowshoe tracks, which sometimes start directly at the middle station in the ski area, it really doesn't get too exciting. The walking aids, which were already used in the Stone Age and which European trappers and trackers took over from the North American indigenous tribes, are the perfect tool for small or big adventures. When winter has laid a blanket over our structured landscape, the mountain forest in the Alps suddenly feels like wilderness, highly frequented hut trails become pathless routes into loneliness.
For moderately talented skiers, like Christelle and me, the plastic things with the metal prongs are definitely the salvation. The only way to explore the winter mountains. Without them we had got stuck in deep snow often enough. With Robert, our companion, the motivation looks quite different. He's only wearing snowshoes today because his cruciate ligament tore some months ago. Whilst skiing, of course. "To go ski-touring," he says, "my knee is just too wobbly."