| Review: Hardware and Software, January 1997|
Modern snowshoes, with their lightweight frames, durable decking, and surefooted cleats, are a boon for winter athletes. But when it's time to lash them to your pack, they're every bit as cumbersome as their wood-and-rawhide progenitors. Not so with PowderWings, collapsible snowshoes that fold into their own shoebox-size fanny pack.
The PowderWings Lite ($289; 800-453-1192) has a sectioned and shock-corded aluminum frame that fits together like a tent pole. A tough Hypalon deck snaps around the frame, and a nylon strap cinches the assembly tight. It's a good idea to practice putting the shoes together before you're in the backcountry, but it's not hard. During a blizzard in Rocky Mountain National Park, the procedure barely took me five minutes--with mittens.
And collapsible, I found, doesn't have to mean flimsy. My test pair felt as solid underfoot after a month of use as it did the first day. The lace-and-buckle bindings, which accept running shoes and hiking boots alike, are very secure, and the toothy cleats never slip on even the hardest-packed snow. The Lite (four pounds, 13 ounces) is heftier than most dedicated training snowshoes. But it wasn't a burden on the run, and it kept me floating above deep-powdered slopes even with a 35-pound pack.
Copyright 1997, Outside magazine
Filed To: Snow Sports