The Pros and Cons of Various Forms of Snow Travel

In which we take a probing look at the implements of winter stoke


Skiing and Snowboarding, Powder
Pros: Is best thing ever, on snow, anyway
Cons: Costs money for ride to top of ski slope, or costs significant exertion hiking to top; hard to predict and thusly can cost significant work hours, and/or cause loss of employment

Snowblading
Pros: Who’s to say, really?
Cons: Is snowblading

Postholing, Up to Knee
Pros: Builds character
Cons: Builds character

Postholing, Up to Waist
Pros: Burns calories
Cons: Builds anger

Fatbiking
Pros: New, exciting, everybody’s talking about it, puts smile on face for hard-to-explain reason, means you do not have to stop biking during winter
Cons: Takes time and effort to pump up flat tire; sometimes hard to convince significant other of legitimate reasons for buying yet another bike IT’S JUST BECAUSE I WANT ONE OK HONEY JESUS CHRIST CAN’T SOMEONE JUST BUY A NEW BIKE WHEN THEY WANT A BIKE THIS IS AMERICA ISN’T IT GET OFF MY ASS WOULD YOU

Skiing, Cross-Country
Pros: Great way to burn calories and get outside in wintertime
Cons: Pretty much eliminates joy of downhill part of skiing

Skiing, Uphill
Pros: Great way to burn calories and get outside in wintertime; usually enables downhill skiing
Cons: Is significantly more tiring than sitting on chairlift eating breakfast burritos between runs

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Sledding, Plastic Sled
Pros: Inexpensive, fast, easy to steer
Cons: Any visionary and/or motivated sledder can break a plastic sled within the first hour of usage

Sledding, Inner Tube
Pros: Cushy, inexpensive, fast
Cons: Complete lack of steering, hitting bumps can mean instantaneous ejection and possible injury

Sledding, Runner Sled
Pros: Classic, easy to steer, photogenic
Cons: Hard to fit more than one person on sled; accidentally ramming into an unsuspecting sledder at full speed usually = emergency room visit; when unmanned, becomes a high-velocity death missile missile hungry to destroy ankles and shins

Sledding, Saucer
Pros: Lightweight, inexpensive, fun, complete lack of steering
Cons: Complete lack of steering

Sledding, Cardboard Box
Pros: Inexpensive, disposable
Cons: Durability issues limit amount of fun achievable with one box

Walking
Pros: No specialized equipment needed
Cons: Basically regular walking with less-solid footing

Walking, In High Heels
Pros: Looking good in that outfit even though it’s winter
Cons: Extremely elevated risk of eating shit in that outfit

Running
Pros: Teaching self that you don’t have to stop running just because it’s winter; also not getting fat during winter months
Cons: See “Falling” and “Postholing”

Avalanche
Pros: n/a
Cons: Possible burial, possible serious injury, possible serious death; death = no more skiing or any other traveling on snow, or traveling on any other earthly surfaces, really

Snowshoeing
Pros: Inexpensive, enables hiking in winter
Cons: Downhill snowshoeing significantly less fun than other downhill snow travel methods; i.e. perchance there is gnar, you are simply walking through the gnar

Falling
Pros: None
Cons: Result of fall is impact with ground, leading to broken bones, contusions, strange stains on clothing, sometimes strange stains inside clothing depending on angle/severity of fall

Crampons
Pros: Stability, ability to climb ice
Cons: Puncture wounds of pants/flesh; hard to drive car while wearing

Snowplow
Pros: Beats the shit out of shoveling; operator is hero to drivers everywhere
Cons: Usually requires early wakeup time

Snowcat
Pros: Enables access to non-lift-served ski terrain without physical effort
Cons: Literally crushes the pow, expensive to acquire; once acquired, people are really uptight about letting you drive it on their property

Snowmobile
Pros: Fast, fun
Cons: Relatively expensive, can be hard to fit on roof rack of a car or in closet of small apartment

Photo by Reid Neureiter

Brendan Leonard is a contributing editor to Adventure Journal. Follow him at his blog, Semi-Rad.
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