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Review: Northern Lites Elite Snowshoes

Get out and experience winter with Northern Lites Elite Snowshoes!

By: Chris Engelsman + Save to a List

If you are like me, winter is no time to hibernate. It’s time to get out and enjoy the snow. For me, I love powsurfing. What’s powsurfing, you ask? It’s a throw-back to the days before snowboard bindings attaching you to the board. 

To powsurf, you need deep bottomless powder so you can surf down the hills. Unfortunately, resorts don’t allow you to powsurf, so, you can’t ride chairlifts. Instead, you need to hike up the mountain to earn your turns! That’s where snowshoes come into play. They are a critical tool so that you can stay on top of the snow as you hike up the mountain and not waste your energy post-holing in deep powder.

I recently came across Northern Lites Snowshoes. They claimed to have the lightest snowshoes on the market, so I had to check them out. Anytime you’re hiking, the weight on your feet is critical. It’s like using light-weight carbon fiber rims on your bike. The lighter your wheels, the easier it is to pedal. The same physics applies to hiking. That way, I can hike longer without my legs quickly tiring out.

At 2.5 pounds per pair, they are light - almost a full pound lighter than their competition. But, oftentimes, to attain an ultra-light product, durability can be sacrificed. Is that the case with Northern Lites Elite snowshoes? In my experience, no! I opted for their Speed Bindings, which are lighter and quicker to put on and take off. The speed bindings wrap snugly around the ball of your foot with a cord lock, and the 1” webbing wraps around your heel to keep your foot from sliding out. 

I chose the 25” Elite model. For my size and weight, they are a tad small. I’m 6’2” and 195 pounds without my pack, powsurfer, etc. But, I like the 25” size because they fit on my backpack nicely when we are powsurfing down the mountain. 

The Speed Bindings attach to the frame via unrippable patented nylon. The nylon hinge is nice because as you step, the deck springs back to your foot, so you are not dragging it across the snow. The binding also has a robust aluminum claw to grip the snow as you hike. Underneath your heal, there is another aggressive aluminum claw. The combination of binding claw and heal claw allows you to walk across side-hills on icy snow with confidence. On the top of the deck, a heel gripper keeps your foot centered on the snowshoe. There’s nothing worse than having your heel slide around from side to side when snowshoeing. 

I’m stoked I discovered Northern Lites. If you are in the market for a new pair of snowshoes, check out Northern Lites. They are made in the good ol’ USA, and are a killer product!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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