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Imagine the white snow, the freezing cold, the silence all around and then taking the first step as you hike through the snow-covered, magical winter landscape on foot. Feel the winter sun in your face, hear the snow crunch under your feet and marvel at the glittering snow crystals. 

A winter hike is the most natural way to discover the world in the cold season. In places like the Alps in February, the lower slopes are covered with plenty of snow and provide ideal winter hiking. It’s a healthy sport and you can recharge your batteries, keep your body going and clear your head.

The best thing about winter hiking is that you don’t need a lot of equipment: good boots and poles plus following our top tips.

Here’s our six tips for winter hikes

1. Let someone know you’re going hiking

Especially if you are traveling alone. Be sure to tell them where you are going and approximately how long you will be. And don’t forget to log back in afterwards.

2. Start on time 

On short winter days it often gets dark as early as 4pm. So, plan ahead and start early, remember to include the time it will take for you to return. An area map or an app for planning is recommended. Be careful with the times given – in winter you are usually on the road for longer so allow for this.

3. Choose marked paths

Especially if you have no experience of winter hiking. Stick to marked paths or forest roads. With well-known routes you can estimate the time better. 

4. Walk rhythmically and start slowly

Walking in the snow is exhausting and is often underestimated. Especially in deep snow you can get out of breath quickly. If you sweat or can’t talk anymore, you’re traveling too fast.

5. Apply sunscreen

Snow reflects the sun, which is why the UV exposure is high and sunburn cannot be ruled out. Don’t forget to wear good sunglasses that absorb UV-A and UV-B light.

6. Snowshoes help in deep snow

If the snow gets too deep, you can use snowshoes. Their larger surface area means you don’t sink in so deep – making walking easier. For this reason we recommend boots that have a certain sole stiffness, at least a category A / B. 

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