Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN Snowshoes: Review And Giveaway

Over the years, I've tried several kinds of snowshoes from old school rawhide and wood (my grandfather's) to the most modern and innovative. This seemingly simple mode of transportation is constantly being reinvented with different shapes, bindings, and materials for convenience and comfort. The newest snowshoes are nothing like my grandfather's snowshoes and that's a good thing!

For mountain snowshoeing, I like backcountry snowshoes with aggressive traction, heel risers, and bindings that stay put. I also look for women-specific models which are narrower to allow for a natural gait. Narrower women's snowshoes are lighter too! Double bonus!! While most backcountry snowshoes will set you back about $300 or more, it is possible to get really good ones for around $200 as we've seen with the Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN snowshoes.

The Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN backcountry series snowshoes have rocker aluminum frames with attractive decking, Mountain Claw crampons, heel risers, and Northwave SPIN (dial) bindings all at an affordable price. In this gear review, we'll share our experience with them and what we love about them!

Spoiler Alert: The Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN are the most attractive snowshoes we own and their bindings are the bomb!


<<Scroll down to enter to win a pair of these snowshoes!>>

Testing 

My husband and I have been testing the Elite SPIN snowshoes (regular and women's versions respectively) for over two months. We've used them on packed snow with icy patches as well as deep powder on easy to moderate terrain. They have performed well and required no maintenance. 

Testing snowshoes is a tough job, but someone's gotta do it! ;)

What We Love 

Amazing Bindings

Our favorite thing about the Elite SPIN snowshoes is their Northwave SPIN bindings with toe boxes. Cyclists and snowboarders will recognize the Northwave name. If you're not familiar, I can tell you that these dial bindings are top notch and easy to use. Simply spin the dial to tighten the bindings (tighten the heel strap first). To remove the snowshoes, pull the toggle on the top of your snowshoe to instantly open the SPIN dial and free your toes, then loosen the heel strap. It's so easy, I can do it with thick mittens on!! This is a huge plus if you have Raynaud's like me, or have gotten cold hands fussing with your kids' hats, mitts, boots, and snowshoes in -15 (why can't they keep their stuff on?!?). Besides being incredibly easy to use, the SPIN dial also means you can make microadjustments for the perfect fit.

The bindings were extremely comfortable and stayed securely fastened in all conditions while the toe boxes and foot pads kept our feet properly positioned.

Side note: While it sounds like the snowshoes are simply doing what they should, it's important to note that other snowshoes we've tried had problematic or finicky bindings that did not stay fastened or were hard to fasten/unfasten. We really enjoyed how easy the SPIN bindings were to use!


Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN Snowshoes
Frame

Intended for backcountry use, the 6000 aluminum frame is the "strongest and most torsionally rigid frame" Yukon Charlie's has ever offered. Surprisingly, these rugged snowshoes weigh little more (4-5 oz) than backcountry snowshoes that cost over $100 more! (If you are looking for ultralight snowshoes to run in, check out Yukon Charlie's Race Ultra-Lite Snowshoes! Only 2.5 lbs per pair!)

The rocker shape (turned up tips and tails) and Free Flex axle system allows for a more natural gait, so you can walk comfortably and easily in your snowshoes. We could actually notice a difference between our other snowshoes which are quite flat in comparison and liked the momentum and agility the rocker shape provided! Although the tails are turned up, they do not collect and flip up snow as we expected, but I still recommend wearing shell/snow pants when snowshoeing so you can have fun in the snow without getting cold. Half the fun of snowshoeing is lying in the snow and making snow angels!

The integrated heel lift is easy to engage and reduces the burn in your calves when climbing uphill. Check out how in this quick 8 second video here!

Minimal snow kicked up after one hour of snowshoeing
(in packed snow and powder)

Crampons

The Mountain Claw crampons have lots of teeth to grip ice and snow. We found the traction to be great whether we were on packed snow or icy sections of the trail. We have yet to test the snowshoes on super steep inclines, but on moderate hills with packed snow/slush/powder/icy sections, I felt confident and sure footed.

Decking

The lightweight decking sheds snow so you don't carry extra weight and looks good too. My husband says these are the most attractive snowshoes he's ever had and I agree!

Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN Snowshoes
Women's on left; Men's on right (weird camera angle - the women's are narrower!)
Women's Version vs. Men's Version

The women's and men's Elite SPIN snowshoes have the same main features, but when it comes to size and shape, they are quite different. The women's snowshoes are narrower, more angular, and thereby lighter. At 120 pounds, I get good flotation from the 8x21" women's snowshoes. My husband is 150 pounds and found the men's 8x25" snowshoes to work well for him. When selecting your size, be sure to take into account your outer wear and pack weight so you get adequate flotation.

Women's Elite Spin Snowshoe Dimensions and Weight: 
  • The 8x21" are 3.8 pounds; for snowshoers up to 150 pounds.
  • The 8x25" are 4 pounds; for snowshoers up to 200 pounds.

Men's Elite Spin Snowshoe Dimensions and Weight: 
  • The 8x25" are 4.2 pounds; for snowshoers up to 200 pounds.
  • The 9x30" are 4.8 pounds; for snowshoers up to 250 pounds.
Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN Snowshoes - Women's

What could be better 

I'd love to see an ultralight version of these snowshoes with the Northwave spin bindings, but realize this would drive up the price.

Verdict 

The Yukon Charlie's Elite Spin Snowshoes are attractive, yet rugged, snowshoes with a rocker frame, integrated heel lifts, and innovative bindings that make for comfortable snowshoeing. At their price point, they offer an amazing value!

Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN - Women's Snowshoes with Carbon Trekking Poles

Where to Buy

Purchase from Yukon Charlie's, Amazon.ca (affiliate link - no extra charge to you - thanks for your support), or select retailers. You can often find certain Yukon Charlie's snowshoes at Costco for a great deal, so it's worth checking there first!

Disclosure

Yukon Charlie's generously provided my family with Elite SPIN and kids' snowshoes to test and review as part of our Brand Ambassador kit. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

These snowshoes make you wanna JUMP, JUMP!!

Giveaway

Now is your chance to win a pair of snowshoes! I have one pair of Yukon Charlie's Elite SPIN for Women Snowshoes, size 8x25", color: blue for one lucky reader in Canada. Please complete the Rafflecopter form below. Shipping is within Canada only. Contest closes March 16, 2017 at 12 am MST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Related Posts 

Safety moment: When snowshoeing, be sure to pack the 10 essential systems, avoid avalanche terrain, and check the thickness of natural ice before venturing on it. Read Why You Need Avalanche Skills Training and Pond and Lake Ice Safety for more information.

55 comments :

I've only been a few times, and not at all since moving to the Okanagan but I really want to get out again. My favourite trail was in St. Albert, River Lot 56. It was really beautiful....but so cold!

I love testing new snowshoes. And I'm very intrigued by the binding system with the dial for tightening because I find some snowshoes very hard to put on. Fav. snowshoe trail is the Emerald Lake Loop.

These look like great snowshoes. I'm curious to try them compared to my msr ones.
Favourite trail this winter is troll falls thanks to the fresh snow we enjoyed.

Great review Karen! Love to go out and snowshoe with you, your hubbie and your little ones <3. Preferably somewhere in Kananaskis as it is always gorgeous!

These snow shoes look great! I would love to try out those bindings. My favourite trail is anything with powder and snow to play in vs a packed down trail.

I have not been snowshoeing in a while but I love all the fun trails in Kananaskis :)
Dana

Snowshoeing adventures are on our winter 2017 list of things to experience!

Those are some nice looking snowshoes! My girls tried snowshoeing for the first time a few weeks ago, would love to get out with them for a walk before the winter is over.

I've only been snowshoeing once and because we were on a packed trail, it turned out to be easier to take them off and just hike. So I want to go snowshoeing somewhere with deep fluffy snow, where snowshoes are the only way I could be there!

I hope to win these for my Mom. She's got an old pair of my brothers. She totally deserves some nice ones suited for women.

These actually look pretty badass, I like the binding system.

I finally tried out snow shoeing, and I've been trying to see what to get. Thanks so much for the info, here's hoping I win so I don't have to buy!

With all this snow we've been having (even though it's quickly melting) snowshoes are a must!

I've never been snowshoeing but my sister has & she said Troll Falls in Kananaskis is so gorgeous & peaceful, plus it's for beginners like me so that's where I'd go!

I would like to go showshoeing in Kananaskis country as its so beautiful out there!

I've never been but the winters sure are long in New Hampshire so I would like to try it.

I have loved snowshoeing in Alberta this winter. I may be the only person happy that the snow is here and still coming. :)

I have had some great showshoeing times in Waskesiu.

I've only been snowshoeing twice, but I just happened to post about our first family adventure on the blog today! So out of my two times (the first time being 10 years ago!), snowshoeing on the Wonderland Trail in Mount Rainier National Park was amazing!

Emerald Lake is gorgeous! You would love the bindings, Tanya! They're so easy to put on and remove. I need to take a video to show people!

I have the MSR ones too, Shawna! These feel different with the rocker frame and surprisingly similar in weight (less than 4 oz more per pair). The crampons and bindings are also quite different - MSR have more side traction, but the Yukon Charlie's bindings are amazingly simple to use!

Thanks Tatjana! We would love to hang out with you again!!! Let's make a snowshoe date!

That's my favorite too, Deirdre! The more powder, the better! :)

SO many great places to snowshoe in Kananaskis, Dana!! It's hard for me to pick a favorite!

Hope you get to go snowshoeing before winter is over, NewWife!

Thanks Amber! The Elite SPIN are pretty rad! Have I said how much I love the bindings?! I'll post a video soon showing how cool they are!

A Mackay, it's amazing when you can float in deep snow! We love it so much!! You've gotta take turns breaking trail though -super good workout!

These look awesome! My MSR's are amazing, but I constantly struggle with the bindings coming undone. The fact that you could put these on with mittens sounded pretty great too!

It's been awhile since I've been snowshoeing, but last time I went to a place near Banff where we were winter camping. It was lots of fun!

Would love to go snowshoeing in the mountains.

We love going to Bragg Creek for snowshoeing! this way we don't have to far to drive with our two kiddos

I agree - bindings make a huge difference! I have only snowshoed in the prairies, but would love to try it out in the Rockies as well.

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Cameron lake in Waterton. It's always a great time and finished off with wieners of waterton.

I've never tried snow shoeing but love cross country skiing and trail running so think I'd love it!

I like snowshoeing at Silver Star bc, buy always have to borrow gear. Would love my own pair!

I'm heading out for a wander tomorrow but could use a new pair of 'shoes for next winter!

I've yet to do a serious trail, I own snowshoes for myself and these would be perfect for my daughter

Waterton is the only place I've been snowshoeing. I'd love to check out other places in Alberta.

Let kids (or other people) lead the way, it's sometimes the only way I slow down and fully take it all in

Any trail I can get to is my favorite trail!

I have never been snowshoeing. I would love to visit Canmore and snowshoe.

Black Prince Cirque would be very neat, there's so much powder on the side of the trail

My favourite place to snowshoe is in Waterton Lakes National Park. I haven't been able to go yet this winter as I'm recovering from a concussion, but I'd love to win these and take them out for a spin before the snow melts. :)

I love the snowshoe trails in West Bragg Creek. I found out about them thanks to your blog :-)

Appreciate the reviews of the snowshoes! Great post :)

Also, Rawson has been my favourite so far, as well as Chester :)

My fiance is from Maine near Portland and I would love to go snowshoeing near there.

I've been snowshoeing only a couple times but my favourite was on a quiet piece of land close to Rocky Mountain House!

WE LOVE just going through the trails in the metro parks!! i would love these!

I haven't snowshoes since I was a kid. We lived on an average and snowshoes on on property. I'm lucky to live in Alberta and would enjoy snowshoeing in the Rockies. Closer to my door is McKinnon Flats on the Bow River and it's a great place to enjoy nature all seasons.

Thanks for entering the contest! Marion M was the winner!

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