Snowshoeing originated as an activity in which people used specially designed footwear called the snowshoe to walk over snow. The shoes help the weight of a person to be distributed over a large area so that the feet do not completely sink into the snow.
Snowshoeing is known to be used by runners to enable them to practice running during winter months. Snowshoeing has gained a steady popularity over the years and has developed into a sport in its own right.
There are several types of races conducted for snowshoeing. The most common is the direct racing between contestants. Races vary in distances from shorter sprint races for 100m to marathon races that cover a distance of 100km. There are also hurdle races conducted for the sport which are similar to track and field hurdle races.
Snowshoeing also has been included as a part of several multi-sport races. It has been included as a mandatory leg in the winter quadrathlon.
Though there are several local, national, and international level competitions conducted for snowshoeing, it is not included as part of Winter Olympics. It is however a part of the Arctic Winter Games and also a part of Winter Special Olympics.
- Cross-Country Skiing — races over snow-covered terrain using skis
- Quadrathlon — an endurance sports event composed of the four individual disciplines of swimming, kayaking, cycling and running - in winter they do the running leg on snow shoes.