Discover what we love about Yukon Charlie’s Elite SPIN Snowshoes in our gear review!
Affiliate Disclosures: 1. As a Yukon Charlie’s Ambassador, I received a complimentary pair of snowshoes for review purposes, but all words and opinions are my own. 2. This post contains affiliate links through which I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
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 look for snowshoes with robust frames, aggressive traction, heel risers, and bindings that stay put. These features can be found on higher end backcountry snowshoes which will typically set you back about $300 or more, so we were happily surprised to see all these features for less than $300 in the Yukon Charlie’s Elite SPIN snowshoes. I also prefer women-specific models which are narrower to allow for a natural gait. Narrower women’s snowshoes are lighter too! The Elite SPIN snowshoes come in men’s and women’s frames, and in two different lengths.
With rocker aluminum frames, Mountain Claw crampons, heel risers, and easy-to-use Northwave SPIN (dial) bindings, The Yukon Charlie’s Elite SPIN backcountry series snowshoes get rave reviews from everyone who tries them. In this gear review, we’ll share our experience with them and what we love about them!
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, and deep powder, on easy to moderate terrain. They have performed well and required no maintenance. (2020 Update: After three winters, my Elite SPIN snowshoes are still in great condition!)
What we love about the Yukon Charlie’s Elite SPIN Snowshoes
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 micro-adjustments 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.
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 ounces) than backcountry snowshoes that cost over $100 more! (If you are looking for ultralight snowshoes to run in, check out Yukon Charlie’s Yukon Run Snowshoes! Only 2.5 lbs per pair! Available from Amazon or Yukon Charlie’s.)
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 from Yukon Charlie’s here!
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.
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!
Differences between the Women’s and Men’s Elite SPIN Snowshoes
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 8×21″ women’s snowshoes. My husband is 150 pounds and found the men’s 8×25″ snowshoes 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 8×21″ are 3.8 pounds; for snowshoers up to 150 pounds.
- The 8×25″ are 4 pounds; for snowshoers up to 200 pounds.
Men’s Elite Spin Snowshoe Dimensions and Weight:
- The 8×25″ are 4.2 pounds; for snowshoers up to 200 pounds.
- The 9×30″ are 4.8 pounds; for snowshoers up to 250 pounds.
The Yukon Charlie’s Elite Spin Snowshoes are attractive, rugged, snowshoes with a rocker frame, integrated heel lifts, and innovative bindings that make for comfortable snowshoeing.
Where to Buy
- Snowshoeing Pack List
- 10 Tips for Fun Family Snowshoeing – Yukon Charlie’s Blog
- Where to Snowshoe Near Calgary
- Why You Need Avalanche Skills Training
- Pack the 10 essential systems on every snowshoe outing
- Pond and Lake Ice Safety
Now is your chance to win a pair of snowshoes! I have one pair of Yukon Charlie’s Elite SPIN for Women Snowshoes, size 8×25″, 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.