I last went showshoeing about 15 years ago, at a time when it took such a backseat to skiing on Mt. Hood that nobody talked much about snowshoeing. Likewise, the snowshoes themselves were more utilitarian, or at least the models that were available at the rental shops in Government Camp. What a difference 15 years makes. Not only are there now just as many people snowshoeing as skiing, but the technology has advanced to the point that the Atlas Elektra Treeline snowshoes I recently tested weren’t the least bit cumbersome. And they’re a pretty color, too.
Yes, talking about color sounds “girly,” but you have to understand: the last time I went snowshoeing, the equipment was bulky, had more straps than a hiking backpack, and was a ghastly truck-tire black. By comparison, the Atlas Elektra Treeline snowshoes are a gorgeous shade of purple. Normally I don’t consider myself so girly on matters like this, but when you have a big platform attached to your foot, and that platform’s color stands out against the bright white powder, the little visual touch makes a difference even to me.
Once the shock of their nice aesthetic wore off, another eye-opening feature surfaced: snowshoes, or at least the Atlas Elektra Treeline snowshoes, have come a long way in comfort and design. As you might imagine, a lot has changed in snowshoe technology during my 15-year hiatus from the winter activity. For starters, the aluminum frame of the Elektra Treelines is incredibly lightweight. While trekking through the forest for three hours, not once did my legs get tired — and that really says something in light of my not having gone snowshoeing for a decade and a half. In fact, the last time I went snowshoeing I was physically exhausted after 30 minutes, and I’d be the first one to admit I was probably in better health one year out of college than I am today. Clearly “lightweight” is a good feature for new or returning people like me, not just for snowshoeing buffs who go on extreme adventures.
Another feature I really appreciated with the Atlas Elektra Treeline snowshoes is their binding. Rather than requiring you to adjust multiple straps, the Elektra Treelines’ Wrapp Lux binding tightens with a single strap, and pulling up on that strap easily loosens the snowshoes from your boots. Jonas really liked the leather release strap on the Tubbs Boundary Peak snowshoes, but he noted a bit more difficulty getting them on. With the Wrapp Lux binding, putting the snowshoes on and off was equally quick and easy.
Walking on relatively groomed hiking trails and even a bit of backcountry areas is easy too. The Elektra Treelines have just the right amount of traction, with metal toe crampons and two parallel lines of metal grip just under the heel. The snowshoes won’t keep you steady on an area full of ice, but encountering the occasional small-scale frozen surface on a hike doesn’t pose the least bit of a problem.
I had to return the snowshoes after my review period, and the MSR pair I rented the next weekend just didn’t feel or perform the same. Maybe it’s because they were rentals. Maybe it’s because they were older. Or maybe it’s because they were simply not as good as the Atlas Elektra Treeline snowshoes. Having not been snowshoeing in 15 years, I can’t say for sure what the cause was. But I can say that my impressions of the Elektra Treeline snowshoes were very, very favorable.
The Atlas Elektra Treeline snowshoes were provided for review. All opinions and words are my own and honest, and the article contains no affiliate links.