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Karen Lee Ensley | 05.01.2019

MSR Women’s Lightning Ascent Snowshoes specs

  • Unrivaled Traction: 360° Traction frames deliver edge-to-edge grip, and new durable steel DTX crampons provide serious bite in challenging conditions
  • Secure Attachment: Two-piece, independently conforming Women’s PosiLock AT bindings create the most secure, freeze-resistant attachment for smaller footwear
  • All-Condition Adaptability: Modular Flotation tails allow you the maneuverability of a smaller, primary snowshoe with the added, on-demand flotation of optional, 5-inch (13-cm) tails
  • Uphill Efficiency: Ergo™ Televators reduce fatigue and increase traction on the steeps with an ergonomic design that engages with a flick of a pole grip
  • Low-Profile: Narrow frames are ideal for women, those with a narrow gait, or anyone seeking the lightest snowshoe possible


Where to Buy

$224.95 • MSR | Amazon | Moosejaw | Backcountry | REI

The Bottom Line: The Women’s Lightning Ascent Snowshoes are a welcome relief to bulkier snowshoes. Designed for a narrow gait, these snowshoes enable the user to take a more comfortable, natural stride. The combination of the sharp edges along the frame and the durable steel DTX crampons creates an extremely strong grip, yet the snowshoes are comfortably lightweight.


The women's MSR Lightning Ascent. Karen Lee Ensley.

For years, I snowshoed with the same pair of snowshoes. I needed to adjust my natural gait when wearing them, but I thought that was simply the nature of all snowshoes. When I won a prize of a credit to MSR, I noticed the Women’s Lightning Ascent Snowshoes were designed for a narrow gait. Walking with a wider than normal stride with my old snowshoes was awkward, so I decided to give the Women’s Lightning Ascent Snowshoes a try. It only took a few paces to notice a huge improvement in walking comfort due to the design for a narrow gait. After snowshoeing for a longer time, I noticed my legs felt much fresher than they would have in the wider-style snowshoes.

Another great feature is the grip. The strong crampons and the sharp edges combine to give an extremely firm grip. My first adventure with the snowshoes was on approximately 4 inches of fresh snow with a layer of older, icy, and crusty snow that the park ranger said would not have been suitable for snowshoeing. The Women’s Lightning Ascent Snowshoes performed like champs. Their strong grip, even on hills, made for an easy snowshoe. The Ergo Televators, intended for use on steep hills, are a great addition when conditions warrant them.

The design of the bindings make the snowshoes easy to put on and take off. I found some of the straps to be too long for my waterproof hiking boots, but the long straps will be useful with wider, heavier snow boots. The pair of snowshoes comes with protectors to cover one set of the sharp spikes, so the snowshoes can be carried together without damage. Two wide straps conveniently hold the snowshoes together for ease in carrying and storage. The snowshoes are available in lengths of 22 and 25 inches and come in a choice of two colors, gunmetal and raspberry, which is featured here.

If you’re looking for snowshoes for a narrow gait with an extra firm grip, check out MSR’s Women’s Lightning Ascent Snowshoes.


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