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Louis Garneau Blizzard III - Women's Review

This is a well-performing snowshoe with great traction suitable for many different kinds of terrain and snow
Louis Garneau Blizzard III - Women's
Photo: Louis Garneau
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Price:  $205 List
Pros:  Great traction, Boa binding system, comfortable binding, easy walking, quiet
Cons:  Boa system is more finicky and less repairable than a strap system, on the heavier side
Manufacturer:   Garneau
By Penney Garrett ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Feb 11, 2020
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79
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#3 of 8
  • Flotation - 30% 8
  • Traction - 25% 8
  • Stride Ergonomics - 15% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 7
  • Bindings - 15% 8

Our Verdict

The Louis Garneau Blizzard is a great all-around snowshoe suitable for a wide variety of terrain and skill levels. The angled multidirectional toe crampons and V-Rail back crampons make for a very secure walking experience even when the going gets steep and icy. Flotation in deep snow is excellent, and walking on a packed trail feels natural and uncomplicated. This is one of only two models in our review with a Boa binding system, a setup that some people love, though we liked other options in our review better both from an ease of use and a durability standpoint. All in all, however, we find the Blizzard to be a competent option with no significant drawbacks or shortcomings.

New Version Available

Louis Garneau released the Blizzard III, which is essentially the same snowshoe, only with some updated graphics. The updated version is pictured above.

December 2019

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Pros Great traction, Boa binding system, comfortable binding, easy walking, quietStellar traction, heel lifts for steep terrain, easy to use, add-on flotation tail compatibleGood traction and flotation, excellent binding system, heel liftAffordable, stellar traction, easy to use, versatile bindingsExcellent traction, comfortable bindings, fantastic stride ergonomics
Cons Boa system is more finicky and less repairable than a strap system, on the heavier sideExpensive, front of binding difficult to navigate with thick gloves on, side and back stepping are laboriousA bit heavy, tail flips up a lot of snow, toe shape feels a little wideLoud on packed snow, duck waddle for those with a narrower gait, straps do not stay in placeBinding system potentially isn't secure, doesn't float well unless you're very light
Bottom Line The Blizzard III with its impressive crampons and good flotation will make for happy snowshoeing no matter what the terrainIf superior traction and versatility out in the steep and variable backcountry terrain is what you're looking for, the Lightning Ascent delivers in spadesThe Montane is an easy to use snowshoe that offers great features for mountainous and technical terrainGreat traction and versatile bindings mean you will have no problem heading into a wide spectrum of snow types and terrain levels with the EvoThe Flex RDG offers fantastic traction and great stride ergonomics for women while being easy to use and comfortable
Rating Categories Louis Blizzard III Lightning Ascent Atlas Elektra Montane MSR Evo Trail Snowshoes Tubbs Flex RDG - Women's
Flotation (30%)
8
8
8
8
6
Traction (25%)
8
9
8
8
9
Stride Ergonomics (15%)
8
9
8
7
9
Ease Of Use (15%)
7
8
9
7
8
Bindings (15%)
8
9
9
8
7
Specs Louis Blizzard III Lightning Ascent Atlas Elektra... MSR Evo Trail... Tubbs Flex RDG -...
Uses Flat, rolling and mountain terrain All terrain All terrain Flat and variable rolling terrain Variable rolling and mountain terrain
Optimum Weight Load (per size) 22": 60-160 lbs
25": 100-200 lbs
22": up to 180 lbs
25": 120-210 lbs
23": 80-160 lbs
27": 120-200+ lbs
180 lbs 80-150 lbs
Weight (per pair) 4.4 lbs 3.8 lbs 4.4 lbs 3.5 lbs without tails
4.4 lbs with tails
3.5 lbs
Binding Mount Full Full Fixed Full Full
Binding System Boa binding Paragon Binding Wrapp Swift binding DuoFit CustomWrap binding featuring the Boa Closure System
Crampon Traxion HCS front crampon & V-rail crampon DTX Crampon All-trac toe crampon Steel traction rails and brake bars Traction rails and carbon steel toe crampon
Frame Material 6061-T6 Aluminum ErgoStream Aluminum Aluminum V-frame Martensitic steel Plastic frame and decking with steel traction rails
Deck Material EDGE molded polymer Nylon Nytex decking Polypropylene Plastic advanced Torsion Deck
Surface Area (for tested size) 189 in² 180 in² 176 in² 174 in² without tails, 220 in² with 151 in²
Dimensions 8 x 25" 7.25 x 25" 8.5 x 27" 8 x 22" 8 x 22"
Flotation Tails Available? No Yes, 5" No Yes, 6" No
Load with Tails (per size) n/a 22": up to 240 lbs
25": up to 270 lbs
n/a Up to 250 lbs n/a
Men's and Women's Versions? Yes Yes No, women's specific Unisex Yes
Sizes Available 22", 25" 22", 25" 23", 27" 22" 22"
Size Tested 25" 25" 27" 22" plus 6" add-on tails 22"

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Blizzard is a well-tractioned snowshoe that all our testers enjoyed. From the aggressive crampons and excellent float to the fast Boa binding system, this is an excellent buy to consider for both packed trails and breaking out on fresh new snow.

Performance Comparison


Excellent in both deep snow and on packed trails, the Blizzard is an...
Excellent in both deep snow and on packed trails, the Blizzard is an easy shoe to enjoy.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Flotation


With the largest surface area of all the models in our review, it's no surprise that the Blizzard floats very well. Despite the size, the footprint does not feel cumbersome, and it helps keep the feet steady and secure even in fluffy fresh powder. Sometimes a large surface area can increase the weight enough to impede flotation instead of improving it, but this shoe strikes the perfect balance between the two without causing walking to feel awkward.

The large surface area on this mighty shoe means it floats extremely...
The large surface area on this mighty shoe means it floats extremely well.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Traction


The Blizzard excels in this category due to its well-conceived design. The high carbon steel crampons in front are multidirectional and angled outward strategically. The back V-shaped crampons are also burly and help solidify your sticking power, whether you're going uphill, downhill, or traversing. Even the clips that attach the decking to the outer tube are ribbed for extra grip.

There are other models in our review that have teeth down the entirety of their sides instead of a mostly smooth tube, giving them even better traction. But for most users and most situations, the Blizzard won't let you down.

With aggressive well-designed crampons and ribbed deck clips, you...
With aggressive well-designed crampons and ribbed deck clips, you will have no problem sticking confidently to all kinds of snow in this shoe.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Stride Ergonomics


Despite the large surface area on this shoe, it's quite easy to walk in, especially in deep snow. The width keeps you steady, and the full binding mount means that the tails fall away as you walk. This can feel odd at first if it's new to you, but it quickly becomes second nature. While stepping over rocks or logs and backing up can be tricky with this style of shoe, walking along a trail or, especially, through virgin snow drifts, is pretty dreamy.

The Blizzard is quite easy and natural to walk in, especially in...
The Blizzard is quite easy and natural to walk in, especially in deep snow.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Ease of Use


This model is one of two in our review with a Boa binding. Boa systems are easy and fast to use once you learn their quirks. But, they are much bulkier than other shoes that we tested, so consider how packable you need your snowshoes to be. The Boa dial can also be hard to pull up and open if you have particularly cold hands or thick gloves. They are also prone to icing in some conditions, though we didn't personally experience this.

While some people love Boa bindings, we found the thin wires laced through the system finicky at times. It is also easy to strap each foot in a little differently if you don't pay attention to exactly where the ball of your foot is sitting when tightening everything up. Finally, the back heel strap is a tooth-and-buckle system that can be awkward to cinch tight.

While Boa bindings can be efficient, they also mean a bulkier more...
While Boa bindings can be efficient, they also mean a bulkier more complicated system.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Bindings


Honestly, part of the security of a binding system is psychological. It should inspire confidence and not leave you wondering about durability or strength. While we had no issues with the bindings on the Blizzard in our time with them, the thin wires that lace up the system do not feel as reliable as most of the burlier straps.

If something happened to your Boa system during a hike, you would be hard-pressed to make a field repair. If you plan to be out in extremely remote places, we recommended a more straightforward system where you could break a strap, maybe even two, and still make it back to your car.

While the cables lacing through this system are undoubtedly very...
While the cables lacing through this system are undoubtedly very strong, they are also very thin and would be all but impossible to repair on the fly.
Photo: Penney Garrett

All that aside, this is a very comfortable system once you get everything situated. The padded areas that wrap around the foot help distribute pressure evenly and are also warm. While other, more strappy bindings might be more secure, they can also feel constrictive and are easy to over-torque and create pressure points, especially with less rigid shoes or boots.

The soft padded bindings on this snowshoe hug the feet evenly and...
The soft padded bindings on this snowshoe hug the feet evenly and are comfortable with all types of footwear.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Value


These are an investment, though we feel they are generally worth the price for what you get. However, there are also cheaper options that are a bit more versatile and durable.

Large surface area, well-designed crampons, and a heel lift for...
Large surface area, well-designed crampons, and a heel lift for steep hills means this shoe is great for a lot of different applications.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Conclusion


All in all, we very much enjoyed our time with the Blizzard and would recommend them for a lot of different applications. They float well, are comfortable and easy to walk in, and provide confidence-inspiring traction. The Boa bindings may not be the most durable or appropriate for deeply remote areas, but we had no problems with them during our testing period and like how well they fit a variety of differently shaped and sized boots.

Off we go into the beauty with the capable Blizzard.
Off we go into the beauty with the capable Blizzard.
Photo: Penney Garrett

Penney Garrett