Tubbs Flex Alp Snowshoe Review

in Featured, Snow by Carl H. Martens

The Tubbs Flex Alp snowshoe intrigued us a great deal from the moment we first received news of its arrival into the snowshoe market.  The Tubbs Flex series are lightweight (4.4 lbs), compact (the 8″ x 24″ design makes for easy storage), highly functional in all types of terrain, and extremely easy to use.

Visiting my parents’ house for the holidays provided me with my first opportunity to test out these shoes.  My father and I went out in single digit temps to a local favorite for cross country skiers, Nelson Lake which is located in Batavia, Illinois.  From the tracks in the snow it was evident skiers, hikers and other snowshoers had been out before us.  My father had on Atlas BC24 snowshoes and I wore the Tubbs Flex Alp snowshoe. 

tubbs flex alp snowshoe in snowThe bindings feature Tubbs’ ActiveFLEX binding which is gender specific and are some of the easiest and quick-setting bindings we have come across in review of snowshoes.  The bindings are simple; they feature a snap in front toe clip, Tubbs’ Active Flex technology, and a traditional heel strap.  The bindings are quickly set with just the pull of three straps and are released just as quick with quick release clips.  You can get in and out of these shoes in literally just seconds!

Unlike the majority of snowshoes on the market today, the Flex series by Tubbs have an innovative tail that falls to the ground with each step which prevents the typical snow fling most snowshoes experience.  In fact, my father had made a comment about the Atlas snowshoes and how they fling snow and that he didn’t notice the Tubbs doing this to me.

Tubbs’ website claims that the FLEX Tail design, “absorbs impact from heel strike and allows the foot to roll naturally from heel to toe”, we couldn’t agree more!  The FLEX Alp seemed to put less stress on joints and bones and the Torsion Deck design made hiking through snow and the rough terrain underneath the snow easy…this is supported scientifically through biomechanical testing and research through Colorado State University.  Final data from the research suggests that, “for a given distance between the heel of the foot and the tail of the snowshoe, the FLEX Tail™ design reduces the rate of ankle plantar flexion during early stance (i.e. just after heel strike) compared to other composite snowshoe designs. In other words, for a given snowshoe tail length, the rate at which the forefoot hits the ground after heel strike is slower in FLEX Series snowshoes than on other rigid snowshoes. This may translate into less stress on the muscles, bones and joints in your legs and result in a more comfortable and ergonomic snowshoeing experience.”

Technical Specifications:

FLEX TAIL(TM)

The ergonomically and biomechanically designed FLEX Tail allows the FLEX ALP to absorb shock from heel strike, reducing the amount of stress on your joints and allowing you to snowshoe farther, longer and with less stress on your body.

DECK

Torsion Deck design allows torsional articulation throughout the body of the snowshoe, enhancing traction and comfort on uneven terrain. At only 24″, the FLEX ALP’s Compact Design enhances maneuverability on packed to variable snow conditions.

BINDING

Gender specific, asymmetric ActiveFLEX(TM) binding featuring patented Control Wings(TM) provides lightweight control, support, comfort and ease of use. Binding fits up to size 13 boots. ActiveLift(TM) heel lift reduces calf fatigue on steep ascents.

TRACTION

Viper(TM) 2.0 carbon steel toe crampon with jagged tooth construction maximizes weighted traction and responsiveness. Micro-serrated 3D curved Traction Rails and two additional tail traction elements ensure superior side-hill grip on hard to icy conditions, while progressive Snow Brakes aid in downhill braking.