The volcanic massif has an average base diameter of more than40 kilometres, which extends from the coastline towards inland Sicily, and this position bestows upon it changeable weather which is characterised by strong winds and abundant rainfall. In the winter months in general the volcano is blanketed by a thick covering of snow which softens the roughness of the lava fields and makes places accessible which are difficult to get to during the rest of the year. The Etna snows, given the proximity to the sea, offer a higher level of humidity, and the high temperature ranges between day and night rapidly transform the snow. Furthermore in the high areas the slopes become icy which require the user to use classical alpine techniques using crampons and axes. In an insular area like this, in the winter months the volcano offers enthusiasts the chance to move about in an ‘alpine’ context using for their progression, according to taste and ability, the following: snowshoes, cross-country skis, alpine skiing, crampons and axes.
Thanks to their ease, snowshoes have become much more widespread in recent years, and Etna, with its great number of environments which sweep across wooded areas to expanses of desert in the high areas, is an area which lends itself greatly to the use of this ‘old-fashioned’ equipment.