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Climbers

Jan 21, 2021

The Great Gear Review: TSL Outdoor Symbioz Hyperflex Elite Snowshoes

A hyper-modern twist on 5000 year-old technology brings new enjoyment to snowshoeing.

WRITTEN BY

Cat Coughran

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TSL Outdoor’s Symbioz Hyperflex Elite Snowshoes (279.00 USD) – I have tried many snowshoe brands over the years, thanks to producing the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Running Series. I never quite found a pair that jazzed me about snowshoeing. Even though I am an avid runner/hiker the other nine months of the year, I always preferred my skis for work or play during the snowy season. However, after trying the Symbioz Hyperflex Elite snowshoes, I might have found my snowshoe match.

Exploring the snowy montane. Lightweight plastic and stainless steel combine forces to make a fast and fun snowshoe. Photo credit: Shawn Curry

They arrived at my door the night before the scheduled review trip, so I didn’t have time to inspect them before heading to the mountains. Unboxing them right on the spot with the photographer standing by meant a quick learning curve. When I pulled the “Hyperflex Elite” out of the box, my first wow experience with them was the awesome carrying bag– nice touch! Wrangling snowshoes, or any winter gear for that matter, is always a challenge, but the sleek little carrying bag solves that problem. Then came the test of figuring out the bindings. At 12 degrees Fahrenheit, my bare hands wished I could have figured this out at home. Despite the instruction booklet being not so helpful, the bindings themselves are pretty intuitive. Better still, they are great once you master the ratchet system. There are quite a few features in the binding system that make the Hyperflex Elite rock: an adjustable footbed that locks into your shoe size, a memory lock system at the front of the binding, a lateral adjust system that snugs up quickly, and an ankle pre-adjust system that enables you to center the “comfort pad” on your instep and set it permanently. 

Intuitive bindings are designed to “set and forget” making it easier to get out for subsequent excursions. Photo credit: Shawn Curry

It is out on the trail where the Hyperflex Elite shines! To sum it up, they are light, fast, and dare I say, nimble. Snowshoeing on the front range of the Colorado Rockies often means hard-packed, icy, and steep terrain. Traction is not a problem, thanks to the stainless steel, bi-directional crampons underfoot, and the interchangeable, mountaineering-style stainless steel crampons down the tail, When faced with steep terrain, the pole-activated “Easy Ascent” heel lift incorporated into the binding makes ascents stable and relaxed. The Hyperflex Elite is a bit less functional in deeper snow, but I still managed to navigate hip-deep snow without floundering. 

I have now taken the Symbioz Hyperflex Elite Snowshoes out on a second, much longer excursion. Here is where they truly excel! The carbon-reinforced, lightweight frame bends and flexes purposefully to add energy to every step. My usually-faster-snowshoeing partner was having trouble keeping up with me on my speedy new snowshoes. They have invigorated my desire to snowshoe more, earning their place next to my skis. 

With an aggressive underfoot crampon, four pairs of stainless steel blades, the Symbioz Hyperflex Elite is a star snowshoe for icy, steep terrain. Photo credit: Cat Coughran

About TSL Outdoor

In 1981, TSL was founded in the heart of the Alps, in Thônes (France), and they have been contributing to snowshoe innovation ever since. To learn more about this sponsor, the Symbioz Hyperflex Elite, and all the other great gear they have, click here to visit their website.

Please note:  This review is the honest opinion of the writer. TSL Outdoor is a sponsor of Great Gear Reviews and Giveaways and has paid a sponsorship fee for program promotion and provided products for review and giveaway. 


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