Wednesday, December 9


In no way an expert on snowshoes here, but they have been a great addition to the winter gear arsenal and may provide some of the lowest impact ways to get outside in the snow; after the initial purchase... We had the greatest day out zooming around Merck Forest a few years ago; no air movement but was well below zero. Running downhill in powder is out of this world... almost a low-gravity feel. As I say, not deeply knowledgeable about it all but have often seen serviceable 'shoes for around the $100 mark. There are a few big name brands (Tubbs in the NE who helped create this new market, and Atlas in NW; Redfeather, Faber, etc...) but also a bunch of smaller outfits (Maine Guide, Havlick, Crescent Moon). Unless you are a sponsored sprint 'shoe champion I can't see a reason to spend much over $100, but the modern bindings over traditional shoes like these Green Mountain Snowshoes via LLBean look pretty retro-tasty. The pisser with old-old bindings is if your heel pops out of the straps; trying to fix iced leather straps and buckles with bare fingers is no fun. The Green Mountain marque I believe is a reference to a now defunct snowshoe maker, from VT, though the use of Green Mountain as a model name for NE products is fairly generic. Green Mountain may even be a style of snowshoe as I see many brands carry a Green Mountain model... anyone?? This LLBean model is made for them by Iverson in Michigan.

Wide ranging potted history of snowshoeing and explanation of types of traditional snowshoes reprinted below, via GV Snowshoes.

In Paddle-to-the-Sea the Nipigon area boy sports the spear shape shoes as below, which jibes with notes from above.

In 1915 the first International Snowshoe Convention was held in Lewiston, Maine; and that same year the American Snowshoer's Union was founded. This union functions in a manner similar tn the Canadian Snowshoer's Union by furnishing support and guidance to slightly over twenty member clubs located in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. -via Prater, G., & Felkley, D. (2002). Snowshoeing: [from novice to master]. Mountaineers outdoor expert series. Seattle, Wash: Mountaineers Books.

Finally, some pics below from the Life Archive, a 1950 shoot at the International Snowshoe Convention, in Lewiston, ME. This photographer Joel Yale seems to crop up a lot in my Life searches... off the beaten track stuff.