History of Snowshoeing
Snowshoeing is known to have been practiced in central Asia about 6,000 years ago. It is believed that as these ancestors to the Inuits and Native Americans, migrated from Asia to North America, they brought the snowshoes with them, which were modified slabs of wood. It was not too long before this evolved into the white ash framed snowshoes with the raw hide lacing that we associate with snowshoeing today.
Until the 1970’s, snowshoes were used primarily for employment and survival rather than recreation, and the primary materials utilized in the construction were wood (white ash) and rawhide. The wooden snowshoes are generally categorized in three different styles or shapes. The oval shaped bear paw was designed for use in forested conditions where maneuverability was most important. The truly long (46+ inches) Yukon snowshoe was developed for traversing deep powder-covered open areas, common in the Northwest. The beavertail seemed to take advantage of the best features of both the bear paw and the Yukon, and has been utilized in all types of snow conditions.
The present day snowshoe has little resemblance to the snowshoes of the bygone era.
They are made of light weight material and have a variety of optional components designed for all types of people and all types conditions.
Snowshoeing has become one of the most popular winter activities in northern countries.