Around the time of the ‘Great Minnesota Get-Together’, also known as the Minnesota State Fair, we northerners know it’s the time of year to start thinking about our snowy season gear. I know of several nature centers, folk schools, and winter enthusiast gatherings that are already planning their winter classes and events. One of our favorite pastimes is teaching and helping fellow DIYers teach the craft of lacing your own snowshoes. This is a popular and growing craft that has become accessible to many. At times this project can be frustrating, but it's a special feeling when you’ve tied off the last strand of your very own snowshoes.
Leading A Class
The best class-size that I've found is about 6 students per instructor with a max size of 12, although I’ve done several small group classes of 2 to 6 students. Like any class, there seems to always be the one or two star students who only need to be provided the basic instructions. Then of course there's the one or two individuals who perhaps have underestimated the challenge and even start to become a bit disenchanted with the social experience. These folks need a bit more help and encouragement throughout the day or weekend. Everyone else kind of fits somewhere in the middle. All told, it's not very often anyone leaves without completing a shoe and confidence in completing the final steps.
It's fun to see the ambition of the beginner as well as the confidence in the experienced snowshoe weaver. I have a colleague, friend and employee who does a vast majority of the lacing of our snowshoes that we sell ready to use. We typically count on her to assist in the snowshoe lacing classes, while providing plenty of color commentary and updates of local gossip.
Most of the time for a successful snowshoe class, all that is needed is some time and willingness to learn and help others. Although, the most popular class that I've held was hosted by the local brewery. The access to the craft taps came in handy around hour number 4 for several students who truly needed a break.
Make Your Own!
Aside from classes held by instructors, our kits include instructions that many people buy individually from our website (or affiliate www.snowshoe.com) and complete the task on their own or with their families. We are always here for support and we love to hear about your experience and sharing of pictures!
We have started to catch wind of several snowshoe lacing (make your own) classes this coming fall. We are busy in the wood shop building up inventory for several orders that are starting to come in. Check out the links below to find how to sign up for a class near you.
Many State Parks in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota currently plan classes and rent snowshoes. Nature centers, folk schools, art guild organizations coordinate them as well.
If you are interested in starting your own class or wanting information to pitch it to your local organization, don’t hesitate to call or email us for support.
Upcoming snowshoe classes in northern MN will be scheduled soon at the following websites:
Winter Camping Symposium - Sturgeon Lake, MN - October 19-23
Marine Mills Folk School - St. Croix, MN - November 2023
Warroad Folk School - Warroad, MN, - December 2023Ely Folk School - Ely, MN - January 2023