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Outdoor Skills

Snowshoe Construction: Build Your Own

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Course Overview

Carve, bend, and lace your own pair of wooden snowshoes in the traditional Ojibwe style. Pointed at both ends, this snowshoe design is efficient for travel through both wooded areas or across frozen lakes and open expanses. During the evening session, students will steam bend and shape ash frames. For the remaining three days of class, students will mortise in crosspieces with simple hand tools and learn traditional techniques for lacing their shoes using lightweight, hollowed nylon cord. Traditional bindings will be provided and their uses will be covered in detail. The end result is a satisfying reflection of craftsmanship and skills handed down through the generations. This course is scheduled for a full three days in order to allow enough time for students to completely finish lacing both snowshoes and to return home with a finished project, to provide for a comfortable pace throughout the class, and to create opportunities to participate in parts of the Winterers' Gathering and Arctic Film Festival. Students who work quickly or feel confident in completing their work at home could plan to leave earlier than 5pm on the last day. This course is open to youth ages 14+ if accompanied by a full-paying adult. Pairs can choose to make one set of snowshoes and pay one materials fee, or construct two sets and pay two materials fees. Call to register. Students are highly encouraged though not required to attend a session on Thursday evening to bend their frames. The frames will set-up on Friday and class will re-commence Saturday-Monday to complete the project, allowing students to go hiking, take another course or take in films and speakers during the Winterers' Gathering on Friday. Students unable to attend the Thursday evening session will have frames prepared for them by the instructor.


Required Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Leather gloves

Optional Tools

  • Square
  • Block plane

Session Information

This course is part of Winterers’ Gathering 2022! Plan to stick around for a weekend filled with northern stories, films, and more. The event begins on Thursday, November 17 and concludes on Sunday, November 20.


Thu, Nov 17th, 2022  –  Mon, Nov 21st, 2022

Course Details

Hours: Day 1: 5-8pm; Days 2-4: 9am-5pm
Tuition: $340.00
Materials fee: $65.00

Meet the Instructor

North House Folk School photo of instructor, John Beltman
John Beltman
Suomi, MN

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Snowshoe Construction: Build Your Own