The snow is deep and you’re tired of breaking through the crust with each step. Enter, the snowshoe! It distributes weight over a broad area, so each footfall doesn’t become an “ankle freeze.”
Historians believe Central Asians living 4,000-6,000 years ago invented this solution to staying above the surface. Originally, snowshoes were hardwood frames with a webbing of rawhide stretched across the opening. Modern snowshoes are similar, but are more often made of lightweight plastic, metal or synthetic materials.
Later designs added a raised toe for easier movement.
The inventors of these nifty shoes diverged early on. As people moved north into Scandinavia, the design morphed into the Nordic ski. Other groups moved northeast, crossing the Bering Strait into North America. There is a long history of snowshoe use among Native Americans.
You may never have had the chance to use a real snowshoe, so you should take advantage of the fresh snowfall and the shoes provided by the Eastman Nature Center to head out for a charming outdoor adventure. While hiking by the creek and discovering new parts of Elm Creek Park, your feet will be lighter than air when floating on the fresh powder. See small wildlife, or just enjoy the views and fresh air.
IF YOU GO
Where: Eastman Nature Center, 13351 Elm Creek Road, Dayton;
When: January 1, 1–3 p.m.
Who: All ages; children under 17 must be accompanied by a registered adult
Cost: $5 per person, 20 percent discount for groups of four or more
Info: Visit the website here.