Residents attended a traditional snowshoe-making workshop, learning how to construct their own snowshoes. Instructor John Randall walked them through the various types of snowshoes, taught a little about safety and helped his students learn the type of materials they need, as well as which knots to tie.
Pausing during the class, Randall reflected on the past.
“We’ve been doing this for years, it’s important to not forget the old ways of doing things,” he said. “This is traditional, they’re hand-made, there are no machines here, we make them the same way they made them (years ago).”
Randall said as long as we have snow, we’ll need snowshoes.
“It takes a bit of time to learn how to make them, it took me a while too,” he said. “But once you figure it out you can make something that is better than store-bought and something you can be proud of.”
Conway Locke agrees. The Deer Lake resident said he took the workshop because he had always wanted to learn it.
“I don’t like the store-bought snowshoes, I guess I’m just a traditional kind of guy,” Locke said. “The store-bought ones are only good if the snow is already beat down.”
Locke said he likes traditional ways and he wanted to not only learn how to make them, but he wanted the skills to fix them as well.
Dayna Gillard considers herself traditional as well. Originally from Cape Breton, Gillard professed a love for “all things Newfoundland.”
“Anything that has to do with Newfoundland culture, I want to know about it, whether it’s this or codfish or salmon, whatever,” she said. “I really love doing this old stuff.”
Economic Development Centre cultural coordinator Mark Seaward said the workshop was part of a wellness initiative, which will see other workshops coming up, such as traditional building.
“I think it’s important to keep (the old ways) going,” he said. “Young people may not have much of an interest in these things but if you get at least one, you have a chance of keeping it alive.”
Eleven-year-old Joshua Stuckless held up his snowshoe, stating how much fun it was to make and that he plans on using them.