SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Snowshoe Makers and Manufacturers That Were

Out of business snowshoe companies

Time spent at antique shops and on eBay has revealed a number of names of snowshoe makers and manufacturers no longer in operation. The following listing does not pretend to be comprehensive. Readers are invited – and in fact encouraged! – to issue correctives and addendums to the below.

Aigle NoirThe GV Snowshoes site lists Aigle Noir as a 1984 acquisition. The response to a letter on p. 11 in Backpacker’s 13 February 1976 issue (vol. 4, no. 1) gives the company’s address as 42 de la Passerelle in Loretteville.

Browning – I have seen online photos and references to Browning snowshoes. One photo makes visible stamping on the toe-bar that reads “Made in Canada.” [Added to post on 01 December 2013.]

Chestnut CanoeThe New Brunswick-based Chestnut Canoe Company was also a manufacturer of snowshoes.

Huron

1939 Chestnut Canoe snowshoes.

In the course of a November 30th 2013 Google+ thread, Steve Kilbride kindly pointed me to a webpage offering information on the building in Fredericton that formerly housed the Chestnut Canoe Factory. The page notes that in addition to producing canoes, the company “also supplied the armed forces with thousands of pairs of snowshoes.”

(Carl) Heilman – Sole proprietor Carl Heilman made his first pair of snowshoes after relocating to the Adirondacks in the early 1970s. He currently makes his living as a photographer, having left the snowshoe-making business a decade and a half ago (pm with C. Heilman, 30 April 2012).

Henry Rossi Limited Henry Ross Limited – I received a pair of Huron snowshoes purchased at the Brimfield Antique Show for my birthday in the summer of 2011. A label gives Loretteville as the location of the company. Beyond this I know nothing of this company nor have I seen any other sets of snowshoes bearing its mark. [Edited on 22 December 2013.]

raquettes snowshoes

My Henry Ross Limited Hurons.

Kabir KoubaThe GV Snowshoes site lists Kabir Kouba as a 1985 acquisition. I have visited the Kabir Kouba Falls at Wendake and so assume that the company was located in the vicinity.

Wendake Tarahumara pack

At Kabir Kouba Falls.

C.A. Lund – I have come across online references to World War II era snowshoes produced for the United States Army by C.A. Lund. The location of the company is given in some of the references as Prescott, Wisconsin, and in others as Hastings, Minnesota. The Lund name would seem to associate the products with the Northland Ski Company. [Added to post on 01 December 2013.]

Sherpa – Matt Sutkoski has already contributed an excellent article-length history of Sherpa and Claire Walter an excellent profile of company founders Bill and Gene Prater for Snowshoe Magazine, from which I summarize. The Northwest-based company came into existence in the early 1970s. The design features now taken for granted by snowshoers—metal frames, synthetic decking, and crampon-integrated bindings—became available to consumers via the Sherpa brand. The company went out of existence in the 1990s after changing hands a couple of times.

Sherpas can still be had on eBay and elsewhere, and British Columbia-based company Arctic Trekker manufactures compatible replacement parts. Just a couple of weeks ago I spotted a pair of Sherpas in the wild myself!

snowshoes Mount Greylock

February 2013, Sherpas in the wild!

Snocraft – I have spotted a handful of pairs of Snocraft models for sale in antique shops. A page at the Garland Manufacturing Company’s website states that Garland acquired the Norway, Maine-based Snocraft in 1950, at which time a single employee worked repairing snowshoes. Over the course of the next twenty-four years activities at Snocraft expanded to include the manufacture of snowshoes, wooden sleds, and children’s skis. The webpage states that the “division was sold” in 1974 but does not state to whom or whether it continued operations afterwards.

In a 27 March 2013 comment to this post Country Ways co-owner Greg Wilcox noted that his company had purchased the remainder of the Snocraft stock “about 5 years ago.” [Added to post on 28 March 2013.]

bear paw snowshoe

Snocraft elbow w/ neoprene lacing.

Torpedo I spotted a pair of Torpedo snowshoe decorating the wall of an outdoors store in Western North Carolina last fall. The stamping gave the place of manufacture of as Lac Megantic. (Added to post on 28 March 2013.)

Highland Hiker

Pair of 12 × 42 Torpedo snowshoes.

(Floyd) Westover – Sole proprietor Floyd Westover of Upstate New York pioneered two important snowshoe design features. In the 1930s he combined an ovular frame with a swallowtail to create a frame shape which came to be known as the Modified Bearpaw and in 1964 he substituted neoprene for rawhide lacing. He sold the rights to his design and to the use of his name to Iverson in 1964 (“Inventor sells rights”). Fellow Upstater Ray Green was a student of Westover’s (Archer 2000).

Floyd Westover snowshoes

A pair of Westovers.

Matthew Timothy Bradley

Works cited

Archer, Rick. 2000. “Broadalbin snowshoe maker one of a dying breed.” The Daily Gazette, January 16, sec. Focus on Fulton and Montgomery counties, pp. 1, 6.

Inventor sells rights on 1930 snowshoes.” 1981. The Hour, March 23, p. 12.

“Snowshoes & Snowshoeing.” 2012. www.CarlHeilman.com. http://www.carlheilman.com/snowshoe.html.

21 thoughts on “Snowshoe Makers and Manufacturers That Were

  1. We bought the remainder of the Snocraft about 5 years ago which consisted of a few hundred pair of frames and quite a good number of the bending forms. While most all of the frames have been sold we do have Snocraft forms available.

    • I have three pairs of Snocraft snowshoes that belonged to my Grandfather. They were made in Norway, Maine in 1943 and he called them Pickerel snowshoes as they are 52″ long by 10″ wide. They’re in mint condition as he always took great care of them. Any idea of value on them? I wouldn’t part with them as he taught me woodscraft here in the Catskills Mtns. in the 1950’s until his death in 1962.

    • Greg Can you tell me did old snow crafts use water buffalo hides? I have old pair the hide is near perfect just curious what material the rawhide might have been?55X10.leather is stiff but the hide looks his so impeccable .Txs
      Molly

  2. I have two snocraft folding camp chairs in perfect condition. Any idea what they are worth, or someone that would like to buy them.

  3. I have a pair of Snocraft Inc. Norway Maine USA, serial number 12764. It looks like there is a name stamped on it. Do you know what the name that is stamped on them is and value of these would be?They are 57 and a half by 10 and a half. Thank you

  4. I have a set of snowshoes that My father In-law gave me that were his fathers in the Yukon, He believes they are about 100 years old. I am not able to find then on line would you be able to help me find out more about them or where I would be able to , They are 61 inches by 10 inch and have a stamp on then True Temper Norway products also have Alaska Trapper-(looks like) 10-T

    • Sounds like a wonderful piece, Samantha! I don’t believe I have ever heard of True Temper snowshoes myself. One person who does know a lot on the topic is C.P Nisben. Nisben may be contacted via the following address:
      P O. Box 1772
      Ravenswood
      Conway, N.H. 03818

      Good hunting, and please do not hesitate to ask me further questions or to share photos from iPhoto.

  5. I purchased a Snocraft coffee table at a yard sale. The owner said she bought it at LLBean over forty years ago. Do you have any information that would confirm this?

  6. I have a pair of snocraft snowshoes that belonged to my uncle. the serial number stamped on them is 0094. Does anyone have any idea what the value of these would be?

  7. I recently found a pair of wood and rawhide snowshoes marked Thrift Brand Norway Maine. They are 12X42. Can anyone tell me something about the maker?
    Thanks!

  8. EARLY US C.A. LUND SNOWSHOES SNOW SHOES MILITARY WWII
    I found a pair of thes at a second hand store. Can any one tell me what they might be worth. Thanks oh thes are in great shape

  9. I have a pair of wood and hide snowshoes which belonged to my father. They are at least 60 years old and marked Bates Snowshoes Matagama Ontario. 16X48. Does anyone know anything about this company? I can’t find any information about it online.

  10. I have a pair of snowshoes from my grandfather. They are marked chestnut 13X48. I can’t find them anywhere on the internet. I also have a pair of 14×48 marked village Huron que. that I believe to be Indian made. Do you have any idea of how old these snowshoes are?

  11. I have a pair of Chestnut Canoe Co. Limited snowshoes from the Hudson Bay company bought in 1965 in mint condition. can anyone tell me what they are worth. Thx

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