Snowshoe-Making Class One Way to Celebrate an Active #MiShoeYear

Is 2016 going to be your year? The year you finally commit to being active for your health’s sake?

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wants to help. The agency is encouraging residents to make a New Year’s resolution to get fit in the great outdoors using their own two feet.

“Whether they want to walk 10,000 steps a day, learn how to cross country ski, or commit to hiking 30 minutes every Tuesday, we simply want them to declare 2016 as #MiShoeYear,” said Maia Turek, Promotional Specialist for the DNR’s Parks and Recreation division.

If you dread working out inside, this is the movement for you. A great way to embrace the winter chill and snow is in a pair of snowshoes. According to Snowshoe Magazine, a 150-pound person can burn up to 450 calories per hour of snowshoeing.

Laingsburg resident Clyde Risdon thinks traditional wooden models are far superior to what you can purchase in stores today.

“I don’t care for the modern ones. They don’t hold you up as well,” Risdon said.

Along with his family, Risdon owns Risdon Rigs, a manufacturer and seller of sled dog equipment, carts, harnesses, snow hooks and more. The company sells snowshoe-making kits that you can complete at home, but Risdon is also partnering with the DNR to offer a series of classes you can take to make your own under his expert guidance.

Risdon said snow doesn’t stick to traditional snowshoes made of wood and that they’re quieter than modern versions made of aluminum. In a series of two four-hour classes, Risdon will have you walking out the door with your very own traditional pair of snowshoes. The process is tedious, which is why the class is broken up into two sessions.

“Your mind will start going crazy,” he said.

The handmade snowshoes can be used for hiking throughout the winter, given as gifts, or even as decoration. Risdon said he doesn’t get out snowshoeing as much in the winter months due to bad knees, but that many members of his family still enjoy strapping on a pair for winter work and play.

The origins of the first snowshoes are a bit murky, but Risdon said no matter where they first popped up, “it’s a deal where necessity invented them.”

While they may not be necessary for enjoying the great outdoors today, they’re definitely fun and making your own pair could be just the thing to motivate you to stay active this winter.

Learn more about Risdon’s classes here. Find out how you can join the #MiShoeYear movement with these upcoming activities.

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Photo courtesy of Risdon Rigs; USFWSmidwest

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