2 more fur hats and westover snowshoes

First, the last of the fun fur hats made for Kate’s hat campaign. They all got mailed today.

the Berroco Sizzle wasn’t as bad to work as true fun fur

What’s a Westover? There is about nothing on the internet about them, so I’ll tell you. It’s a type of snowshoe! Looks like a huron or michigan, but it’s really a modified bear paw with a short stubby tail. I am not entirely sure how they are different, I think the bear paws have wider longer web section. They’re great for maneuvering in the woods, while the others are better for open trails.

These were made by Floyd Westover of 5 East 6th Avenue, Gloversville NY. How do I know this?

I got these maybe in 1985 or so in Boonville NY. I forget if they were in the window of the diner or the barber shop. We were on our way to winter camp at Queer Lake near Old Forge. It was very deep snow! The snowshoes made it easier than the skis that I’d brought along.

This is what I know about them. People who work in the very snowy woods like the bear paws because they float well on the deep snow. Floyd modified these to be a bit narrower (making it easier to walk) and to have a short tail (this helps you keep the snowshoes in a straight line and it helps keep the snow from flipping up your back). One would think this was a great idea. However, one of the reasons people would have been out in the snowy woods was to feed their families out of hunting season, and if you were one of a very few with the newfangled snowshoes, you were more likely to be caught as a poacher. So they never really caught on.

Nowadays, mostly what you’ll find are another modified bear paw, the green mountain bear paw, made famous by tubbs. You can still get them in wood with neoprene lacings (like mine) or rawhide, but they are more easily found in aluminum with a neoprene deck versus lace. They are also good for snowy woods. But, as we found out yesterday, the wider type don’t sink as deep in the snow. I broke some trail on that walk! I remembered not liking them so much because I thought they are a bit too big for me, meaning I had to take steps about an inch farther than my usual stride. But this wasn’t an issue yesterday. They would do well with new bindings though.

Can ya tell I don’t have much other knitting related news? dh wore his new sweater to work today!

One Response so far

  1. 1

    Bob Look said,

    February 11, 2010 @ 11:47 am

    Many thanks for your post about the Westover Showshoes. I grew up doing winter mountaineering in the late sixties early seventies. I bought my Westovers then when they were truly revolutionary. I still have mine but have not had a good chance to use them in thirty years. I particularly enjoyed your comments about illegal hunters not wanting to use them.

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