“I’ve been a woodsman my entire life. I’ve hunted and trapped and spent time out in the woods since I was a kid. In the winter, we always had to use snowshoes and pack baskets, and as I got older I took an interest in making my own. I originally started making snowshoes when I was in my late thirties, when I was kind of going through a midlife crisis.There was an old fella here in Maine called Dick McCubrey who made snowshoes – one of the last guys left – and I asked him to make me a pair. He said, “Listen, why don’t I teach you how to make your own?” I said, “Gee, that sounds like a great idea”. From him, I learnt the basics for a pretty standard working snowshoe, and that’s where it all started.
People tend to overlook the importance of snowshoes for the spread of civilization. They often don’t realize the incredible history and impact snowshoes have had. They go way back to the original expansion of civilization; for so long, travel was restricted to canoes, but the snowshoe opened up areas that were otherwise totally inaccessible. “
Bill Mackowski is considered to be among the last snowshoe makers. He makes snowshoes and pack baskets by hand in his workshop on his farm in Milford, Maine- where he also houses a collection of over 200 snowshoes from around the world in every size, shape, and tradition. Photographed for Another Escape.
All images © Greta Rybus for Another Escape