FORT KENT, Maine — Snowshoes are a great way to enjoy the outdoors during Winter. If you prefer wooden snowshoes, you'll want to know about Theriault Snowshoes.
Brian Theriault and his father, Edmond, started the company in Fort Kent 25 years ago. The pair had been crafting with cowhide and brown ash 25 years before that as a hobby.
"I was there from the first skin, to the first log," said Brian. "Throughout the learning process I was always around helping him and doing stuff, helping him and carrying that first log out."
You'll find Brian hammering and weaving at his shop in Fort Kent, while his dad still works on snowshoes at his home six hours south in Scarborough. Edmond will celebrate his birthday in a few months.
"I turn 96 in March," said Edmond while working on a snowshoe.
He's a man of few words, but he's also one of the oldest snowshoe makers in the country.
"Few snowshoe makers, especially a father and son, or two in the family who were able to discuss and invent and use tools like we have is very unique," said Brian.
The Theriaults have longevity in their methods of construction, but a true test of their snowshoe's strength isn't done in the shop. It's outside in the snow and cold where a Theriault wooden snowshoe proves itself and where Brian prefers to spend his time.
"The bounce when you walk and you're not carrying snow," said Brian. "You're staying above and I think that's a key thing and being able to go wherever you want. If you want to go over there, you can get off the trail."
The two also wrote a book about wooden snowshoes and how to make them called Leaving Tracks.