Snowshoe club begins at Frazee High School
By Barbie Porter
Frazee High School has a new club that focuses on getting outdoors in the winter to go snowshoeing and enjoy the company of friends.
There are some snowshoes available for people to use to try the activity before deciding if they want to purchase their own set.
The idea came to Jennifer Johnson while chatting with her husband Greg about disruptions in athletics due to the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols.
The Detroit Lakes residents asked what they could do to provide students with exercise and socialization the kids normally receive with sports. The answer was snowshoeing.
The third year English teacher at FHS proposed the club idea to the school board, which green lit the new opportunity open to 9-12 graders.
Johnson said the participants can decide if they want to stay as one group and go the same pace or break into two groups, with one taking a more leisurely walk and the other getting a workout in.
The new crew met on Thursday, Jan. 14 for the first outing, which followed the cross country course set up near the elementary school.
“Because we are a club activity, we don’t have transportation,” she said.
That doesn’t mean the group won’t travel. Part of the reason she kept the opportunity to kids in grades 9-12 was because they tend to be more mobile. Providing they have their own transportation, the snowshoe club may also venture to the school forest, area lakes or golf courses.
Johnson added she may even reach out to those that maintain the Frazee Ski Trail to see if there is room for snowshoeing there as well.
“We wouldn’t want to damage the trail any, so I want to check on that, because that could be a fun opportunity as well,” she said.
The nearby adventures would be slated for the weekday, whereas on the weekends there may be more opportunity for outings that require a little more travel.
“There are so many places nearby that we could explore: Tamarac Refuge, Itasca, Maplewood or Dutton Locks,” she said.
The equipment list for those in the snowshoe club include snowshoes and poles, which can cost between $150-$180. The snowshoes are adjustable, so they can be used well into adulthood as the teen grows.
“The snowshoes we have available for students to use are the old military grade ones,” Johnson said. “They are metal and look like giant tennis rackets. The school does have a few older wooden ones, too.”
Johnson is actively visiting thrift stores as well, searching for snowshoes and poles that the club could add to their collection for communal use. Anyone interested in donating their equipment can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by requesting Johnson’s personal number by calling the Frazee-Vergas Forum at 334-3566.
“The Norwegians have a word, Hygge, which means to learn to enjoy the winter instead of just getting through it. That is what we hope to offer those that join the club—an opportunity to get outside and have fun,” said Johnson.