What do you get when you combine a winter pastime like snowshoe running with a summer sport like baseball. The answer would be snowshoe baseball, a unique sport played every year in Lake Tomahawk, Winsconsin.
With its beautiful lakes and gorgeous scenery, Lake Tomahawk has always been one of Wisconsin’s most popular tourist attractions, but in 1961, Town Chairman, Ray Sloan, decided to give summer tourists yet another source of entertainment. His idea was to cover the local baseball field with sawdust and woodchips, and invite other other area teams to challenge the hometown squad in a unique series of baseball games where the players had to wear snowshoes. Sloan strategy worked and the wacky games have become a local tradition that attracts spectators from all around the globe and earned Lake Tomahawk the title of “Snowshoe Baseball Capital of the World”. The rules of the game are very similar to baseball, but the snowshoes really make it interesting by forging players to waddle and scuffle rather than sprint to bases. There’s a lot of falling, especially early in the match, as everyone tries to get used to the snowshoes, but the sawdust and woodchips act as a soft mattress, so injuries are rare.
Photo: Roxann Nys
For the last 52 years, the small Winsconsin town of about 800 people has attracted thousands of tourists with the help of snowshoe baseball. Every summer, the season starts mid June and lasts all through August, with most games played every Monday evening at 7:30. Snowshoe baseball is not the most competitive sport ever invented, as the main goal of the game is to bring the community closer and put on a fun spectacle, but it’s always a blast to watch.