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community weblog - [ SNOW ]

These skiers aren't slowed by disabilities

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photoBack when she could walk, downhill skiing seemed just a little too fast for Erica Huston, 22, of Traverse City.
      After a year in a wheelchair, Huston discovered this weekend the exhilaration of carving the face of a snow-covered hill.
      "When you're able to do something like this it's just incredible," she said.
      About 16 people with disabilities and more than 20 volunteers took part in a weekend of skiing thanks to Northern Michigan Adaptive Sports and Recreation.
      "We have more skiers than skis," said Ann Reichert, coordinator of the program. The non-profit provides the five sit- or bi-skis, which cost about $3,000 each, plus the volunteers. Crystal Mountain covers the rest.  
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Winter's best at Portage Winter Fest

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Schrier Park Winter Sports Fest Saturday was the perfect place for the entire Freeby family.

Morgan Freeby, 7, her sister Meredith, 5, and their parents, John and Beth Freeby, all had new snowshoes and plenty of snow to try them out.

"We just got snowshoes for Christmas and we are going to try to use them," said John Freeby, a first-time snowshoer.   more...



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Hundreds take 'play in the snow' to new heights at event

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photoCADILLAC - Snowcross is all about the roar of the engine, the way the runners glide along a well-groomed track and, most of all, a chance to catch some air.
      "It's a rush," said Joe Lubbers, who competed in Saturday's Michigan Snow X Series at the Wexford County Fairgrounds in Cadillac.
      The 21-year-old from Byron Center has raced his snowmobile in the semi-professional sport class for three years.
      "I had been a trail rider and thought it would be fun," Lubbers, who wore the number 506, said. "It's for entertainment."
      Event organizer Brent Walk said more than 500 snowmobile riders of all ages would compete in the two-day event, which is very much at home in the sled-friendly city.
      "This is where they go to play in the snow anyway," he added.
      The race began a second season of snowcross for Zakary Mason and Kyle Eckert of Gaylord.
      "I like jumping," said Kyle, 12.
 
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Road crews turn to organic solutions in winter

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Salt is hard to shake because it's cheaper, but that hasn't stopped road crews around Michigan from wielding organic weapons in the battle against ice and snow.

The arsenal includes byproducts of sugar beets, beer and corn.

"It sounds pretty strange, but it's proven to be effective," said Julie Martin, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

"We're now using the corn byproduct because it's clear," Martin told The Grand Rapids Press for a Sunday story. "The beets were darker in color, like maple syrup. We got calls from people saying, 'Your salt trucks are spraying goo all over the highway.'"   more...

 



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Michigan trails prepped for skiers

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The Detroit area got some snowfall in recent days, and the weatherman is calling for a few inches more in the next week, which means that excellent cross-country skiing should be available in many of the Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

A spokesman at Kensington Metropark near Milford said that park had four or five inches of snow, enough for the groomers to lay out about seven miles of trails along a loop that runs from the golf course to the farm center.

Kensington is a good family skiing area because it offers something for everyone, from flat trails where beginners can develop their ski legs to hills where experts can kick up the cardiovascular effort.

Stony Creek, Hudson Mills, Huron Meadows and Willow metroparks also have ski trails, and rental cross-country equipment is available on weekends.  more...

 



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Toboggan adventure ends in icy water

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SISTER LAKES -- When a neighbor loaned them his toboggan Wednesday, third-graders Andrew Cobe Jr. and Spencer Kinzie planned to toboggan all afternoon.

But thin ice on Magician Lake turned their fun into a dangerous rescue.

The snow near the Kinzie house on Maple Island was too wet and sticky for good toboganning, so Jeanine Kinzie suggested the boys try sliding down the fire lane about 100 feet from the house. She did not realize the packed snow had turned to ice.

Andrew, 9, went down the hill first. The toboggan slid much faster than he expected. He jumped off just before it slid onto the lake.  While the boys were in class at Grace Christian School in Watervliet earlier that day, an ice film had formed on the lake. The toboggan came to rest on it a few yards off shore.

Spencer thought he could reach the toboggan from a low pier. When he could not, he tried to walk onto the ice to retrieve it.   more...

 



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Gate Crasher

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outdoor adventure imageBode Miller has everything you could want in a World Cup ski racer. He's fast, fearless, and frequently out of control. He can drink like a sailor and swear like a snowboarder, and he's got the talent to take it all from those grim Austrian cyborgs. Most amazing, he's American. Can we make this guy a hero already?   more...

 

 

 

 




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Business suffering - Sugar Loaf Resort

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Is there any “up” side to Sugar Loaf Resort remaining closed for the third straight ski season?

The Enterprise was hard-pressed to find anyone who thinks so – including the head of the only other resort in Leelanau County that offers downhill skiing, The Homestead.

“The Homestead has always served a different market than Sugar Loaf,” said Bob Kuras, president of The Homestead, a four-season resort located in Glen Arbor Township. “At best, the loss of Sugar Loaf is very unfortunate – and it’s unfortunate for everyone. We want to see all businesses do well in Leelanau County.”

Kuras explained that The Homestead has historically been more “family oriented” than Sugar Loaf, which tended to cater more to young adult skiers—a market which The Homestead’s less challenging slopes cannot satisfy. Still, he believes that The Homestead has filled some of the void left by the closure of Sugar Loaf, including hosting 4-H ski and snowboard lessons and The Leelanau Ski Club’s racing academy.

Skiers agree.

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Grooming program gets OK

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The word came just in the St. Nick of time. Following weeks of uncertainty due to statewide spending restrictions, the Department of Natural Resources announced early this week that it would groom 21 popular state forest cross-country ski trails.   more...

 



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After 2 years, work resumes on Boyne's $70 million lodge

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BOYNE FALLS -- Rusting steel beams and a dead construction zone make less than ideal promotions for a destination resort.

Perhaps that's why everyone at Boyne Mountain Resort breathed easier when work resumed this fall on its $70 million lodge. Until then, the ungainly, half-finished structure sat for two years, looming like a bad dream at the base of the hill.

It now is centerpiece to a planned revival at the ski and golf resort, part of $110 million in investments to be completed by 2005.   more...

 



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How does wildlife survive in winter?

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What's sobering about winter & wildlife is this: Unlike our own winter camping trips, survival for winter wildlife isn't just a weekend fling.
 
By Ron Schara
Host of ESPN2's
"Backroads with Ron & Raven"


It's been snowin', it's been blowin,' so it's time for us to wonder:

How does wildlife survive winter? It's an easy enough topic to think about since most of us are warm and toasty in our houses while we wonder and worry about dainty chickadees.

If you're into winter camping, you know your own survival is more than a passing thought and volunteering to find plenty of firewood is never a problem.   more...

 

I once slept in an igloo and, trust me, ruffed grouse have got it figured out: It's a lot warmer under the snow than atop the snow.

What's sobering about winter and wildlife is this: Unlike our own winter camping trips, survival for winter wildlife isn't just a weekend fling. Truly, wintertime is a daily life and death struggle. Make a serious mistake and you're dead. A pocket gopher taught me that lesson years ago.


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Try before you buy cross-country skis

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BY ERIC SHARP
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

A few days ago, I stopped at the Cross-Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, where owner Bob Frye had me try a pair of the new Fisher RCS cross-country skis.

With my skiing skills, it was like giving a Picasso to a pig. But even I could tell that these were very fast skis.

The new Fishers have a significant side cut in the tip section, an hourglass shape that takes off weight and helps them turn better. But it also makes them less stable, so although they're great for racers, they're probably not right for the average weekend warrior.

A lot of skis are excellent choices for the casual recreational skier, and one of the most popular is a little wider than a standard touring model and has a metal edge like a backcountry ski.   more...



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Boy Wonder

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Roger Carver May be only 12, but he has some serious things to teach us:
1. Snowboarding is fun.
2. People are complicated.
3. Destiny is really weird.


By Daniel Coyle

ONCE UPON A TIME NOT SO LONG AGO, in a gold-mining town in the foothills of the Sierra mountains, an unlucky baby was born. It was hard for the doctors to tell that the baby was unlucky, because everything about him looked fine. He had blond hair and sumo-wrestler thighs and catlike blue eyes that crinkled into slits when he smiled. But this baby was unlucky because he was born with something extra in his blood, a chemical called meth-amphetamine. The doctors were not optimistic. They predicted the baby would grow up small and skinny, that he would probably have trouble learning things, and maybe worse.

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Death of an Innocent

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The following is an excerpt from Jon Krakauer's celebrated book Into the Wild, which originally appeared in Outside Magazine, January 1993

James Gallien had driven five miles out of Fairbanks when he spotted the hitchhiker standing in the snow beside the road, thumb raised high, shivering in the gray Alaskan dawn. A rifle protruded from the young man's pack, but he looked friendly enough; a hitchhiker with a Remington semiautomatic isn't the sort of thing that gives motorists pause in the 49th state. Gallien steered his four-by-four onto the shoulder and told him to climb in.

The hitchhiker introduced himself as Alex. "Alex?" Gallien responded, fishing for a last name.

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Michigan's Long History of Ski Jumping

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By Vivian M. Baulch / The Detroit News

Skiing quite possibly is the oldest sport known to man. (Picture a clever caveman tying some old mastadon ribs to his feet and scooting around the mountains.)  Since the dawn of history, northern Europeans have looked on skiing as more efficient than walking. A museum in Stockholm, Sweden, claims to have a pair of skis that may be 5,000 years old. In the Middle Ages, armies proficient in the art of skiing controlled snow-covered areas of Europe.

As skiing developed into a leisure-time activity, categories such as alpine and nordic skiing evolved. But the most spectacular forms of skiing clearly are ski jumping and ski flying, thrilling not only to the jumper but to those spectators who brave the cold to marvel at the sight. During the 1870s and 1880s the first ski-jumping tournaments in the country were held in Ishpeming, a tiny Michigan mining community near Lake Superior. Renegade skiiers seeking even greater thrills developed what became known as ski flying.

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