UP Ski Trip History

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Upper Peninsula Ski Trip 2000!! Feb 6th - 11th, 2000
Let's go skiing. by Ed Curtin

You can cross-country, downhill, snowshoe, or any combination thereof at the Western end of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. An average annual snowfall of almost 200 inches transforms the area into a winter playground. The Indianhead Motel is centrally located from some of the best skiing in the Midwest. Five major downhill ski areas and hundreds of kilometers of cross-country trails are only minutes away. This is a fun, inexpensive trip. When you cross-country you can't imagine having more fun doing anything else. But then the next day, you snowshoe, and that's a blast! Downhill skiing, excellent at Indianhead, Powderhorn, The Porkies, Blackjack, and Whitecap. You can ski the hill of your choice each day. Plus, wine & cheese party the first night (BYOB and snacks). Cocktail party before supper every evening. Hikes after supper. Get together for games like Scrabble and Bop-it.

    The Indianhead Motel offers Ski Week Specials that include:
  • Five Nights Lodging
  • Five Continental Breakfasts
  • Five Dinners from Big Snow Country's finest supper clubs. A $10.00 credit per meal.
  • Lift Tickets and/or Trail Passes.

The cross-country package is $160.00 per person, two or more adults per room. A single is $195.00. The downhill package is $271.00 per person, two or more adults per room. A single is $300.00. A combination of cross-country and downhill is also available. Individuals will be responsible for making their own reservations at the Indianhead Motel, and informing Ed Curtin after you have made them. Ed Curtin will be Information Central. If you need information regarding the trip, call Ed at 847-981-1677. Interested? Call the Indianhead Motel early to insure you get a room, then call Ed to let him know you are going.

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Skiing the UP 2000 February 6-11 by Shirley Waterloo

Fifteen EBC members spent five great days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where they enjoyed cross country skiing, camaraderie, and a little bit of history. Paul Boyce, Ed Curtin, Joanne Dezur, Lou and Jerry Fish, Sharon Ganske, Carol and Bob Nield, Carol O'Meara, Al Stanke, Mary Ann and Ted Sward, Shirley and Quinn Waterloo, and Kacy Worcester spent Monday through Thursday skiing the many trails in the area. Most days the snow glistened, sometimes enhanced with sun shining through the trees. The trails were a bit icy a couple of days, because the temperature had risen and the snow melted a little and then froze once again. Most of the time the temperature was perfect for skiing, in the low 20's or high teens. When you are putting out that cross country energy, you don't want the weather any warmer. Most of the trails were close to the Indianhead Motel in Ironwood, MI, where we bedded down, ate our breakfast and, being EBCers, imbibed before dinner. The trails were well marked and accommodated skiers of all abilities.

Many of the trails we skied were in Michigan, but one trail, although close by, was in Montreal, WI. Montreal is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as "The City Beautiful". The wooded trail wound through an area where the remains of an iron ore mine could still be seen. The ore was mined from the mid-1800's until it finally closed in 1963. Rows of old miners' homes line the main street of the town. The homes were originally owned by the mining company and rented to the miners for $1.50 a month per room. That translates to $7.50 a month for a five-room house. The homes now look like most of them have been rehabbed. They are very attractive and well kept.

Another trail, Milje's, is in Wakefield, MI. It consists of approximately 10 km. of trails that are owned and operated by a private family. It, too, was well marked with many signs. I kept looking for a sign that would read .25 km. to trailhead. Instead I found one reading RUHAVINGUDTIM? (Are you having a good time?). The signed forced you to stop, read it and try to figure it out. (Anything for an extra breath while skiing!) Another sign had an arrow pointing east, which read FINLAND 8000 MILES. I thought I WAS in Finland at Milje's with its "mountains" of snow, groves of pines and cedars, and not much sun.

One day we all drove the fifty-some miles to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The cross country ski trails in the Porkies encircle the lift-served Alpine ski area. All of our group chose to remain on the Nordic trails. One of the trails, the Superior Loop, follows the shore of Lake Superior. The roar of the surf and the view of the ice floes were a scene to remember. Although we missed them, the park's winter activities include guided snowshoe hikes and lantern light skiing. I was happy to be doing my skiing in the daylight, even though the blue (unlit) lanterns along the Superior Loop conjured thoughts of a great evening ski in the soft amber light of the lanterns while listening to the pounding of Superior waves on the shore, just feet from the trail.

All the trails were beautiful, but the trail closest to "home", ABR "Active Backwoods Retreats" would probably be rated the best by most of us. The trails at ABR are located on over 400 acres of private land of varied terrain. Like the other ski areas, the scenery was magnificent, and the trails well marked. Combine that with the best groomed trails of all those we skied, and ABR rates a blue ribbon. While skiing the Porkies and stopping to eat lunch in a cabin along the trail, Carol Nield heaved a sigh of contentment and said to the Group, "Aren't we the luckiest people in the world?" I say, "Same time next year?"

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UP 2001SKI TRIP by Ed Curtin

Great, outstanding, fantastic, awesome were some of the words used by the sixteen EBC members who recently ventured up to the Michigan UP to experience some of the finest cross country/downhill skiing and snow shoeing available in the Midwest. Along with the 200 plus inches of snow and perfect skiing conditions,were our gracious hosts Linda and Mor- gan, owners of the Indianhead Motel. They made us feel right at home by starting us out each day with a fine continental breakfast before heading off to the ski trails. Then they allowed us to enjoy our evening snack/cocktail parties in the motel lobby before dinner. After dinner, at one of the five restaurants on our schedule, it was back to the motel for a hike around the neighborhood by some and a game of dominos in the motel lobby for others.

On Thursday evening, we had an EBC Awards ceremony. Milage T-shirts, certificates, and patches were presented to the winners. The three top mileage award winners, Betty Bond, Ted Sward, and Carol Nield were among them. Following dinner, yours truly was treated to a very nice birthday celebration which included cake and ice cream.

On Friday,we headed for home in a snow storm that left another nine inches of fresh snow on the Ironwood ski trails. Everyone arrived home safely looking forward to next year.


A big "thank you" to Ed Curtin for making all the arrangements needed for our UP ski trip. Everything went very smoothly. Not one Mix-up!!! The accommodations were clean and comfortable and had a great location. Our hosts, Morgan and Linda went out of their way to make us feel welcome and were wonderful to let us have our social/cocktail parties each evening in their lobby. And what fun those parties were!! The different restaurants all had great food and we enjoyed the variety that they offered. Each morning after our continental breakfast it was an adventure going to the different ski trails Ed had picked out for us. We had never been on such well groomed trails as we encountered at the UP. Each different trail had nice quaint little warming huts for breaks or to spend an afternoon if one was tired out that contained fireplaces, pot bellied stoves, good soups, cookies, and the famous pasties. Every person we encountered in Michigan was friendly!! We all ended with a favorite ski trail or restaurant, but we thank Ed for giving us the wide choices and the great variety. I know I speak for everyone when I say we had a SUPER WONDERFUL TIME!!!

What are the dates for next year Ed??? I want to mark my calendar now!!! We all appreciate your efforts Ed, thank you.. Sharon, Kacy, Paul, Al, Steve and Jane, Mary Jo, Gerry, Bob and Carol, Joanne, Ted and Mary Ann, Jerry and Betty

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Upper Peninsula Ski Trip 2002 by Joanne DeZur

As usual Ed Curtin did a great job of setting up our 3rd Annual Upper Ski Trip. He did almost miss his big 70th birthday (Friday 2/8) but we just had to hold a birthday party for him a day earlier. I guess he had a good time since someone did ask if it was O.K. to take Ed in the room. The weather that was ordered turned out to be almost perfect. Sunday evening it snowed which gave us newly groomed tracks at ABR Monday morning. The only little glitch was Wed. that turned out to be 50 degrees and caused a few skiers to stick in the tracks. Tuesday afternoon MaryJo, Diane and myself decided to finally take a lesson after all the cross-country we have been doing. MaryJo learned how not to fall, I learned how to fall and Diane just did all the right things the teacher taught us.

Cocktail hour is held in the motel lobby approximately an hour before dinner. It is the custom for everyone to bring their own drink and something to nibble on for everyone. The restaurants we ate dinner at were part of the package that Linda and Morgan offer us. They all offer a variety of choices, plenty of food, ve ry good service and unbelievably reasonable prices. Usually left over dinner was used for lunch the following day unless…………………you wanted pasties.

Evenings were spent various ways………….walks, going to your room to either sleep-watch T.V. or read, and the lobby domino game and/ or scrabble games. It is rather funny that the domino score keeper usually wins hmmmmmmm. By the way there are two sets of rules, Lou Fish's and Carol Nield's.

Breakfast is also held in the lobby with fresh fruits, sweet rolls, muffins, bakery bread, juice, coffee and milk complimentary. Linda also baked us some fresh banana bread. There was some question as to whether or not I would remember all the things that happened during the week that was voiced by MR WARMTH (he happens to be a downhill skier we have met up there before), people are that friendly. A perfect example of what this trip stands for was stated by Freda (out of control) Diebold…………"If these people weren't so much fun I wouldn't drive 7 hours to do this." There is a guest book in one of the warming houses in which John K. wrote the following little note: "May God treat you today as you treated others yesterday"

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U.P. Ski 2003 by Joanne DeZur

This year again Ed Curtin did a wonderful job planning our annual UP Ski Trip. We had a great turn-out, even with the unfortunate turn of events for Lou, Jerry, Betty and Jerry we still had 28 people. We must have made a good impression regarding our previous trips to obtain so many new people.

Everyone arrived in one piece on Sunday with Vickie, Deirdre, Al and John K. coming up early to do some down hilling. There was plenty of snow for us to start out on Monday at ABR and as usual they had the trails groomed beautifully. We had a little (we thought) injury with Dick Diebold twisting his ankle as his skis stuck going down a steep hill. In the days that proceeded that seemed to be the only complaint with the temperature being lower than past years a lot of people had to wax their skis and did have problems sticking at various points on the trails. Dinner at Elk and Hound was fine. Ed Curtin brought with what later became his infamous "water bottle" and we managed to play the evening domino competition with a short hike since it had started to snow.

Tuesday morning what had started out last night had ended with 19 inches of snow. We had to shovel out the cars while Morgan tried to plow enough of the parking lot for us to get out. Since the originally planned Milje's and Wolverine were not about to be groomed we headed back to ABR in the afternoon. All that snow did slow down the skiing a bit and our "Senior Olympics Next Year" skier Mary Jo Bolan decided to try a few of the more difficult trails - successfully I might add. Cocktail party, dinner and of course dominos followed.

Wednesday we headed out earlier to Porkies where some people did downhill along with the rest of us cross-country. Their warming house is very large and beautiful so that after you decided to quit skiing you could take a nap by one of the many fireplaces or play a game of dominos or scrabble. Cocktail party, dinner, and dominos as usual followed in the motel lobby.

Thursday we were back at ABR with quite a wind and a temperature which Carol Nield thought was a warm 12, she had managed to miss the minus dash in front of the number (-12). ABR always does a great job of grooming however they were fighting the winds and even though we had a good time, some of the trails disappeared as soon as we skied on them. Our new ski member, Joanne D - yes there are two of us - really fell in love with snow shoeing and tried it again today. Al, Kacy, John C. and Diane decided to take a ride to Bayfield, unfortunately they could not drive across the Superior to the island as they had intended. Al and I were the only ones going to the Black River Casino after dinner but we returned (Al a winner - me a loser) in time for cake and ice cream as a thanks to Ed and a closing to our week.

When later you see the pictures on the website, you might notice someone you do not recognize. We met a man named Bob from Crystal Lake at the motel and since he was alone we invited him to join us for dinner and skiing. He has offered us breakfast if we do our Prairie Path Century up to his house.

Everyone, I am happy to say, made it home safely and Dick turned out to have a hair-line fracture of the ankle, now in a cast. You may want to consider joining us next year, as you can see it is a fun time. Joanne DeZur

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UP2004 SKI TRIP by Sophia Hausen and Ed Curtin

The 2004 Trip to the Upper Peninsula was pure X-TA-SKI Thirty-three of us left sunny Chicago and the Quad Cities, IA, to travel to Michigan for five days of Skiing on Sunday February 1st. We stayed, as in the past, at the Indianhead Motel, and were treated royally by Morgan and Linda.

The weather conditions were ideal. Temps were always between 10 and 25 degrees except for the first day when it was near zero with some wind chill. Ironwood had over 200 inches of the best snow ever to ski on. We skied the ABR Cross Country Trails as well as Wolverine, Razorback and Milje's. A few of our group also downhilled at nearby ski mountains and...some adventurers went to Madeline Island and the Bad River Casino, others went to the movie theater to see "Cold Mountain". For some of our group, the week of skiing was good preparation for an overseas trip. Carol and Bob Nield, Kathy Storm and a couple of her friends from the Quad Cities area joined Bob Walsh, a new EBC member, the following week on a XC ski trip to Norway.

Every night we enjoyed wonderful hors d'oeuvres at the evening cocktail parties, and then went off to have dinner at a local restaurant. When we got back to the motel, some of us went for hikes and others joined the various Domino games. On our last evening, we had an Ice Cream Social and celebrated the February birthdays.

All in all, as usual, the trip was better than ever and we look forward to next February.

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The Bike Club That Skis: UP2005 by Ed Curtin

The UP2005 Ski Trip was the sixth trip for EBC members and guests. We stayed at the Indianhead Motel in Ironwood, MI. The owners, Linda and Morgan, are very gracious hosts and offer a ski package that is very affordable. The first ski trip had 15 skiers. This year 33 skiers made the trip and had a wonderful time.

Ironwood is located on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan next door to Hurley, WI, and a little south of the lake effect snow machine, Lake Superior. That snow machine is largely responsible for the 200+ inches of snow that falls on Ironwood each year. There was plenty of snow this year and the conditions starting out were great. As the week went on the temperatures kept rising and by Thursday folks were skiing without jackets. Because of the grooming, the trails were always in excellent shape in the morning.

Evenings always started with a cocktail party followed by dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner, some people took in a movie, went to the local playhouse for a play, went to the casino, went for a hike, or went to the motel lobby for a game of dominos. And those that skied way more then they should have went to their room for some much needed rest.

The main destination for XC skiing in Ironwood is ABR Trails. ABR has over 40 km of groomed cross country and snowshoeing trails, and is located just a few miles from the motel. On Monday, our first full day of skiing was at ABR. Judy Mikesell put on her new snowshoes, built by her husband Charlie, and hiked the entire snowshoe trail. Peter Turula, Phil Keller, and Al Stanke showed up with their special XC ski outfits, knickers and all!

Tuesday most of the skiers went to other venues to ski in the morning. Some went to Miljie's, while others went to Wolverine, then back to ABR in the afternoon. The other venues have great trails also, but ABR has a larger variety of trails to choose from which is why we go there the most.

On Wednesday, a large group went to the Porcupine Mountains. The Porkies is a one hour drive from the motel and offers both downhill and XC skiing.

Thursday everyone was back at ABR for a busy day of lessons and skiing. Lessons on how to skate ski and wax skis were put on by ABR. Brats cooked outside on the grill for lunch, with much skiing and snowshoeing in between, made for a great way to end another terrific UP Ski Trip.

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EBC UP Ski Trip – 2006 by George Hermach

Do we ski to eat, or eat to ski? Actually, 39 EBCers did more than that. Yes we skied, some of us a lot, some of us a little. Yes we ate, most of us a lot. But some of us also went snowshoeing, or hiking to frozen waterfalls, or on a sleigh ride, or to a play. We skied at ABR, Miljes, Wolverine, and the Porkies. Snow conditions were perfect with ample snow cover, immaculate grooming, and moderate temperatures. The only exception was at the Porkies where conditions on the front side of the mountain were not good with some bare and icy spots in the trail.

We stayed at the Indianhead Motel in Ironwood, Michigan. Out hosts, Morgan and Linda, went out of their way to make our stay enjoyable. We were treated to a continental breakfast each morning. After our days of activity, we gathered for snacks and drinks (furnished by EBC members) in the motel lobby, and then went out for a nice dinner. We chose a different restaurant each night. After dinner, many of us congregated in the lobby for games of Mexican Train Dominoes and Quidler. Morgan joined us in the games on several evenings, and he a Linda joined us one evening for the play "The Gin Game".

We all had a good time on the trip and are already looking forward to an even better trip next year. Save the dates: February 4-9, 2007.

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2008 EBC Ski Trip (or how we had fun in da UP, eh) by George Hermach

The first week of February saw 45 of us EBCers journey to Ironwood, Michigan, for the ninth annual EBC cross-country ski trip. The weather was great, with ample snow and moderate temperatures (highs in the teens and twenties). Morgan and Linda of the Indianhead Motel were our hosts, and what great hosts they were, sometimes joining us for socializing, games, or skiing.

Most of us cross-country skied, and some of us downhill skied, snow shoed, hiked, visited nearby waterfalls, shopped, went to the movies, or some combination of these activities. ABR was our favorite trail system, and some of us supplemented those trails by going to Wolverine, Milje's, and/or Sylvania. The downhillers mostly went to Big Powderhorn.

And we all ate well, breaking in early and late groups for dinners at different restaurants to avoid overwhelming any one establishment. There were cocktail parties with munchies in the motel lobby before dinner each evening, and games such as Mexican Train and Catch Phrase after dinner. On two days, we had special lunches at ABR – pasties (a UP specialty) and brats.

A highlight the last evening was a surprise 50th anniversary party for Bob and Carol Nield. Actually the surprise was on us, as they were the ones setting it up and bringing the "goodies".

There were eight "first-timers" on the trip – Jim Adams, Nancy Allured, Barb Epley, Ellie Feltz, Bob and Marianne McKeague, Martha Miles, and John Stanaway.

    Ski trip notables:
  • Well organized trip leader – Sharon Hermach
  • Most miles skied – George Hermach 103, Peter Turula 102, Al Stanke 97
  • Most miles traveled to get to Ironwood – Jerry Radek, 730 miles from Kansas
  • Happy new skis – Ksenia Turula
  • Most unusual souvenir – Bill Schwartz's van load of lumber

All in all it was a great trip. Next years ski trip dates are February 1-6, so mark your calendars.

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2009 EBC Ski Trip (or how we had fun in da UP, eh) by George Hermach

The first week of February saw 39 of us EBCers journey to Ironwood, Michigan, for the tenth annual EBC cross-country ski trip. Morgan and Linda of the Indianhead Motel were our hosts, and what great hosts they were, sometimes joining us for socializing, games, or skiing.

There was ample snow and temperatures varied from below zero on Tuesday morning to above freezing on Friday afternoon. While most of us cross-country skied, some of us downhill skied, snow shoed, hiked, visited nearby waterfalls, shopped, went to the movies, or some combination of these activities. ABR was our favorite trail system, and many of us supplemented those trails by going to Wolverine, Milje's, and/or Sylvania. The downhillers went to Big Powderhorn and Whitecap.

And we all ate well, breaking in early and late groups for dinners at different restaurants to avoid overwhelming any one establishment. There were cocktail parties with munchies in the motel lobby before dinner each evening, and games such as Mexican Train after dinner. On two days, we had special lunches at ABR – pasties (a UP specialty) on Monday and brats on Thursday.

It was nice to see some of our members from outside the Chicagoland area join us – Jerry Radek from Kansas and Kathy Storm and Susie Wolf from the Quad Cities area.

Skiing at ABR on Friday afternoon, I overheard two women talking on an adjacent trail. One of them said to the other "I feel sorry for people who never leave the city, for they don't know the beauty of the woods in winter." How true!

All in all it was a great trip. Next years ski trip dates are tentatively set for Sunday January 31 to Friday February 5, so mark your calendars.

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2010 EBC UP Ski Trip (or how we had fun in de UP, eh) George Hermach

The first week of February saw 42 EBCers journey north to Ironwood at the western end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula for the eleventh annual EBC cross-country ski trip. Although we didn't have sun every day during our stay, we had ample snow and mild temperatures (mostly in the upper teens and twenties during the day). Trail conditions were absolutely wonderful, with several trail systems in the vicinity to choose from.

ABR was the area of choice for most, but many of us also skied at Wolverine Nordic, Sylvania Outfitters, and/or Milje's. Both ABR and Wolverine Nordic also feature marked snowshoe trails, which several of us enjoyed. A few of us went downhill skiing at Big Powderhorn, and those of us who skied at Wolverine Nordic experienced skiing on one of the Big Powderhorn slopes while on one of the cross-country trails. Other options included hiking, visiting nearby waterfalls, reading, shopping, and (of course) socializing.

Our hosts were Morgan and Linda at the Indianhead Motel in Ironwood, which was our home base. And what gracious hosts they were, sometimes joining us for socializing, games, or skiing. Each morning we would all gather in the motel lobby for continental breakfast and to discuss our plans for the day. In the evening we split into early and late dinner groups to avoid overwhelming any one restaurant. There were cocktail parties with munchies in the motel lobby each evening before dinner, and games such as Mexican Train and Bananagram after dinner. On two days we had special lunches at ABR – pasties (a Cornish miner's meal which is a UP specialty) on Monday and brats on Thursday.

All in all, it was a great trip. So plan to come join us next season (dates to be announced later and will be posted under "Upcoming Events" on the EBC website).

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EBC UP Ski 2011 by George Hermach

SISU Ski Fest – January 15 Four EBC'ers (George & Sharon Hermach, Peter & Ksenia Turula) went up to Ironwood, MI, January 12-19 for the second annual SISU Ski Fest. SISU is a Finnish term which stands for "special strength and stubborn determination to continue and overcome in the moment of adversity; a combination of stamina, courage, and obstinacy held in reserve for hard times". The Ski Fest offered 21 and 42 Km cross-country ski races for both classic and freestyle skiers and 10 Km non-competitive "Taste-N-Tour" with food stops along the way. All events started on the ABR trails and ended in downtown Ironwood. For more information, visit the Fest web site www.sisuskifest.com

The highlight of this trip for us was the ski race on January 15. George & Peter both entered the 21 Km Heikki Lunta Classic race. We really needed SISU for this event as conditions were brutal at the start. We had a lot of snow the night before and it was snowing heavily for most of the race. While neither of us are serious racers, we both persevered and "Finnished" the race. The trail had been groomed the night before, but the fresh snow made for slower and more challenging conditions. Despite the conditions, I enjoyed participating and would do it again. One of the best parts of the experience was the enthusiasm of the local volunteers who supported the events and staffed the aid stations along the route. After the race, racers and volunteers were treated to Mojakka (Finnish stew), pasties, and cookies. The "Tasters" got to sample foods from sixteen area restaurants at four stations along the route. Both Sharon and I, along with club member Ellie Feltz, volunteered to work at registration the day before the race. Next year's race is scheduled for January 14, 2012, so mark your calendars if you would like to participate.

The day after the race, Sharon and I went on a guided snowshoe hike through the Miners Memorial Heritage Park, known locally as the "caves" area. The hike was led by a local guide who took us past several historic sites and explained the history of the region. We found this to be a very interesting area to explore. There is also a short ski trail.

We stayed at our usual home base of the Indianhead Motel, and were able to meet and ski with some of the Nordic Fox club members who were there the week after the race.

EBC Annual Ski Trip – February 6-11

Forty-two EBC'ers made the 400 mile drive north to Ironwood, MI, for the twelfth annual EBC Cross-Country Ski Trip. Interestingly, the first EBC ski trip was also February 6-11 (but in 2000) and was attended by 15 members. Although the temperatures were colder with some of the day's highs in the single digits, we enjoyed the outdoors every day. Most of us cross-country skied, but some of us snowshoed, visited nearby waterfalls, and/or downhill skied. Other activities included reading, shopping, enjoying the new sauna at our motel, and (of course) socializing. Trail conditions were wonderful with ample snow. ABR was the trail system of choice for most of us, but some of us also skied or snowshoed the trails at Wolverine Nordic and/or Milje's. On two days we had special lunches at ABR – Pasties (a Cornish miner's meal which is a UP specialty) on Monday and Brats on Thursday.

Our hosts were Morgan and Linda at the Indianhead Motel which served as our home base. Each morning we would gather in the motel lobby for an ample continental breakfast and to discuss plans for the day. In the evenings (except Monday) we split into early and late dinner groups to avoid overwhelming any one restaurant. The late dinner group got together for "happy hour" before dinner. After dinner many of us met in the lobby for games, with Morgan often joining us. On Monday evening, Sharon had arranged a tour of the historic Ironwood Theater with its restored Barton Organ, one of only a few left in existence. After the tour we all had dinner together at Taconelli's restaurant.

All in all it was a great trip. Mark your calendars for next year's trip – February 5-10, 2012.

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EBC UP Ski 2012 The Spectacular Upper Peninsula by Mary Lee St. Aubin

You've heard it from the die-hard skiers, the long-time members, and the repeat attendees. But now listen up as a winter sports newcomer attests to the spinning of the fun-o-meter at Sharon and George Hermach's annual club trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

This is an area of the Midwest that refuses to suffer the onslaught of winter but rather revels in its beauty and embraces its outdoor opportunities. Its people are not winter sport elitists; they are genuine, friendly, and welcoming Midwesterners who cherish their history and share the simple treasures of their beautiful location near the shores of Lake Superior.

From the day of arrival to the hour of departure, we were welcomed by the ever-smiling Linda and Morgan who treated us as returning family at their family-owned Indianhead Motel. They answered every question, joined our activities, shared our appetizers and sweets. They even led an afternoon snowshoe hike at Miner's Park, explaining the historical significance of a 1920's mining disaster and the impact of iron mining on the local economy, which saw Ironwood's population peak at 35,000 and decline to today's size of 5,500.

The area is replete with downhill ski opportunities, cross country ski venues, snowshoe trails, and hiking locales. Even the least athletic among us found a warm place to read or to gather with friends. The presence of animals such as deer, porcupine, and birds, and the beauty of the snow-covered woods reminded us of Robert Frost's words mid-journey: The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, miles to go before I sleep.

What did the average day look like? We rose at leisure, meandered over to the motel lobby for a simple buffet breakfast of oatmeal, homemade muffins, toasted breads, cereals, and surprise fruits and baked goods that members shared. From there we set out on daily adventures, sports of choice, choosing to meet others or going our separate ways. Often we crossed paths at lunch in warming houses where we munched on peanut butter sandwiches and fruit or leftovers from a previous evening's meal. The afternoon saw more sports, or tours of the Stormy Kromer hat factory (you may see us sporting distinctive caps), or shopping, or well-earned naps. At 5:30 we gathered in the lobby for cocktail hour and an unrivaled assortment of shared hors d'oeuvres. The decibel level had us cupping our ears to hear the person next to us as we excitedly shared the ups and downs of the day's adventures.

Since we took over the entire motel and would overwhelm local restaurants, Sharon (organizer extraordinaire) divided us into early and late dinner groups and sent us to different restaurants each evening. What a treat! The food was memorable, the hilarity high, and camaraderie top-notch as we shared the special friendships that EBCers quickly come to know and appreciate. Dinners were a special time for winding down and sharing.

After returning to the motel, many reconvened in the lobby for desserts and games. Anyone who thought EBCers were non-competitive should have seen the evening dominoes tournaments, card games, and Bananagrams competitions. Hmmm … don't give that opponent an edge!!

Then there were the special evenings like a 60's style Rock 'n Roll concert, a pre-arranged tour of the historic Ironwood Theater built in 1928, and a demonstration of the Barton theater organ, one of five such surviving instruments.

What a week it was! We left reluctantly but ready for a rest and a break from too much laughing and too much fun. Will we be back? YES! We now know why Sharon can't contain her enthusiasm when she promotes the trip at EBC meetings, why George can't wait to get back to Ironwood, and why the EBC group continually grows each year. People who go, often return. No wonder this group has increased over the years from 15 to almost 50! It's not a well-kept secret! It's even getting out to us non-winter sports enthusiasts!

HINT: put it on your calendar for next winter! Try it. You'll most likely like it!

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2013 UP Ski and Snowshoe Trip by Kathy Storm

Brrr!! That's what the first 2 days of the EBC UP Ski and Snowshoe trip were like this year with highs in the single digits. We lucked out on the weather overall. Three weeks earlier there had been a substantial heat wave across the upper Midwest including the UP. Much of the snow melted and the 4th Annual SISU race was cancelled.

Then the following week, January 21st, when the Nordic Foxes were in the UP they had to endure bitterly cold weather. George Hardwidge reported he skied most days at -5 to -15F. So our week (February 3 – 8) was really pretty nice overall with 2-6 inches of new snow every day, light winds and temperatures warming to the low 20's at the end of the week.

Each morning, we started out with an 8:30am Group Meeting in the newly remodeled lobby of the Indianhead Motel. George Hardwidge did the announcing for the cross country ski venue the group would be going to that day along with information from Judy Mikesell about the organized snowshoe hike that she and Martha Miles would lead, and the scheduled restaurants for the 6 and 7pm dinner groups that evening.

The cross country ski venues the group visited this year included ABR, Wolverine and Milje's; no trips to The Porkies or Sylvania. Snowshoe hikes took place at ABR, Wolverine, Milje's, The Miner's Heritage Park and Ottawa National Forest (Black River Falls).

ABR has added some new trails farther south that are on the Windy Ridge Preserve. 70km of beautifully groomed trails are now available through the ABR system. ABR is a great venue to enjoy as they have a full service ski shop, rentals and a huge warming cabin. Some of our Members no longer ski and just "hang out" in the warming cabin reading a book, playing board games and visiting with members as they come back from the trails. The EBC group usually spends Monday and Thursday at this venue. There was a new lunch option this year with a small trailer parked in the parking lot serving a limited menu from Paula's Bistro; chili, hot turkey sandwiches and soup were offered.

Wolverine is one of my favorite venues. It's about 6 miles northeast of the Indianhead Motel and shares property with the Powderhorn Downhill Ski venue. The Wolverine cross country ski and snowshoe trails are maintained by the Wolverine Ski Club. They also have a good size warming cabin as well, but no equipment rental or indoor plumbing. Both the cross country ski and snowshoe trails are easy to cover in a half day each; so one can "do" everything at this venue in a day. Plus, on the longer loop off of the main cross country ski trail, you can ski downhill for a short distance with the downhill skiers before taking a sharp right hand turn and returning to the more tranquil cross country ski trail.

Our trip to Wolverine on Tuesday this year had more snowshoe hikers than cross country skiers. This is a pretty aggressive hike for those that snowshoe and the views are beautiful, especially when you are above the water tower for the nearby hospital. Isaac had plenty of energy left over after the morning trek and was always trying to find others who wanted to go downhill skiing with him.

Late Tuesday afternoon, 12 of us drove out to Barber Road Stables in Bessemer and took an hour long sleigh ride along snow packed roads (I think we saw 2 cars during the entire hour!). It was cold, but hay and blankets in the sleigh helped us stay reasonably warm. Our sleigh ride started at 4:30pm and featured a beautiful sunset and very personable wagon driver. Betty Bond took care of arranging this side trip and I think it will be repeated in future years.

Back at the hotel after the Sleigh Ride and before dinner, we learned of a little "accident" that happened at ABR that afternoon. Paul Eident did a face plant on the tail end of one of the cross country ski trails and ended up with a shiner caused by his sunglasses. Judy's son Phil, a nurse at Good Sam, came to his aide.

On Wednesday, about 20 Members went to Milje's which is located about 30 miles east of Ironwood, just outside Wakefield. This is a "no frills" venue that doesn't really advertize. They have a small warming cabin that doubles as a Family Vacation Home for the family that owns the property. Because our group was so large, Morgan (Indianhead Motel) made arrangements for the trails to be freshly groomed upon our arrival. What a great concierge. Milje's is a quiet venue with about 12 km of classic ski trails; no big hills, no skate skiers and lots of trees.

Many of us enjoyed lunch in Wakefield including one of our "Newbie's" from the Quad-City area, Carey DeWitt where, she was introduced to her first pasty.

As everyone knows, people who are athletic also enjoy their food. El Dorado, a Mexican Restaurant, opened in Ironwood in April 2012 and it was a hit with everyone. Bell Chalet, Maplewood Steak House, Kimball Inn and Tacconelli's rounded out the dinner schedule.

Another highlight of this years' trip was a wonderful afternoon snowshoe hike led by Morgan around the trails in the Miner's Memorial Heritage Park. This is a 167 acre city park established in 2010 that is about 2.5 miles from the Indianhead Motel. The trails weave past various historical mining operations (and around quarries) that are part of the rich culture of Ironwood.

$130 was collected amongst the group this year for a donation to the Miners Memorial Heritage Park. This was in addition to unused cross country ski tickets that many of us did not use on the 5th day of our "package". Marian Nealon helped collect for this cause.

The cross country ski and snowshoe venues in this area of the UP are numerous, well maintained and offer every level of difficulty you can imagine. If you make the trip from the Chicago area, you will not be disappointed.

When I first started coming on these trips in 2002, I had limited experience with cross country skiing on groomed trails. It was through these trips during the past 10-12 years that I learned more about cross country skiing and snowshoeing through the warmth, friendliness and generosity of many EBC Members. Cross Country skiing on groomed trails is wonderful!

Judy Mikesell has been excellent at getting many people involved in trying out snowshoeing and serves as a "guide" to many venues during this annual trip for the EBC. I purchased a pair of snowshoes about 6 years ago and have never regretted it. Many times I can snowshoe on snow that would be marginal for cross country skiing in the Quad-City area.

I am grateful to those in the EBC who organize this trip every year; currently George and Sharon Hermach. This is wonderful way to spend 6 days during the winter and love it! Morgan and Linda are excellent hosts and even step in to lead or join in outings with the EBC.

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2014 U.P. First Timers by Chuck and Marilyn Dean

Having edited U.P. reports in previous years, I almost feel like I had been there. There were great stories and fabulous pictures. And you could see that EBCers were really enjoying themselves. But, fact is, this is the first year that Marilyn and I joined the crowd. Thank goodness. Along with 45 others, we skied, hiked, ate, imbibed, and enjoyed 6 wonderful days including the drive up on Sunday and back on Friday.

Newsletter readers have previously seen beautiful shots of snow-filled, tree-lined, sunlit trails, there is nothing quite like being on those trails in person. Yes, we had some downright cold days with early morning temps starting out below zero, but our experienced club members all had the right kind of gear and clothing to get out there and enjoy the day one way or another. The only time I thought about the cold was when starting the car which had been parked outside all night in subzero temperatures. I always wondered if the engine would turnover as I turned the key. No problem!

Staying on the theme of pictures from previous years, I'll mention that the outdoor wooden bench donated by EBCers is still on one of the loops at the ABR resort. The trails were perfectly groomed as ever. You could snowshoe on paths or blaze your own trail. You could sit by a wood burning stove and take delight in a thawing break. Dozens of pictures have already been published from this year's trip and are accessible from the Photo Album link at the bottom of the EBC home page. Check it out. New this year, spectacularly however, are the ice cave photos along Lake Superior near Bayfield, Wisconsin. If you are an internet browser, you may have already had a hint about these scenic wonders. Most of the major news services devoted coverage to the caves as it has been many years since the lake has frozen over, thereby allowing the one mile hike from the National Lakeshore parking lot to the first of the caves. Once arriving at the caves, you could hike another mile or two along the cave-lined shore.

Michigan Rhyme by Marilyn Dean

No bikes, just hikes. Let's ski U.P.!
Travel good, knock on wood.
Polar Vortex, hats, and Gore-Tex.
Cross country ski, nice low fee.
Snowshoe walks, friendly talks.
Downhill, too, for a few.
Lots of snow, 12 below.
Woods are free at 1 degree.
Exercise, work those thighs.
Indianhead, cozy bed.
Dinners great, 5 or late.
Tours (inside) with theater guide.
Share a hobby? Meet in lobby.
Something more, the lakeshore!
Icy caves bringing raves.
Winter scene in '14,
Every member will remember.

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2015 Elmhurst Bike Club UP Ski and Snowshoe Trip
"Not about Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing Article"
by Dawn Maxwell

Sorry in advance and fair warning, this recap article is not going to be about cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Over the years, I think everybody knows by now how great the skiing and snow shoeing is in the UP. That is not the real reason the EBC Club continues to go up there year after year, over and over again to the same place, same time, year after year. Sounds boring? Far from it. As a newcomer to the UP trip this year, I learned and experienced the real reason EBCers keep this tradition trip going and going.

First off, I will say one thing about Cross Country skiing. I initially listed myself on the sign up sheet as an intermediate cross country skier but now I want everybody to know I will list myself as a beginner next year! I have been allegedly cross country skiing since the 1980's but I learned last week that I didn't have a clue what cross country skiing was or could be. If you think you are a cross country skier because you can ski at Waterfall Glen (Argonne), a golf course or the Arboretum, you really need to get out more and get up to the UP with the bike club.

And if you think snowshoeing with Judy Mikesell is a spectacular experience, wait until you play Dirty UNO with Judy and numerous other "you know who you are" EBC members. I can guarantee your jaw and core muscles will be more sore from laughing so hard till you cry playing card games than any of the numerous hours of cross country skiing and snowshoeing. With that said and out of the way, lets get to the real reason the Bike Club goes to the UP year after year.

Yes I can go up to the UP and Ironwood, Michigan by myself next year on any other weekend or week other than the first week of February and cross country ski and snowshoe to my heart's content. However, I already have my room booked for the EBC UP Ski Trip for 2016. I am not going to take a chance to get blocked out of a room at the Indianhead Motel. And if you think you can stay somewhere else or a different motel, then just go up by yourself on a different weekend or different month. Because the first step to a great week of "not skiing or snowshoeing" is to get a room at the Indianhead Motel with the EBC group. Not to even mention the great value of the package. Second step is pack that cooler with your favorite cocktail beverage and appetizer.

Yes I did enjoy hours of skiing and snowshoeing every day but I enjoyed most the group experience of the fun and laughter. Having breakfast and coffee in the motel lobby/community room with fellow EBC members every morning. Getting ready in the warming house at the ABR, bag lunch in between skiing and snowshoeing, sauna, cocktail/appetizer hour each night, group dinners and then reconvening afterwards for board and card games. We actually had to restrain ourselves and limit a cut off time for no more laughing, hooting and hollering. Shopping, sightseeing, and so much more than cross country skiing or snowshoeing. And yes a little run with yaktraxs thrown in the mix too. Can you keep up? Probably not, so there is the option to retire early or retreat to the privacy of your room for a nap or two.

I will definitely treasure the new friendships I gained last week and the friendships that flourished because I finally got the chance to join in on this wonderful EBC tradition. I hope newcomers to the club and to the sport of cross country skiing/snowshoeing continue to keep this tradition alive and reserve your room early so you don't miss out next year.

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EBC UP Ski Week 2016 – Trip Report by Carrie Stilwell

I am an AHBC member and just joined EBC to participate in some of your “getaway” trips. To date, I have participated in Hot Chocolate, Turkey Run weekend and UP ski week. I have found EBCers to be very welcoming and knowledgeable of several sports. It is through EBC that I have learned about technical hiking and snowshoeing. Thanks to you, REI now has me on the “favorite customer” list!

Having just returned from the UP, I wanted to share the week’s event with club members, and encourage you to put it on the trip list for 2017. Let me start by saying that it was very well organized, and Kim Messina did a wonderful job keeping the group of 30+ folks informed and accommodated.

It is a long drive to the UP (>6 hrs.), but I had great company, with having found a car pool buddy to share the ride. Thank you Bonnie Brennan for good chats and bringing the book on CD. We were blessed this year with clear skies for travel to/from UP.

We stayed at a rustic-but cozy motel named Indianhead Motel in Ironwood, MI. Proprietors, Linda and Morgan made us feel like we were staying at a B&B. They went above and beyond, from storing our leftover appetizers for the next day’s happy hour, to towing a member out of a snowdrift, when needed. They are really super people and EBC has a long history of Ski week with them, for good reason.

The weather was balmier than what is normal for the area, roughly mid-20s for most of the days. I get cold easy, so I had layer after layer on. Looking like Mrs. Abominable Snowman, I peeled off the layers each day, as I got more acclimatized and comfortable with the brisk air.

Our daily rhythm was complimentary breakfast anytime between 6-8am, Kim’s morning briefing at 8:30am where you could choose your activity and sign up for Judy’s snowshoeing treks, find your group of skiers/snowshoers, and get the scoop on any special activities offered. We would naturally filter into car pools, and you could switch up as needed based on your plan for the day.

I chose to xc ski ABR most days and then return around 3-4pm to hit the sauna. Imagine half dozen ladies packed in a sauna only two doors down from your room…we sweated and chatted about our adventures until we were just a puddle on the floor. Evening schedule included 5:30pm happy hour and back into car pools for dinner at various local spots. This was followed by game night back at the motel lobby. All activities were optional.

I signed up solo for the trip and was a bit concerned I would be skiing alone, eating alone, sitting in my room and bored…nothing could be farther from the truth. I was welcomed to join folks every step of the way and it was very comforting. My only issue was going from no skiing, to 4-5 hrs. daily. George Hermach graciously offered to give a xc lesson to anyone interested, our first afternoon at ABR, and I was off and skiing. At the end of the first day, I was a bit tired but still going strong. At the end of the second day, I fell asleep in my room at 8:15pm and woke up around 10:30pm…one tired puppy dog!

Wednesday-Day 3 was a morning ski with afternoon planned tours at Stormy Kromer and Ironwood Theater. I heard good things about these tours and got back from ABR just in time for the theater tour. I missed the SK tour, but noticed a few of our group wearing fashionable SK hats!! I attended the historical theater tour and it was a delightful step back in time. This 1928 old world theater was restored by local volunteers and had an ornate ceiling mural and working Barton organ, still used during their twice monthly productions. A must see if you are a fan of live theater.

Our nighttime event was the Community Hike. We gathered at Miner’s Park and with headlights and snowshoes and followed a trail with the rest of the townspeople, in the dark, through the park. This was after an 8-10 inch snowfall, and it was just magical. They had something like 80 people show up for the hike. It lasted about an hour. I loved seeing the golden retriever with his headlamp on and tail wagging. It was a great event!!

Thursday we had an hour drive to the Porcupine Mountain State Park. It was a guided snowshoe hike through the wilderness. We crossed the Presque Isle River and viewed three rushing waterfalls. Our guide broke trail through the deep snow and kept us safely out of harms way, as portions of the park were old mining areas and there were areas unsafe to go on, near Lake Superior shoreline. Star, our guide, was amazing. She was dressed in a single layer long sleeve, with a vest, no hat and kept saying she gets hot easy. Crazy! It was some of the most scenic terrain I have ever hiked. Thank you Judy, for organizing this adventure!!

Friday came quickly and we packed up and left after breakfast. It was happy-sad moment of hugs and goodbyes to new friends made. Next year’s UP Ski week is scheduled for February 5-10 2017. I encourage any and all EBCers that like to downhill/xc/snowshoe or just to hang out in the pristine beauty of UP, to sign up for UP Ski Week 2017!!

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