Youth ski league forms at City Park

Menominee Range Nordic Ski Club plans to refurbish cabin for program

Pictured at a youth ski league gathering at City Park in Iron Mountain are, from left, front, Josiah Ringel, Jonathan Ringel, Luciana Whaley, Parker Whaley, David Nelson, John Nienstaedt, Dr. Sarah Venditti; and, standing, Emma Dube, Ashley Weeks, Jodie Gilroy, Elizabeth Romitti, Maggie Menghini, Myah Gilroy, Mackenzie Gilroy, Dr. Alexis Whaley, Isaac Nelson, Jeff Gilroy, Kathy Nelson, Mike Nelson, Emily Nelson, Ava Weeks, Andrew Nelson, Elena Nelson, Nancy Arcand, Laylonie Sexton, Beth Sexton, Brandon Maki, Holland Maki, Halle Maki, Amanda Krznarich, Lucy Krznarich, Dan Krznarich and Amy Giesen. (Glady Van Harpen Photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN – The Menominee Range Nordic Ski Club, operators of Iron Mountain’s City Park cross- country ski trail, have established a new youth ski league.

The league, consisting of area youth, parents, and volunteers, meets each Sunday at 1 p.m. at the trailhead parking lot, which is located near the tennis courts.

Organizers welcome all youth, from kindergarten through high school.

“We encourage all kids in the Menominee Range (Michigan and Wisconsin) to come out and give cross- country skiing a try,” said Kyle Lindstrom, ski club president.

“The ski club had a very successful youth program during the 1990s,” Lindstrom continued. “It actually encouraged not only cross-country skiing, but also was a feeder to the Kiwanis Junior Ski Club ski jumping program at Pine Mountain. Nita Englund, who just qualified for the Olympic team, is a perfect example of how the two sports can work together. We’re all Nordic, it’s part of the local DNA.”

At this point, the Menominee Range Nordic Ski Club wants to establish a permanent youth cross-country ski program.

“The club sees three key steps to achieving this goal: First, we need make sure that everyone understands that our main goal is to get area students outside during the winter having fun,” said club vice president and local high school cross-country running coach Dan Carey.

“Ultimately, we want to see more kids skiing, snow-shoeing, and enjoying winter activities in City Park and throughout the local area,” Carey said.

Next, the club plans to create a permanent equipment “bank” so that any young person, with or without equipment, can give skiing or snowshoeing a try. The club would like to eventually have 100 sets of equipment available. Club members are currently taking donations of used equipment and also plan to buy locally for new equipment.

Finally, the club will establish a permanent building space for meeting, warming and equipment storage and outfitting. To this end, the city of Iron Mountain las spring established a clause in the City’s Recreational Plan, which allows for the use of the old “rangers cabin” in City Park for the youth program.

The rangers cabin is located next to the trail in the center of City Park. According to ski club treasurer John Nienstaedt, “We were thrilled to see that the city added use of the rangers cabin to the rec plan. This is a huge step toward permanent success for local winter sports.”

Ski club members are meeting with interested area contractors to get prices for re-furbishing and repairing the cabin. Anticipated work includes: repairing the chimney/fireplace; window replacement; and necessary carpentry and electrical modifications.

“This will not happen overnight,” Lindstrom said. “But we are absolutely confident that we can achieve our goals. We have some ski club funding, and during the past decades, we have seen donations come through again and again, for worthy youth programs like this.”

The Menominee Range Nordic Ski Club, Inc. is a registered 501(3)c non-profit corporation. All work is completely voluntary. The club has operated the City Park trail for 29 years.

Persons interested in joining the ski league or in possibly donating funds or equipment, are encouraged to call John Nienstaedt at 906-774-5606 (evenings).