Iron Endurance looks to get people outdoors, moving in Iron County

FROM LEFT, SKYLAR VANOSS, Avryl VanOss and Khali Woolard enjoy an Iron Endurance activity. The group, which looks to get people in Iron County outdoors, will have a cross-country ski race for children plus other activities Sunday.

CRYSTAL FALLS — “As our name suggests, Iron Endurance is here for the long haul.”

A Forest Park teacher has started a group that aims to get the people of Iron County outdoors, sometimes to exercise the body, sometimes the mind.

“I began Iron Endurance for my community because I realized there was a population of people that was not being served and beautiful trails that were not being utilized to their potential,” coordinator Chandra Ziegler said.

Activities this winter have included a youth snowshoe/ski club, open to kindergartners through 12th grade, that meets Mondays after school at Forest Park. This year, the second for the program, had between 20 to 30 kids participating, Ziegler said.

The first Iron Endurance Loppet, a 1k cross-country skiing race for kids, will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Others can ski and snowshoe for free on the newly expanded, and professionally groomed trails at the George Young Recreation Complex near Chicaugon Lake in Iron County.

Free equipment will be available, as are lessons if needed.

Afterwards, warm up with some free cocoa, cider and treats, grab a drink from the bar, or relax in the hot tub. Kids swim free. Call Ziegler at 906-284-0633 with any questions.

The activities, the afterschool programs all are part of Iron Endurance’s efforts to “promote and provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in lifelong health and wellness activities and endurance sports.”

They also aim to get residents of all ages to “embrace the elements of the U.P. in all seasons and explore the endless single-track trails in the area.”

That means getting out to play in the snow.

“Throughout these programs, where children are spending time away from a screen and in nature, the youth are learning some very important lessons that they will carry with them back to the classroom, into their families and communities, and in their own hearts for the rest of their lives,” Ziegler explained.

Even when the snow is gone, the activities will go on: A youth track club will meet Mondays after school at Forest Park throughout the spring and fall. The West Iron School District in Iron River might also organize a group for the fall.

Story walks, co-sponsored with the West Iron Library, will run periodically throughout the summer and fall. Families can enjoy a picture book and a walk along the Apple Blossom Trail in Iron River.

An Iron Endurance team for adults also has formed, connected to a Facebook group that will offer a private and safe place to ask questions about training, trails, nutrition and more, Ziegler said.

And a regular event in Crystal Falls still is on the calendar — Run Your Bass Off, set for 9 a.m. Sunday, July 8. Registration information will be posted online soon.

To learn more about the group, go to, which has a schedule of events for the year.