It's April and there is still an abundance of snow to enjoy. It has been a wonderful winter from many perspectives. The following are just a few highlights.
Members make the whole organization possible. Your donations, volunteerism and passion for the outdoors keep the NTN growing. This year we added many new members to our total membership of more than 1000. Trail Builders are the individuals, families and businesses who give at least $500 each year to allow us to build new trails, purchase needed equipment and hire our staff. We have 37 Trail Builders this year, some who have been sustaining us for nearly 10 years. As you pass by the kilometer markers take note of the sponsors and thank them for going above and beyond.
Nordic operations are undoubtedly the most expensive aspect of the organization with snow grooming taking the lion’s share of the revenue we earn. A typical Bombi groom for all of the trails from Forestville Trailhead to 510 takes 8 hours. We calculate with fuel, labor, insurance, maintenance and depreciation, one hour of Bombi grooming is over $200. As you can see, an 8 hour Bombi groom is about $1600! We own two of these big machines essential to the Noquemanon Ski Marathon as well as the “big” snows we have enjoyed this season. We groom about 60 kilometers in January and February from CR 510 to the Tourist Park Trailhead. From 510 to Forestville including all interior loops are 45 kilometers alone! Most of the grooming is done by volunteers with a snow machine and Ginzu, a far more economical way to go with a very nice product in the end. Our grooming volunteers are the back bone of the Nordic season. This year’s Volunteer of the Year is John Sonderegger. John is often the first guy out on the trails rolling in November and the last one out in the spring. John has done this since the NTN’s inception in 1999. Now that’s a lot of hours!! The ranks of volunteer groomers are pretty small. These hearty fellows have put in about 250 hours on the sleds and 100 hours in the Bombi this year. More volunteers means less work for all. Let us know if you’d like to help out next year. Our grooming coordinator for the past 2 years is Jerry Stuits. Jerry graduates from NMU and will be moving out east this summer. We’ll miss his knowledge and ready smile. Best of Luck Jerry!
We are fortunate to be able to hire seasonal staff to man the Trailhead on weekends as well as coordinate volunteers for the weekdays. Peter Johnson did fabulous job as Trail Host coordinator this winter. The Trailhead is kept warm and clean by Peter and his wonderful volunteers. If you are interested in helping out at the trailhead let us know. Our volunteers provide day passes to non-members, rent equipment, track skier visits and provide advice on which trails to ski. A “shift” is typically 2-4 hours once a week. Skier visit sign-ins indicated we hosted 680 skiers in December, 920 in January, 825 in February and 660 in March. Our dedicated trailhead people took in about $9000 in December, $3600 in January, $2200 in February and $1200 in March. These essential dollars keep the lights on and afford us the ability to hire staff.
Each year the Forestville Trailhead gets busier and busier. Examples of your Trailhead in action are, the Marquette Senior High School Nordic Team and the Superiorland Ski Club Teams training sessions, adaptive ski lessons each Thursday, Downwind classic and skate lessons every Monday in January and February, the Noquemanon Skijor Club on Thursdays, the Superior Snowshoe Series on Friday nights, the Superiorland Ski club’s Ski Cats on Sunday afternoons, winter training for NMU’s ROTC in February and that’s not all. Special events like the Junior Noque, the World Championship Snow Bike and the Animoosh Skijor races, as well as the Honey Bear Classic. The trailhead is a perfect place for a gathering of friends and family to enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, skijoring, snow biking or just gazing into the woodstove.
Although we have much to do in the future, the following are some of the 2012-2013 Accomplishments:
Finally, sincere thanks to our Administrator, Nikki Dewald and our Board, Craig Stien, President; Lyle VanderSchaaf, VP; Cary Gottlieb, Treasurer; Wendy Frye, Secretary; Derek Anderson, Tom Asmus, Mike Brunet, Mike Cousineau, Lindsey Demers, Andrew Grosvenor, , George Geikas, Marcia Gonstead Don Hurst, Larry Lawless, Jon Mommaerts, Laurie Neldberg-Weesen.