Jan 26-05

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2005: January: Jan 26-05
Starting outů    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Brita Haapala
On the brink    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Brita Haapala

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 03:43 am:

So many places to ski in the U.P., so little time to ski them all. Today we feature the Porkies, part of the Porcupine Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon. With camera in hand, Brita Haapala and gang made a trek there for some winter fun. Of course you have to start out with a bit of instruction from a capable leader, so that when you get to the really steep slopes you'll know what to do and not just stand there staring in fright at the precipitous cliff you're about to go down. Or maybe the two folks in the second photo are staring in awe at the view, as I'd be, before I turned around and looked for the bunny hill. Something that always amazes me when you see young ones starting to ski, is the absence of ski poles for that added security, like the youths in these shots.

By BWR, Shelby Twp, MI on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 04:18 am:

This is up pretty early this morning. Another inviting UP scene.

By Chris, Georgia on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 04:44 am:

This brings back memories of the ski school offered by Webers at Ripley between Christmas and New Years during the 40's and 50's when I was young. We would get into our warmest clothes and pack our skis on top of our station wagon and travel twelve miles from Calumet. Then we would be taught, and then allowed to ski for several hours each day. When we got cold, we could warm up by the stove in the hut at the bottom of the hill. We went up the hill on a rope tow. What a great time that was.

By smf in troll land on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 05:40 am:

Had a great time watching my 4 1/2 year old granddaughter learn how to ski yesterday down here at Mt. Holly! The area certainly didn't look anything like today's pictures, tho.

By sg/Milford on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 05:48 am:

Wouldn't it be nice to be young again and know what we know now? I would have loved to take up skiing; however, the lodges were just being built back then around Milford. We didn't have the opportunity to learn like these kids are doing here. Great Photo!!!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 06:46 am:

Love the scene. Couldn't ski though--would look like a tomato on toothpicks.

By Sharyn - Howell, MI on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 07:11 am:

Brita...love the picture!! Come to think of it...ya'll should of come with us back in the late 70's! We needed a powerful leader! Steve and I came down those big hills on our stomachs!!!

By Missin the UP from NJ on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 07:57 am:

Again, great pictures! How lucky are they? esp. in 2nd picture? To be able to look out over the lake on the way down!
I did downhill skiing when I was in my early teens, under very challenging conditions. A big hill at the neighbors farm and cross country skis without bindings, and had a GREAT time! That included CLIMBING back up the hill over and over. WOW- now I think, what could I have done with the right equipment and a ski lift? I sure kept my legs and heart in shape without even realizing it, tho! LOL! My girlfriends thought I was nuts, so they stayed home! They sure don't have the fond memories I have of the quiet of the snowy hills, and the pride of challenging my body and succeeding! I am greatful for the snowy UP winters of my youth!

By Yooper in MPLS on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:19 am:

I grew up skiing at the Porkies and will be heading home to ski at the Porkies this weekend. The view of Lake Superior from the top is incredible!

By maijaMI on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:39 am:

Margaret, Amarillo Tx: you cracked me up!

By maijaMI on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:41 am:

Sharyn, Howell: that would have been my skiing skill as well! Now, sitting by the fire in the ski lodge....

By Sandy Texas on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:45 am:

I remember riding down snow covered hills in an upside down car hood with about 3 or 4 other kids. Some of the kids rode down on garbage can tops...Good times...but I was always the one wanting to go home and get warm...That was in KY as a kid...And slowly treking across creeks to see it they were frozen solid...in boots! Not a skier...for sure! Nice photos...Have a great day, all!

By Taana on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:57 am:

Looked like it was a great day! Course any day skiing is a great day. I bought my ski pass for the Porkies and I've been waiting for the chance to get out there. These pictures just give me the incentive to make the time to go.

By Michael Austin, Holt MI on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:00 am:

Good Morning All, great pictures Brita, thanks for sharing them with us. Enjoy your day.

By Candy, CA on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:29 am:

Loved these pictures, Brita, in your gallery, and love them here! They bring back a lot of memories -- every Saturday when we were kids, we headed out to the Porkies to spend the day. It was great. Thanks for the peek (and the peak!) over your shoulder!

By Ohio Nancy on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:58 am:

As a kid, in the olden days, I had wooden skis with a leather strap over the instep. We used to ski down the 'sand hills' north of Menominee. When I was about 12, I got glasses. That winter I skied to the sand hills, and for the first time looked down at what I'd been doing for about 5 years. Now I could see ! And I promptly quit and went home - never to try again. That second picture reminds me of the view, and the terror.

By Liz, Idaho on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 10:56 am:

Had the exact same experiences that Chris related above. Webber's Ski School, Station Wagon full of kids and skis plus a Dad there to pick up the pieces.
It is still my life long sport...now with Helmet.

By LJ Heberle, Ohio on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 11:15 am:

A couple years back I drove into the ski area parking lot during a summer visit to the U.P. I was amazed to see a fisher romping through the fields and grassy slopes. First I've ever seen one in the wild! It looked like it had half a mind to attach me for its lunch.

By Chevysac, MQT Native in Bev Hills on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 11:26 am:

Just realized that I haven't skied the Porkies since about 1969. I do remember the views and some great runs. Do they (like Bohemia) still rely on all natural snow? As a Cliff's Ridge (now Mqt Mountain) skier since 1957 I still hit the slopes of Michigan and Colorado each year. Unfortunately, I have to deal with the SE Michigan molehills when I'm not on the road to better skiing.

By Lowell MO on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 11:47 am:

When I was a kid in the U.P. I also learned to ski with Homemade Skis. All we had then were Toe Straps. If we used a ski pole usually it was just one and we carried that crossways for balance.
I like the second picture. Reminds me of some place that I'd seen before.

By Marsy on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 01:01 pm:

I never skiid in the Porkies......Indianhead in Wakefield I knew well. We had passes all through high school and one year of J.C. so spent all our spare time there. The Porkies look gorgeous!!

By Roudy Mi on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 01:28 pm:

All this ski talk reminds me of a story from my Moms' generation. The cousins and friends were skiing on a rope behind a car taking turns. Sonny was on the skiis moving right along when one ski hit a cow pie and stopped dead. Well, Sonny hit the ground and got knocked cold. They thought they had done him in till he came to.

By John / New Hampshire on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 01:43 pm:

Roudy, we used to do that too - ski behind vehicles that is - some friends rented a place in Dover Location and we would make a loop on Dover Road, Oneco Road, and Old County Road. Never hit a cow pie but had some close calls with mailboxes.

By Roudy Mi on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 02:11 pm:

I did grab a few unsuspecting bumpers and hitched a ride to the Union from Wadsworth on occasion.

By moty, calumet on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 02:14 pm:

"Somehow" my brother used to lose his choppers often. My mom should have checked the bumpers around town!

By ;JAD, Oskar, MI on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 03:50 pm:

Chris and Liz -- The Mt. Ripley ski instruction is still going on! Webbers went out of business a couple of years ago and The Hill took over the ski school. They hired a ski instructor (he's also in charge of the snack bar) and there are several other instructors who help (some of whom are on the ski patrol). Can you believe the after school program this year enrolled over 1100 kids!!!!! And over 600 MTU students signed up. However, the instruction isn't limited to downhill; snowboarding is a real biggie. The hill has many more runs on it, there is a groomer and snowmaking equipment AND all runs are lit at night and I'll just give a slight mention of the world class XC ski trails! This is a fantastic place to live!

By ts on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 04:50 pm:

Dont forget the tire innertubes wed cut and use like the modern ski binders--We skied the centennial heights hills down into calumet dam--before any of us ever seen or heard of a ski tow--later yrs came the hand tow at tamarack hill

By flyin on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 05:06 pm:

Our idea of fun was to grab a tray from the cafeteria at da Tech and take em to Ripley late when da lights were out and climb up and slide down on da Trays.........There might have been beer involved........

By Dave - Colorado on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 05:20 pm:

Great Photo and discussion today! The comments about Cliffs Ridge and cafeteria trays bring back a lot of memories. We always said that if you could ski the "bullet-proof" ice at Cliffs Ridge then you could ski anything. Well that seems to be true. In fact skiing was one of the main reasons I moved to Colorado after college. And "flyin" you reminded me... it seems like every story from my NMU days starts out with the phrase "First we got a lot of beers, then..." what fun!!

By GRANDPA NORM MI & FL on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 05:54 pm:


By Capt. Paul in Nevada on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 05:58 pm:

Yea but it's no fun at Tech anymore since the halls now watch for anyone trying to remove trays from the cafeteria's. Although if they haven't fixed the screens in McNair, there is usually just enough room to "accidently" slip a tray out the window in the chow hall, not that I would know anything about this ;-)

By Uncle Chuck, Little Betsy on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 08:26 pm:

Hey Grampa Norm, forget about skiing the rock piles, what about the water ski jump in Lac La Belle? Didn't they take that jump out after you gave it a whirl? Shattered knee cap, OUCH! You yooper's were tuff back then!

By Yooper /AZ on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:20 pm:

Monty from Calumet,
Your brother was not the only one to lose his choppers. My husband remembers losing his choppers and finding them frozen on the bumper of a car the following day.

By Mohawkfinn on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 09:25 pm:

Spent many a day skiing the rock piles in Mohawk and Fulton. Fulton Mine Bluff was also an interesting place to ski especially with the barbed wire fence near the base. The #5 sawdust pile was a hoot also.

By Paul in Ms. on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 10:22 pm:

As kids, we would go sledding on Tamarack hill,I could almost make it to tenth street.We graduated to toboggens with the addition of the ski hill.As you can imagen,we were an unwelcome addition to the ski hill!!!

By Ken ja Mimi from da UP on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 11:32 pm:

There was a bunch of us that used to sleigh ride down Tamarack Hill (Tamarack Mills) past the school, down to Harrelsen's. (sp?) One time we met the county snow plow near the school. You never saw so many kids get off the road and over the snowbank so fast! :>) Our sleds were the kind with the metal runners, that you could steer. Man, that was fun!

By Andytofu, Sedar Bay on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 03:45 am:

As a student at Suomi College (now Finlandia University) umpteen years ago, we who were poor as the sometimes called "church mice" would use opened cardboard boxes and slide down Scott Street in Hancock. Then we'd crawl back up and slide down again. As "church mice" we couldn't afford skiis the young people enjoy today. But we did have memorable times despite our limited resources.

This is my first winter in the UP since my Suomi College days and I'm both enduring and loving my first winter here in Sedar Bay. Lake Superior is different every day; the deer come to rest in my yard; the squirrels position themselves in the bird feeders and fill their cheeks with bird food before scurrying to a spot near the central air conditioner; the pileated wood peckers love the suet hanging in the tree; and yesterday morning as I was going out to the garage, the chickadees in the bush sang thanks to me for keeping the feeders full. It was a most moving experience to hear them singing to me. Sure would like to see the weather warm up a bit, however, so I can comfortably use my cross country skiis.

By Troll in Eagle Harbor on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 04:52 am:

CHARLIE HOPPER....I'm doing 10 hr shifts as a snowblower test pilot...I hope to be home all day Saturday and Sunday....How does that sound?

By KrisT, Kentucky on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:28 am:

I grew up not too far from the Porkies...Most weekends Mom and Dad would head for the cross-country trails and us kids would hit the main slopes (this was in the 70's)...Often if it was colder than usual, the slopes were almost bare, and I understand from a sister that skiing almost alone on any particular weekday still is wonderful. No worries about being plowed down by another skiier as you admire the view down the hill. I never desired to try the man-made snow on the hills near Ironwood or here down south after such wonderful skiing at the Porkies. (They usually get a bit more snow that the Ironwood area, so probably don't need the snow machines anyway). And a lift ticket is still rather cheap compared to anyplace else I have been.

By SDC, Ferndale, MI on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 12:05 pm:

Ken ja Mimi from da UP:
I too use to go down that Tamarack Hill on my silver "flying saucer". Also attended that school too in '64 before my family and I become trolls.....Mrs. Keranen was our teacher at the time and the first house across the road was Harrelson's...use to be friends of our family way back when.

By Jamie dfw tx on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 12:17 pm:

Anyone had the chance to look down at the Lake of the clouds? It was awesome.

By Nev. on Friday, March 4, 2005 - 03:20 pm:

To be young. Sure do miss the UP. good old Dollar Bsy. not much snow in VEAGS, lots of rain. great to see the picture.

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