Letters

Letters 10-27-2014

Paging Doctor Dan: The doctor’s promise to repeal Obamacare reminds me of the frantic restaurant owner hurrying to install an exhaust fan after the kitchen burns down. He voted 51 times to replace the ACA law; a colossal waste of money and time. It’s here to stay and he has nothing to replace it.

Evolution Is Real Science: Breathtaking inanity. That was the term used by Judge John Jones III in his elegant evisceration of creationist arguments attempting to equate it to evolutionary theory in his landmark Kitzmiller vs. Dover Board of Education decision in 2005.

U.S. No Global Police: Steven Tuttle in the October 13 issue is correct: our military, under the leadership of the President (not the Congress) is charged with protecting the country, its citizens, and its borders. It is not charged with  performing military missions in other places in the world just because they have something we want (oil), or we don’t like their form of government, or we want to force them to live by the UN or our rules.

Graffiti: Art Or Vandalism?: I walk the [Grand Traverse] Commons frequently and sometimes I include the loop up to the cistern just to go and see how the art on the cistern has evolved. Granted there is the occasional gross image or word but generally there is a flurry of color.

NMEAC Snubbed: Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) is the Grand Traverse region’s oldest grassroots environmental advocacy organization. Preserving the environment through citizen action and education is our mission.

Vote, Everyone: Election Day on November 4 is fast approaching, and now is the time to make a commitment to vote. You may be getting sick of the political ads on TV, but instead, be grateful that you live in a free country with open elections. Take the time to learn about the candidates by contacting your county parties and doing research.

Do Fluoride Research: Hydrofluorosilicic acid, H2SiF6, is a byproduct from the production of fertilizer. This liquid, not environmentally safe, is scrubbed from the chimney of the fertilizer plant, put into containers, and shipped. Now it is a ‘product’ added to the public drinking water.

Meet The Homeless: As someone who volunteers for a Traverse City organization that works with homeless people, I am appalled at what is happening at the meetings regarding the homeless shelter. The people fighting this shelter need to get to know some homeless families. They have the wrong idea about who the homeless are.

Home · Articles · News · Features · Ski Mackinac Island
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Ski Mackinac Island

Glen Young - January 4th, 2007
Tim Leeper has a secret, but he’s willing to share.
Leeper, who spends his summer hawking t-shirts, rubber tomahawks, and postcards at Mackinac Island’s Big Store, believes Mackinac Island’s summers are bested by its winters, and what Leeper likes best about Mackinac Island’s winters is the nordic skiing.
In fact, Leeper, long and lean and blond, believes Mackinac Island’s best kept secret is its skiing. “I guarantee that we have better groomed trails than anywhere else in Michigan,” Leeper says with his trademark face-wide grin.
Leeper and others attribute much of the credit for keeping the trails in top shape, from first snow to last melt, to the Mackinac Island Ski Club. The club uses a “layer of volunteers,” according to Leeper, to maintain the labyrinth of trails with a state-of-the-art Tidd-Tech groomer pulled behind a snowmobile. The Mackinac Island State Park provides the club with gas and oil to operate the grooming equipment.
The ski club, loosely organized but singly devoted, boasts between 12 and 15 members and charges no dues or fees. The grooming equipment was purchased as a result of early fundraising efforts by the group. Leeper and others claim the club has only one rule–that the last member to show up for the season’s first meeting becomes president.
Mackinac Island is home to more than 30 miles of groomed trails. According to Eric McLaurin, a former resident and volunteer with the club, most of the trails are rated for intermediate skiers, with only a few expert runs. McLaurin, who recently took a job with the United States Ski Hall of Fame in Ishpeming, believes what makes Mackinac Island skiing great is that “most days you can ski and not really run into anybody else out there.”
‘EVERY WINTER’
Mark Crossley of Petoskey spent several summers working on Mackinac Island in the mid 1970s and 1980s. Now he returns to ski “every winter I can,” he says. Crossley, who likes to attend during the Island’s Winter Carnival in February, believes the skiing is best because it’s an adventure.
“It’s the Island itself and getting there,” he says, referring to snowmobiling across the ice bridge from St. Ignace, or flying over the frozen Straits of Mackinac. Crossley also appreciates that “you can pretty much walk out your door and ski. You can’t really do that anywhere else.” He wistfully adds, “I’d like to have something like that in my backyard.”
Shane Boland-Harrison, who teaches science at Traverse City’s Interlochen Pathfinder School, also has a history of time on Mackinac Island, having worked summers there in the 1970s. She too regularly returns to enjoy the skiing. For Boland-Harrison the allure continues to be a combination of the Island’s special landscapes and storied history. “I always feel there is a magic about the Island,” she says. “When I ski there I feel a deep peaceful happiness. You are surrounded by beauty, amazing vistas, and a sense of place in history,” she adds.
Leeper, who knows Mackinac’s vistas and history well, and spends summers mountain biking the Island’s trails, says single tracks are available for classic skiing, with corduroy track able to accommodate skate ski enthusiasts. The single track horse trails are set for classic striding, while the two lane bicycle trails and interior roads are groomed for both classic skiing as well as skating.

WINTER WILDLIFE
Winter visitors may also be treated to the possibility of wildlife viewing. Bald eagles are periodically spotted, as are red fox and even coyotes. Several hawks are possible visitors, including the sharp shined, Cooper’s, and northern goshawk. Lucky skiers might spot a long eared owl, or barred owl hunting rodents.
Mackinac Island is of course noted for its tourism during the summer months, and the accommodations that accompany large crowds. Winter visitors will find that while the gift shops have put away the rubber tomahawks, and the large hotels have all drained their pools, the welcoming atmosphere is still clearly evident.
Ron and Mary Dufina and their
crew provide a nearly one-stop shopping experience for winter guests. The Dufinas’ Balsam Shop, located on Huron Street across from the Shepler ferry boat dock, offers ski and snowshoe rentals. Around the corner on Hoban Street, The Pontiac Lodge rents comfortable rooms, and next door The Village Inn serves warm food and cold drinks.
Other accommodations can also still be found through the winter season. The Mustang, famous for its burgers and cozy surroundings, is open, as is Patrick Sinclair’s Irish Pub, which serves local whitefish and imported beer. Rooms can also be found at Bogan Lane Inn downtown and Sunset Condominiums located near Stonecliffe Resort, adjacent the Island’s airport.

GETTIN’ THERE
Mackinac Island travel in winter is more challenging, but only slightly less certain. The Arnold Line ferry boats generally run from St. Ignace until just after the first of the year, or longer if there is no ice in the Straits of Mackinac. Great Lakes Air flies from the St. Ignace airport throughout the winter. Captain Paul Fuller and his crew are capable of making the brief but scenic flight in most any conditions.
For more intrepid travelers, the ice bridge that extends from St. Ignace to the Island is an alternative, both by snowmobile or skis, if the ice is solid and the Christmas trees, which mark the trail. are visible.
Tim Leeper is getting ready to enjoy another Mackinac Island winter of skiing. He is looking forward to the solace, snow, and sunshine. He believes that those who visit to ski will find that Mackinac Island in winter is precisely “what a true vacation is supposed to be.”
It’s Leeper’s secret, but he’s willing
to share.
 
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