Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Ribs, Blues, and Spring Skiing...
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Ribs, Blues, and Spring Skiing Too

The first Sunday in March is a guaranteed perfect storm for the outdoor lover.

Kristi Kates - February 24th, 2014  

Spring skiing, slow-cooked ribs slathered in secret sauce, and live blues on the deck are all part of Ribs and Blues, a Grayling-area tradition at the XC Ski HQ in Roscommon.

Called “a well-celebrated tradition” by the Grayling Visitor’s Bureau, Ribs and Blues is the perfect complement to the spring ski season.


The event began eight years ago when sunny weather at the XC Ski HQ prompted an impromptu outdoor BBQ and concert.

“We have some very talented blues artists here in Higgins Lake, and the best of all of them back then was a guy named Russ McCullough, or ‘Mania,’” said Mariah Frye, part owner of the 40-year-old XC Ski HQ in Roscommon. “Russ formed the West Side Blues Band about eight years ago, and we just had to have them come play on the sundeck one sunny weekend towards the end of the ski season, when spring skiing is at its best. We thought, what better to go with some real live blues than some ribs? And the tradition was started.”

Since then, Russ “passed away into Blues Heaven,” Frye said. Now his brother Dan and another musician, Don Mick, carry the torch.

“They’re a really talented duo,” Frye said, “and with the music and the food and the atmosphere, everyone gets really into it.”


XC Ski HQ, which has about nine miles of groomed trails, a full retail store, ski and snowshoe rentals, a day lodge, café, and sundeck, is a place where the owners and employees “live and breathe cross-country,” Frye said.

“We’re unique in that we’re one of the only ‘XC-only’ shops in the Midwest,” she said.

Frye said that her store is “passionate” about making cross-country skiing a sport that is accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or budget.

“Michigan is such a beautiful state in the wintertime, and being able to get outdoors and explore the wilderness is something we think everyone should be able to do,” she said. “Our facilities … offer a fun, affordable way to get outside, exercise, meet friends, and enjoy winter.”

And it’s also a great sport to burn the calories from a big plate of ribs and sides.


For those who don’t know, the XC Ski ribs are something truly unique, Frye said.

“We start cooking them on very low heat in the oven the day before the event, and our grill master, German Dave, finishes them by grilling them on the sun deck barbeque pit with a special sauce, which is highly addictive and spicy,” she said. “I’d get in big trouble for sharing our secret ingredients with you, but I can tell you that Frank’s Red Hot is part of it.”

For $10, a hefty slab of the “famous” ribs is served up, along with cole slaw and scalloped potatoes, creating a complete winter feast.

And any calories not burned off earlier by skiing can be danced away courtesy of the West Side Blues Band, who will perform outdoors if it’s warm enough, or in center’s Stone Turtle Day Lodge if it’s not. The whole combo is a great way to celebrate one of the last cross-country ski events of the season.

“This event is unique because it’s so fun and it’s the time of year when you get those rare days of warm weather skiing where the snow is still fast and in great shape,” she said. “It’s the perfect combination ... I mean skiing, ribs, live blues music, friends and sunshine? Does it get any better?”

Ribs and Blues will take place at XC HQ on Sun., March 2 beginning at 2pm. Cost is $10 for adults, $5 for children eight and under. Reservations will get first seating. Email skiboneslynne@aol.com to reserve, or call (800) 832-2663 for more info.

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