Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

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 BLUES

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.”

THE SKIING

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.

THE FAMOUS RIBS 

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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