Despite cold weather, skiers enjoyed Taste & Glide
by Kimberly Wheeler
Temperatures were very chilly at the 25th annual Valley Spur Taste 'n Glide, however ski enthusiasts were not deterred. The participants included local residents and people from throughout the Upper Peninsula, as well as group of skiers from Wisconsin. 'We travel up here every year, and we just love it," Kayleen Kauffman of the Nordic Ski Club of Milwaukee said. Typically Taste 'n Glide takes place entirely outside, and volunteers serve fruits, sandwiches and desserts skiers and snowshoers as they travel along one of Valley Spur's ski trails. This year's extremely cold weather, however, meant that the food was served from inside of the Valley Spur Lodge. The event was catered by Sydney's Restaurant, including chocolate covered strawberries, and featured live music by Chris Valenti. The Friends of Valley Spur organized the event, and estimated that about 100 people attended this year's Taste 'n Glide, which is lower than previous years. "Usually we look at 200 (people), but the cold weather is putting a damper on things. These are hearty people...," said Carberry, a Friend of Valley Spur member. Carberry also explained that Taste 'n Glide draws novice skiers too. “We get people that are brand new skiers and snowshoers... I think it gives them a chance to come out and have “a taste" of Valley Spur," she said.
Valley Spur volunteer Carl Hansen explained that the ski area has a unique beauty. “The local people don't... realize how incredible the trails are here," he said, "The beauty of the trails, the groom, the way it's laid out, it's incredible. It winds around a creek that flows all year long. It is a beautiful trail system," he added. The trails have been maintained entirely by volunteers. "If it wasn't for the volunteers, there would be no skiing here at all..."Carberry explained. This year's Taste 'n Glide specifically recognized the contributions of longtime volunteer and Valley Spur founding member Dave Worel.Worel was instrumental in the success of maintaining and improving Valley Spur since its inception. "...we've dedicated this Taste `n Glide to Dave, who is a longtime volunteer, basically he is the heart and soul of Valley Spur," Suzette Carberry, Valley Spur enthusiast explained. "Dave was one of the first people who taught me how to ski out here at Valley Spur, so I consider him to be one of my mentors in learning how to cross country ski," Arlene Swanberg, Valley Spur volunteer added. Worel's experience with Valley Spur spans about 37 years and he has observed many changes during Valley Spur's evolution. "We started the trail in 1977 ... the trail slowly built in distance, it started off as two miles and now it's 22 miles...," Worel said. "This is an area that you can come and enjoy in the winter. We have opportunities to ski, for anything from the beginning skier to the most advanced, we also have a nice snowshoe trail... plus there's the opportunity to be with other people that enjoy the outdoors. Either come and meet new friends, or bring friends," he said. Worel stated that he looked forward to the special recognition at this year's event. "I'm excited ... this is really a great group of people to work with out here," he said.
(See pictures in separate posting)