Ski camp member Don Schaning at Chapel Rock overlooking Lake Superior near Munising, Mich.
Ski camp member Don Schaning at Chapel Rock overlooking Lake Superior near Munising, Mich.

Most people cringe when hearing “heavy snow” in the forecast. But winter sports enthusiasts light up. Hearing “winter storm watch” gets me beaming.

“We could get a foot or more!” I declare to my work colleagues.

“I don’t want to hear it!” they respond.

For really big winter storms, it doesn’t get much better than in the Lake Superior Snow Belt. I’ve had the fortune of traveling through the upper Midwest when the cold winds blow off Lake Superior resulting in big snow dumps. Areas of northern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan get upwards of 300 inches of white stuff in good years. That part of the world is covered in white, and visibility drops to several feet. Forget those skinny skis and grab some snowshoes or strap on fat boys for a ride through the winter wonderland.

Ski camp
You’ve all heard stories about “deer camp,” those annual get togethers that close friends attend for fellowship, fun and hunting. This is a similar story, but it’s about “ski camp.”

Our small group has gone on an annual winter trip to the Northwoods since 1983. In the early years, ski camp was about skiing mega kilometers on groomed trails as Birkie training. That “ski until you drop” mentality lasted for more than a decade. But the ski camp outings evolved into something far different over the years.

With acreas and acres of hinterlands to explore, it was no longer about keeping track of K’s. Sure, we still ski groomed trails, but that’s not the focus. What’s more important is the camaraderie, tackling new landscapes, the post workout beer and perhaps pulling off a gourmet dinner. Our priorities have changed.

The last couple years our ski camp has been in the Munising, Michigan, area where we explore the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the heart of winter.

The entirety of Mike McFadzen's account of skiing in the Munising, Michigan, appears in the November 2013 print edition of Silent Sports. To order a copy and subscribe, call 888/706-4045.