Winter events bond West End communities


The impact of an event, especially in winter, helps develop the character and fortitude of a community. Events help cultivate pride, strengthen relationships, teach teamwork and build the social foundation which makes up a community. It’s a time to celebrate and share what makes our home unique.

It’s impressive to see the volunteer efforts that come forth in preparation and execution of events. The Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce has hosted an aid station for the Noquemanaon Ski Marathon for a few years now. This year was challenging in the fact the temperature at the start of the race was minus 13 F.

We had over 20 volunteers from the Westwood football team and TruNorth Federal Credit Union along with several GINCC board members come out and brave the cold. We looked out for each other to make sure no one got frost bite. We worked as a team to provide water and energy drink to the ski racers. We cheered the racers on and enjoyed the accomplishment of doing a job well done.

Tradition runs deep on the West End. The Ishpeming Ski Club has been hosting its annual ski jumping tournament for over 130 years. That’s over a century of dedication. More recent events like the Heikki Lunta Winter Festival organized by the U.P. Luge Club and fat bike snow race events supported by the Range Area Mountain Bike Association showcase the vast outdoor venues we have out our back door on the West End.

In addition, events have an economic impact. They draw visitors who participate or spectate and spend money locally. If the event is impressive enough, those visitors return for the next event or are hopefully drawn to come back to explore the community after the event is done. A few even decide to relocate and call it home.

The GINCC has one more event on our outdoor calendar this winter. The West End Winter Wonderland will be held from 4-7 p.m. Saturday at the Wawonowin Country Club and Golf Course. It is a social winter outing on groomed trails around the golf course with GINCC member businesses hosting stations along the way. It’s a great way to interact with the community, meet new people and share a winter experience.

The clubhouse will be open for registration at 3 p.m. Prior to the WEWW, there will be a fat-tire bike snow cross race held on the same trails hosted by UPCROSS and RAMBA. The race will be held from 1-3 p.m. Race registration opens at noon.

For more information on the WEWW, visit the GINCC website at or call 486-1111.

Editor’s note: Bob Hendrickson is the executive director of the GINCC. He currently resides in Negaunee with his wife, Laura, and daughter, Sierra. He enjoys mountain biking, skiing, fishing and hunting along with family time.