West End Update – GINCC
Winter traditions galore
ISHPEMING — Growing up in Houghton we had our winter traditions. The largest being Winter Carnival at Michigan Tech.
Our elementary school would go on field trips each year to view the beautiful snow statues that had been crafted out of common household irons and snow. Moving away from what I know and love has been rocky. The best thing about the transition has been learning about the great things the West End of Marquette County has to offer. Even when I attended Northern, I never ventured to this neck of the woods.
For 135 times, the Ishpeming Ski Club has hosted a Ski Jumping event. Before this year, I had never even realized this was even a thing. Copper Peak in Ironwood was the only hill I had heard of and if I am being honest, that was only because of the Red Bull Run that a few of my friends competed in. For the first time in my life, I will be able to witness what I thought was an ancient sport. I also know now, that at least the story of the “Flying Finn” my dad told me as a kid wasn’t just him pulling my leg as he tends to do.
Now, I do know that Cross Country Skiing is an actual sport! Skiing used to be a fun exercise I would do with my family. I used to love going down a big hill, feeling like the fastest kid in the world. I haven’t skied in a long time and didn’t realize that I actually missed it until the opportunity to volunteer for the Noquemanon Ski Marathon next Saturday came up. With the help of the generous volunteers from TruNorth Credit Union I will be hosting the very first of the aid stations for the racers. We will be there to cheer them on and offer water, sports drinks, bananas and a warm fire if needed. I panicked when I was asked to run the First Aid Station. My first thought was, “Oh No, I’m not up to date on my CPR and First Aid training!” We all had a good laugh when it was explained what we were actually doing.
At this point everyone must be wondering if I live under a rock. I don’t, in fact I am excited for the Heikki Lunta Festival coming up on February 3rd and 4th because it reminds me of Heikinpaiva at Finlandia University. Heikki Lunta may not have an official Wife Carrying Competition or a Polar Bear Plunge, but they do have an Ice Fishing Tournament, a Freeze Yer Fanny Off Fat Bike Race, and this year a Community Cook off. The best part is I have an excuse to play “Guess who’s coming to sauna? Heikki Lunta” over and over again as I did in my childhood everytime we lit ours.
I may be missing what I used to call home and my old traditions, but it’s events like The Ski Jump, The Noque, and Heikki Lunta that comfort me and assure me that I’ve truly found a new place to call home and a new place to make lasting memories.