With winter in full swing the Outdoor Adventure program at Nicolet College is offering a full slate of opportunities for people to get outside, learn new skills, and experience the Northwoods in its grand winter finery.
“We’ve had great snow and this winter is shaping up to be pretty close to perfect for all kinds of outdoor activities,” Nicolet Outdoor Adventure coordinator Terry Rutlin said.
While many eagerly await the season, he noted some may be on the fence about taking the leap into winter adventures.
“For those new to anything, it’s all about taking that first step in order to open up a whole new world of experiences that bring so much enjoyment to the season,” Rutlin said. “Because do you really want to be cooped up in the house sitting on the couch for months on end? That’s enough to make anyone go stir crazy. With a little bit of instruction, and the right equipment, you can turn that around and make winter a whole lot of fun and much more enjoyable.”
A notable new class this year is Skijor with Your Dog!, which will provide an overview of all of the basics needed for your dog to help pull you along the ski trail.
“If your dog likes to run, and you like to ski, that’s like the perfect match,” said instructor Niina Baum, co-captain of the U.S. Dryland Sled Dog Team. “Once you learn about the equipment and get a few of the fundamentals down, it’s a whole lot of fun for both you and your dog.”
In this demonstration class, Baum will cover gear and equipment needed, how to size equipment properly for both you and your dog, how to train your dog to skijor, what commands to teach the dog, trail technique and etiquette, and where the dog-friendly trails are in the area. Depending on conditions, there may be an opportunity for you and your dog to try skijoring after the class.
The class will run from 2 to 4 p.m., Friday, Feb. 21, at Minocqua Winter Park. Cost is $25.
Other upcoming classes include interpretative snowshoe hikes through stands of rare and impressive old-growth forests, fat biking classes, downhill skiing and racing as well as several beginning to intermediate cross country ski classes in both Rhinelander and Minocqua.
For more information, and to register for classes online, visit nicoletcollege.edu/outdooradventure.com or call the college at 715-365-4544, 1-800-544-3039, ext. 4544.
Specifics on each offering are as follows:
Old-Growth Pines Snowshoe Exploration and Lunch
Secreted away in a corner of the great Northwoods near Mercer exists an unmarked and rare stand of remnant old-growth pines that few know about. Join naturalist, author, and old-growth expert John Bates and his wife Mary Burns on this adventure that will end with participants enjoying bowls of warm homemade soup, fresh bread, and hot cider after the hike. 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Friday, Jan. 31. Meet at Mercer Public Library. $55.
Winter Ecology of the Germain Hemlocks — Snowshoe Hike
The majestic natural aesthetic of the Germain Hemlocks State Natural Area near McNaughton will be on full display on this winter snowshoe hike that showcases stands of old-growth eastern hemlocks with supercanopy white and red pines. Instructor/guides John Bates and Mary Burns. 1 to 3 p.m., Friday Feb. 7. $45.
Classic Skiing Technique — Rhinelander
Classic skiing is the traditional cross-country skiing technique which involves skiing in groomed tracks. From toddler to senior, everybody can pick up this technique quickly and enjoy the beauty of the trails in the Northwoods. Designed for both beginners and those with some skiing experience. Instructor Brian Hegge, 9:30 am to 11:30 am, Sundays, Jan. 5 and 12. Ced A. Vig Outdoor Classroom — CAVOC. $50
Free Style/Skate Technique — Rhinelander
The deceptively effortless glide and grace of skate skiing is only possible when you know proper technique. Starting on flat terrain, we’ll cover the essential elements of proper skate skiing form to get both the skis and poles working in sync for that perfect glide. Instructor Brian Hegge. 1 to 3 p.m., Sundays, Jan. 5 and 12. Ced A. Vig Outdoor Classroom — CAVOC. $50.
Beginning Cross Country Skiing — Classic Technique — Minocqua
Up north the woods take on a special serenity when they become snow covered in winter. And one of the best ways to experience this scenic natural quietude is to cruise through the forest on cross country skis. Designed for beginners looking to try the sport for the first time as well as for those who have minimal skiing experience, this class will give you all of the skills necessary to gracefully and confidently ski the many groomed and tracked beginner trails. Instructor Dan Clausen. 9 a.m. to noon, two Fridays, Jan. 10 and 17, Minocqua Winter Park. $50. With ski rental: $60.
Intermediate Cross Country Skiing — Classic Technique — Minocqua
Join Minocqua Winter Park Ski School founder and director Dan Clausen for this skills-filled class designed to build on your previous classic-style cross country skiing experience. With the goal of improving ability and gaining the greater sense of confidence that follows, instruction will include proper stance for optimum balance in a variety of conditions, the right rhythm for kicking and poling for satisfying glide, the best techniques for going up and down hills, how to turn, and how to stop. 9 a.m. to noon, five Thursdays, Jan. 16, 23, 30, Feb. 6, and 13. Minocqua Winter Park. $85.
Intermediate Cross Country Skiing — Skate Technique — Minocqua
The grace, style and speed of the skate skiing technique will be the focus of this class geared for those who have some previous skate skiing experience. By poling and pushing with the legs in various sequences and rhythms, you’ll refine and perfect your skills with at least three different skate skiing techniques. Class will be taught by Dan Clausen, director of the Minocqua Winter Park Ski School and veteran of 39 American Birkebeiner ski races. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. under the lights. Two Thursdays Jan. 16 and 23. Minocqua Winter Park. $40.
Introduction to Downhill Skiing
A great day on the slopes carving graceful and confident turns comes down to learning a few basic techniques to make your skis go where you want them to. In this class designed for both beginning skiers and those seeking to sharpen existing skills, you’ll learn the tips and tricks needed to ski forward while controlling speed, turn right and left with confidence, and perhaps most importantly, how to stop on a dime. This highly-affordable class features a one-day or a discounted two-day package that includes a lift ticket, instruction, and the use of skis, if needed. Camp 10 Ski Area instructors. 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 11, Sunday, Feb. 9. Camp 10 Ski Area, Rhinelander. One-day Package: $59. Two-Day Package: $79
Alpine Ski Racing
The excitement of launching from the start gate and onto a Giant Slalom race course is a thrill like no other. Beginning downhill ski racers will learn the basic techniques to click through the gates with style and grace and experienced racers will benefit from tips and tricks to cut time from their race runs. On-the-snow instruction will include two hours of actual racing on the recreational-level NASTAR course with medals awarded, depending on race times. Beginning racers must have some experience downhill skiing, good directional control on skis, and have the ability to stop. Instructors Jed Owen, Tracy Swedlund, Terry Rutlin. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 18. Big Powderhorn Mt. Resort, Bessemer, Mich. $100, Includes four hours of instruction, lift ticket, and NASTAR race fee. $125 with ski rental.
Fat Biking Riding — Intro
Cycling on the snow might sound crazy, but with the right kind of bike, it's a great workout that will have you soaking up the season. The same trails used for summer rides become a whole new playground atop a fat-tire bike, or “fat bike,” as it’s commonly called. The bike looks and moves like a mountain bike, but a fat bike has thicker tires with deeper grooves and lower air pressure. Instructor/guide Andrew Teichmiller. 1 to 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 19. Minocqua Zipline Trails. $30. $70 with Fat Bike Rental.
Fat Bike Riding — Next Level
So, you’ve ridden a fat bike a few times, had a great experience, and are now looking to take your skills to the next level. This intermediate-level class will help you do exactly that as we cruise the varied terrain of the well-developed and nicely groomed trails of the WinMan Trail system just north of Manitowish Waters. You’ll learn how to use body English to control your bike, cornering techniques at speed, navigating single-track, proper cadence, and bike handling during challenging sections. Instructor/guide Andrew Teichmiller. 1 to 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. WinMan Trails, Winchester. $30. $70 with fat bike rental.