Sunday, December 6, 2009

Northern Michigan Ski Resorts Open For the 2009/2010 Season

Dressed up for the coming holiday season the main lodge at Boyne Highlands Resort is shilouetted by the lights and snow gun plumes as the resort makes snow 24 hours a day to get ready for the up coming ski season.

A lack of natural snow and a warmer than normal fall will keep most northern Michigan ski areas from opening until December 11th or 18th but both Harbor Springs Resorts, Boyne Highlands and Nubs Nob, got off to an early start opening on a limited basis this weekend. Boyne Highlands used the social networking websites Facebook and Twitter to officially kick off their season offering internet users signed up as friends of the resort two hours of free skiing Saturday afternoon.

A happy unidentified skier gives a double thumbs up as he and his friends ride the lift to the top of Boyne Highlands Heather run after the resort officially opened its 2009/2010 ski season Saturday afternoon.

While the Highlands was open for skiing on one run with one lift operating on Sunday Nubs Nob had four runs open with two lifts taking skiers to the top of the hills. “We were all brown here last Thursday” said Nubs general manager Jim Bartlett “but with the snow guns and two feet of natural snow we’ve even got our cross country trails open.”

Both Resorts will close at four p.m. today and reopen on their regular full schedules next Friday at 9 a.m. “We’ve still got a lot of snow making to do.” said Bartlett but he anticipates that when the resort opens on Friday they should have at least twelve runs open for skiers.

With the lights from the slopes of neighboring Nubs Nob in the distance some of Boyne Highlands new low energy snow guns run through the night to get ready for the opening of the coming ski season.

While crews at resorts around the state will be busy making snow 24 hours a day with most using traditional snow making equipment Boyne will be using its new “Low E” or Low Energy snow guns to build up their base of snow. The new guns were developed by Boyne and are extremely more efficient than the older models. According to Boyne Highlands area manager Joe Breighner the new snow runs produce a lighter, drier snow.

Also added at Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls this year is a new Zip Line Adventure that lets resort visitors fly down the mountain using harnesses on a series of cables that are stretched back and forth the across the ski runs. The Zip Line is a very popular attraction that Boyne has been operating at its Big Sky Montana resort.

Boyne Highlands Resort general manager Brad Keen (left) lets photographers know that this is the first ski run of the season as he, Boyne Snow Sports Academy director Tony Sendlhoffer (center) and Boyne Resorts vice president of Ski Operations John McGregor (right) take the first chair lift ride to the top of the resorts Heather run to officially start the resorts 2009/10 ski season.

Both ski areas are looking forward to better seasons in 2009/10. According to Boyne USA vice president of ski operations John McGregor Boyne reservations are “up over 2008 and a little over 2007 levels” at this same time of year. “You have to be an optimist to be in this business” said Nubs Nobs Jim Bartlett. While the economy and rainy 2008 holiday season helped put a damper on last season Bartlett said “We’re slightly better off this year than we were last year.”
Almost all of the ski resorts in the northern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula plan on being at least partially open next weekend including Boyne Mountain, Caberfae, Crystal Mountain, The Homestead, Treetops and Shanty Creek.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Rep. Pete Hoekstra and Joe the Plumber Speak in Petoskey, Michigan

Crowd members carry signs displaying their displeasure with the current Federal Government at a Tax and Spend Must End sponsored rally in Petoskey, Michigan's Pennsylvania Park.

Hundreds of people turned out at in downtown Petoskey’s Pennsylvania Park to hear speakers that included Michigan Congressional Representative and possible gubernatorial candidate Peter Hoekstra and “Joe the Plumber” at an event hosted by the group Tax and Spend Must End. According to the groups vice president Rich Carlson the event was not officially one of the now well known Tea Parties but more of a Town Hall style meeting.

Wisconsin resident Samuel "Joe the Pliumber" Wurzelbacher speaks at a Tax and Spend Must End sponsored rally in Petoskey, Michigan's Pennsylvania Park.

Acting as a motivational speaker Wisconsin resident Samuel Wurzelbacher, aka “Joe the Plumber” was sure to point out that he supports neither Democrats or Republicans. The stated purpose of his appearances is to try to get people involved in government. “Your voice can be heard and will be heard.” he told the crowd. Wurzelbacher, who gained national attention when he asked then presidential candidate Barak Obama if he was going to raise his taxes, also shared his personal opinions on topics ranging from the treatment he receives from the media to political correctness and the environment.

Michigan Congressional Representative and potential gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra speaks at a Tax and Spend Must End sponsored rally in Petoskey, Michigan's Pennsylvania Park.

“I’m glad Tea Parties aren’t a part of the Republican Party” Representative Hoekstra told the crowd during his speech. “Tea Parties didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left you and we’ve paid the price for it.” he added.

While tax reform was the primary topic for most of the events speakers health care and the economy were the hot issues with crowd members who participated in an open question and answer session that wrapped up the event. “Congressional members should be the first into any public plan” answered Hoekstra when asked if he would personally sign up for any public health care option.

Michigan Congressional Representative and potential gubernatorial candidate Pete Hoekstra answers a question from an audience member at a Tax and Spend Must End sponsored rally in Petoskey, Michigan's Pennsylvania Park.

When asked about China - U.S. relations by Troy, Michigan resident Dave Dyas Representative Hoekstra responded saying “Entering into permanent normal trade relations with China that was a huge mistake. I voted against that. I think China cheats, they cheat every day, they cheat in every aspect of business. They’re stealing our intellectual property rights, they compete unfairly, they use slave labor, under cap and trade they will use dirty energy, we will use clean energy, we put another burden on top of our workers that make it almost impossible for our workers to compete. We need to go aggressively back after China and put some kind of restrictions on them because of the unfair nature of their competition and don’t kid yourself they’re also building themselves up to be a world power from a military standpoint and the final point is that they are starting to influence foreign policy.” “I have a great concern about China and I think we all need to be concerned, and it does need to be addressed, I don’t think you’ll see it come out of this administration.”

The event, which is the second in Petoskey to feature Wurzelbacher as keynote speaker, drew approximately the same sized crowd as the host groups Tea Party earlier this year at the same location and it went off without incident.

See our complete gallery of images from this story at