MINOCQUA - You can't travel too far in the Northwoods without finding a cross-country ski trail. So Newswatch 12's Lex Gray and I [Melissa Constanzer] decided to find out what all the fun is about. Minocqua's Winter Park offers a ‘Locals Learn to Ski Free' Program.
"We developed a program people can come in. They can get a free rental, a free trail pass, and a free one hour lesson from professionally trained instructors," says Casey Sovil, Operations Manager of Minocqua Winter Park.
The first step, getting fitted for the equipment. While I have been alpine skiing and running all my life, it was time to put the two together.
"They're taller than ski poles!" says Melissa Constanzer.
But we couldn't have even gotten on the equipment without the help of our instructor Zeke.
"We're going to go like this and it's pulling on your wrist it doesn't feel very good and we're pushing on our hands. So we're going to have a very lose grip on our poles," says Zeke, the ski instructor.
Then we pop in our skies and hit the trails skiing. Cross country skies felt very weird to me and there was something new I had to keep in mind.
"Our fish scales, or our grip pattern goes all the way to the heel of our foot. So if we're skiing on our toes or the balls of our feet, we're really only using two-thirds of our potential kick area," says Zeke.
We got through the basics with a couple of fun drills, then we were ready for a more daunting challenge.
"Alright, I already got my downhill ski lesson from Zeke so now I have to pass on the lesson to Melissa. So the main thing is keep your knees bent because otherwise you'll just fall right over. The other thing is to keep your arms forward. And also look where you're going," says Lex Gray.
And down we went. We worked on turning and stopping as well as taking out our camera guy. Somehow, no one was hurt on our day on the trails.
"We just wrapped up our ski lesson here and it was a little chilly but I think we accomplished something here," says Lex Gray "I think we did and I had a lot of fun, didn't you Lex?" says Melissa Constanzer. "Yes, it's tons of fun! Come down and get your free lesson," says Lex Gray.
If you would like to learn to ski for free on Sunday's, visit the link attached.
We talked to a Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce board member about what the future holds as they search for a new executive director almost a month after Bill Clow was let go from the position.
We'll tell you when snowmobile trails are set to open in Vilas County and what's being done to prepare for the season.
And as the World Series is taking place between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians, we'll introduce you to the grandson of legendary baseball player and former Three Lakes resident Cy Williams. Hear what William's grandson has to say about his grandfather's role in World Series history.
We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.
MERRILL - People know Helene's Hilltop Orchard in Merrill as the place to go to get your fall season fix.
The pie makers and apple peelers come in early to crank out caramel apple pies fresh throughout the day.
When people come to Helene's, they are usually greeted by the smell of the pies before they even see them.
"I love being out in the parking lot when people step out of their cars and smell the air. It doesn't smell like a lot of other farms. It's distinctly the cinnamon sugar you smell," said Helene' Hilltop Orchard baker Olivia Telschow.
Helene's is only open for six weeks from mid-September to late October; however, Telschow works alongside her mother Helene throughout the entire year.
Even in the winter, the apple orchard is checked on.
"February is pruning season. Think of me when it's minus ten and it's snowing and windy and snow drifts because I will be out there," said Telschow.
The orchard is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 30th.
Helene's will close Sunday for the season, but pies will be available to order for Thanksgiving.
MADISON - A University of Wisconsin student charged with sexually assaulting and choking a woman is expected to face additional charges after investigators say they were contacted by dozens of other women.
Police say officers searching Alec Cook's Madison apartment found a black book with names of women he had met and what he wanted to do with them, including his sexual desires.
WAUSAU - It can take a big name and a well-known face to get people excited about signing up for a group. As part of its revitalization drive, Wausau's American Legion Post 10 got a visit from a name you might not recognize, but one that veterans groups know is an honor to host.
American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt stopped by the Wausau post Tuesday morning. It was the first visit by a national commander ever at Wausau's Post 10.
Schmidt says the same issues veterans faced when the Legion formed in 1919 -- healthcare, jobs, and education -- still exist in 2016.
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