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.
MANITOWOC - Lakeshore communities from Two Rivers to Port Washington will able to apply for marine-sanctuary status, which could lead to protections for natural resources and improved research on shipwrecks.
An HTR Media report (http://htrne.ws/1lrd3Ix ) says the 875-square-mile area encompasses 33 known shipwrecks and countless others.
Sanctuaries are established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. Agency spokeswoman Ellen Brody says she expects the first applications to begin arriving in the fall.
HAZELHURST - Tourists make a big economic impact in the Northwood, but they don't stay forever. Monday, locals thanked them for coming to the Northwoods this summer.
People stood outside of Whitman's Bar and Grill just off of Highway 51 in Hazelhurst to wave goodbye. The bar has been doing this for 44 years.
One of the owners says this isn't just a party for the tourists, but for locals as well.
"It's also a goodbye summer party for a lot of the locals. Most of the people that come, I know," said Whitman's Bar and Grill co-owner, Mary Whitman. "They may be tourists that come up for a week or weekends, but it's a party. We give away free street corn, free sloppy joes and it's just a thank you.
Two photographic exhibits to open next week at ArtStart
RHINELANDER - The artists paired together in ArtStart's next exhibition couldn't have much different backgrounds.
Next Friday, the Rhinelander gallery will open with two very diverse displays.
"We have two photographic exhibitions opening. One is a solo artist, so the whole gallery will be their work, and the other is an artist who worked with teens as a kind of therapy program, photography and art as therapy," said ArtStart Development Director Melinda Childs.
RHINELANDER - It can be difficult to get around the Northwoods, especially in the snow. For people with physical disabilities, it can seem almost impossible. A new piece of technology changed Bob Simon's life. Now he's hoping to help others with physical disabilities enjoy the outdoors.
"I used to love to hunt and fish," he said.
But when Simon, who is from Rhinelander, lost his legs during a work accident in 2008, he didn't know if he'd be able to enjoy the outdoors again.
RHINELANDER - More than 50,000 people in Wisconsin apply for unemployment benefits every week.
Now, the state Department of Workforce Development wants to know how it can improve the unemployment insurance system.
"Our Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council really likes to get out there and hear firsthand from those who deal with that system directly. We're looking for their suggestions and their ideas on what we might do to make the system even better," said Dave Anderson, the Assistant Deputy Secretary for the state Department of Workforce Development.
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