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.
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
VILAS COUNTY - Many snowmobile trails in Eagle River still need more grooming after all three trail groomers went out of service. The trails didn't get groomed for four days last week because all three of the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club's trail groomers need repairs.
The club hasn't had all of their groomers working for a couple of weeks. Sno-Eagles President Ken Storms said the trails took a big hit last week when all three went down. The club says it has made a concerted effort to catch up with trail grooming, and get the trails smoothed out.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
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