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.
EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.
Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.
The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.
CONOVER - The Chain Skimmers Water Ski Team from Conover won the state title for their division last weekend in Wisconsin Rapids. Summer water ski shows are a wonderful part of the Spirit of the North.
"I don't know how to spend the summer anywhere else," said Jessica Clark.
She is one of about 35 skiers between the ages of 12 and 31 who spend their summers on Lake Pleasant in Conover. They come from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas.
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
Gardens need some help with large temperature swings in summer
RHINELANDER - Northwoods heat the past few days forced plants to endure different weather, but you don't need to do extra gardening just because it's hot.
Experts at Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander say plants can manage the heat just fine. On hot, sunny days, many plants will wilt, but that doesn't mean they need more water.
"If the soil is moist on a hot day, I wouldn't water more. That's probably more harm. The plant can only take up so much moisture at a time, so I would just hold off on watering," says Sue Hanson, Hanson's Garden Village Co-Owner.
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