ABOUT WOLVERINE NORDIC TRAILS
Wolverine Nordic Ski Trails in Ironwood offers 24K of ski trails including several loops for classic striding and skate skiing. There are 14K of marked snowshoe trails and 7K of snow bike trails.
Lake Effect snow provides the area with snow that tends to arrive earlier, pile deeper, and last longer than anywhere else in the midwest. The rolling terrain offers trails for all levels of skiing, snowshoeing, and snow biking.
Ski and snowshoe trails can be accessed at the chalet trailhead at 5851 Sunset Road. There is also a trailhead behind Apsirus Ironwood Hospital. The Summit Road trailhead provides access to snow bike trails as well as ski and snowshoe trails.
The warming chalet offers a view of the historic wooden ski jump structure that was part of the club's original activities. Cookies and hot chocolate are available in the chalet, which is open from 8am to 6pm during the ski season.
Volunteers with the Wolverine Nordic Ski Club maintain and groom the trail system. The nonprofit group promotes N0rdic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking, and lifelong physical fitness. The club lso supports ski programs in the schools and other community organizations.
Wolverine Nordic is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization with the mission to preserve and promote nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, biking and lifelong physical fitness on the Gogebic Range of the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Northeastern Wisconsin.
WOLVERINE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Meetings are held quarterly the 2nd Monday. The annual meeting to elect officers and board members is held in October.
President: Dennis Spaete
Vice President: Randy Ahnen
Secretary: Jeff Musselman
Treasurer: Mary Ahnen
The Wolverine Cross Country Trails
A Historical Perspective
Ski jumping had been king of the winter sports since the turn of the 20th century. There was stiff competition among the communities of Ironwood, Iron Mountain and Ishpeming. Crowds were huge watching the daredevils of the hardwoods ploy their skills in competitions held in these communities.
The Gogebic Range Ski Club first organized in 1935, purchased the property, built the 60 meter ski jump and held the first ski jumping competition on this site in the winter of 1937. Torger Tokle set the standard on the Wolverine Ski Jump in 1942 when he set a record leap of 216 feet which lasted until the upper structure collapsed in the late 1950's in a high wind storm.
The facilities remained idle until the mid-60's when a group of individuals decided to utilize some of the rubble from the old hill to try to build a smaller version of the old ski jump. Rebuilding the ski jump cost approximately $20,000. The entire structure was completed in 1975 with the Wolverine Committee providing most of the labor. The U.S. Olympic team was here to enjoy four days of practice. They loved the hill. Since the hill faced the northwest, there was always a steady updraft which made the hill ride like a much larger one. It was one of the safest hills in the country.
Building of Cross Country Trails at Wolverine.
In 1976 the Wolverine Committee submitted a proposal for a DNR grant to construct a five kilometer trail which looped around the hills between the Wolverine site and Grand View Hospital. A second beginning loop was also included to the west of the ski jump. The XC trails became operational for 1976-77 winter season. In 1981 Wolverine Nordic Ski Club, Inc was formed. The club has expanded the trail system, (the Powderhorn trail, Cliff Trail, Cliff Hanger, Ottawa loop) built a warming shelter, a garage and purchased grooming equipment to maintain the trail system. Future plans that have been discussed are creating more beginner level trails and to cooperate with Big Powderhorn Mt. to develop more trails that will link into the Wolverine trail system.
Thank you to Charlie Supercynski for the Historical Perspective where much of this information came from and to John Kusz for the photos and to the many other individuals who kept the vision alive.