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Jack Lake Ski Fest Set Feb. 10: Focus of Event This Year to be Youngsters

February 5, 2018

Antigo Daily Journal

Antigo Daily Journal

The second Jack Lake Ski Fest, this year with a shorter option and a continued focus on youth, will be held Saturday, Feb. 10 at Langlade County’s premier trail system off Highway J.

Sponsored by the recently-formed Elcho Area Silent Sports Club, there will be the long 18 kilometer race following the same course as the inaugural event in 2017, a new 10K race that nixes some of the larger hills, and a one-mile fun race for the youngsters.

The main races will begin at 10 a.m. starting and finishing at the Spychalla Lodge at the Jack Lake trailhead. The youth race is slated for 9 a.m. Prizes will be awarded to the top male and female winner in classic and skate divisions in each of the three events.

Registration will be held that day beginning at 7 a.m.

It promises to be a full day of fun, organizers said. There is a sledding hill adjacent to the chalet and grills will be fired up for an after- race cookout.

Registration is $20 for the 18K, $15 for the 10K and free for the youth race. Proceeds will benefit the silent sports club, formed this fall under the umbrella of the Elcho school district.

“From what I’ve seen, the sky is the limit with this club,” Jeremy Stensberg, one of the race organizers, said. “It is definitely in its infancy stages and the feedback has been positive.”

Interest in silent sports at Elcho was fueled by the inaugural Jack Lake Ski Fest, which helped provide beginner skis for youngsters through the Nordic Rocks program offered by Central Cross Country.

‘We set up some tracks on Otter Lake and began skiing every Tuesday and Thursday,” Stensberg said. “We would average around 20 youngsters every session and could see that there was enthusiasm for another afterschool program.”

That led to the forming of the silent sports club through the efforts of Stensberg, along with his wife, Lacey, Todd Dalle Ave, Jessica Schoepke, Marla Parise and Amy Vickers.

The Elcho Cross-Country Ski Club, which maintains the Moccasin Trail, provided a $2,500 donation that allowed the club to purchase intermediate skis with boots and bindings. Additional funding has been obtained from the Sokaogon Chippewa Community and other donors.

“This year we were able to train participants to run their first 5K, which we did at Three Lakes in the fall session. We have done archery, hiked, and been introduced to the sled dog club,” Stensberg said. “We hope to eventually be able to provide mountain bikes and kayaks.”

“This gives our students the opportunity to do some things they normally don’t do,” Dalle Ave said. “We have the trails available and we want to give all youngsters the opportunity to participate...They feel better about working hard.”

The club now numbers close to three dozen members and organizers said they are seeing enthusiasm levels increasing with every new activity.

‘Hopefully we can instill in them the confidence to try new things,” Lacey Stensberg said. “These are things they can do all of their lives.”

For more information on this event, click here or go to Jack Lake Ski Fest Facebook page.

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