John Sutter from CNN.com reports that Stokely Creek Lodge is one of five great spots for cross-country skiing. In the CNN on-line article Ron Bergin from Cross-Country Skier magazine is quoted as saying,"The natural beauty--more than 12 square miles of it--is varied and always exciting" Check it out at: www.cnn.com/travel
Shelley Irwin, February 18, 2009 | WGVU We bring you part one of a snow shoe/cross country skiing adventure at Stokely Creek.
From Kim Schneider/Travel Coach. When CNN asked the publisher of Cross Country Skier Magazine to name his top five getaways, it's little surprise that he picked Ontario's Stokely Creek among them. Click Here to check out the article
Silent Sports Magazine, October 2008 by Dave Foley
"My wife and I have skied throughout Michigan and central Ontario, but the Stokely experience keeps drawing us back there since that first visit 25 years ago."
Lansing State Journal, February 18, 1997 "Cross country skiing adventure a delight" by Dick Miles
"Howard Pierce of East Lansing has skied most of Michigan's cross country systems, but Stokely remains one of his favorites. 'Because it's so big, you never have too many people around,' Pierce said. 'It also offers trails to suit a wide range of abilities, from the novice to the experienced skier.'"
Outside Magazine Travel Guide 1996/97
"As Canadian winter sports traditions go, there's nothing quite like the Wabos Wilderness Loppet. During the last weekend of March, the Algoma Central Railway's Snow Train chugs 35 miles north from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, into the wintry hills east of Lake Superior, stops at the tiny settlement of Wabos. As many as 500 skiers pile out and, like a herd of crayon-colored caribou, ski 17 miles west (loppet means "long trip" in Norwegian) through forests of spruce, fir, birch, and pine to Stokely Creek Lodge.
Stokely is blessed with reliable snow and varied terrain, unusual at mid-continent, and there are more than 75 miles of well-marked trails. For great views, ski to Hang-glider's Lookout on the flank of King Mountain, at 1,880 feet the highest elevation hereabouts."
Cross Country Skier, Volume 18 Issue 4 "Stoked on Stokely" by Jim Chase
"I think the thing that surprised me most is how complete the experience was. The trail system is huge, well laid out, and diverse. The accommodations are comfortable, attractive, and reasonable. You can get a sauna or a very professional massage...
The setup at Stokely encourages a friendly atmosphere. You'll meet other guests at meals, and there are numerous common areas, many with fireplaces, that further the cause of camaraderie and conversation."
Nestled along Superior's shores, Stokely Creek has no shortage of late-season powder
Special to The Globe and Mail
February 26, 2003
STOKELY CREEK, ONT. -- Even if Wiarton Willie hadn't popped out of his hole on Groundhog Day and toothily predicted another six weeks of winter, Nordic skiers needn't have worried about encountering any bare ground.
Thirty-five kilometres north of Sault Ste. Marie lies a spectacular network of trails fanning out from a rustic lodge. Stokely Creek - a little more than an hour away from Toronto by air -- is located in the lee of Lake Superior and, as a result of this bit of geographical serendipity, receives almost daily lake-effect snowfall.
Winter here extends well into March, and then spring skiing commences. You can't get much more Canadian than that.
Skiing on Stokely's more than 120 kilometres of trails is like gliding into Valhalla. Perhaps the most spectacular trek is King Mountain Trail, a 2.8-kilometre climb with an elevation of 350 metres that is guaranteed to give your cardiovascular system a good workout. It's worth it, though, when you reach the lookout, which boasts its own cabin and a breathtaking view of the Canadian Shield, sitting in its cold beauty beside Lake Superior.
Once you head back down King Mountain, you can pick up any number of trails. I like the ones named after the Scandinavians, such as Erling Strom, who cut the first ski trails in Northern Ontario in the first half of the 20th century.
If you're overwhelmed by the mountain, try the gentle 4.9-kilometre Roth Loop. Or, for those who want to mimic the Finns who raced in these parts about 70 years ago, check out the 7.6-kilometre Suomi Loop. Suomi is Finnish for charm, strength and guts. You'll need the strength and guts on the trail, but save the charm for the glass of wine you'll be having with the other guests after you return to the lodge. You can't drive right up to the lodge door, but your belongings will be brought in from the parking lot by snowmobile, and you can walk or ski the half-kilometre trip.
The lodge itself is an unpretentious building surrounded by cabins. Inside is an inviting dining room, a cozy fireplace, plenty of easy-does-it couches, and even a library. I returned at 5:30 p.m., a.k.a. "magic hour," when trays of snacks are served in the clubhouse next door to the lodge, and guests can uncork whatever wine they've brought along. (The lodge isn't licensed, so pick up what you need in Sault Ste. Marie.) What a perfect way to wrap up the day: wine, cheese and a conversation with, say, an orthopedic surgeon from Cleveland about separated shoulders. (We've each had two.)
After socializing over wine, make sure you save room for the meal. On my trip, at least 40 per cent of the guests were vegetarian, and there are plenty of health-conscious choices on the menu, along with meat dishes such as tenderloin in mushroom sauce, local whitefish or baked chicken breast with pasta, not to mention unforgettable desserts. I have never tasted better date squares. A few of those alone are enough to fuel a couple of Suomi runs.
Lunch always comes with two soups, bread to die for, a wide array of salads, a hot dish and platters of cookies. (Do not leave without sampling the oatmeal ones. I crammed them into my fannypack pockets for trail food during the day.) Breakfast is Red River cereal (the Americans love it and can't get it in the United States), bagels, a hot dish, fruit and yogurt.
If you're lucky, you'll get to share at least one of your meals with Fraser and Elaine Craig. They've run Stokely since 2000, when he retired from Algoma Steel and she from nursing in the Sault. Elaine is everyone's mother, all but twinkling with the need to make you comfortable. The staff is the same way.
The comfort here is not born of extravagance. There are cedar saunas, of course. (How could there not be, given the Finnish presence in the north?) But there are no hot tubs, no videogames, no phones in the rooms, and only a single, communal TV, brought in last year so guests could watch the Olympics.
Suitably unplugged, you can ski over to Norm Borgeois's Bone Lake cabin. A forester in the area, he decided to open his cabin to skiers after he retired. The building is 10 kilometres from the lodge, and on weekends he serves up tea, soup, scones, cookies and tall tales.
If you happen to arrive on Saturday, March 22, you can catch the Algoma Central Snow Train from Sault Ste. Marie to Wabos Whistle Stop for Stokely's 26-kilometre non-competitive ski tour known as the Wabos Loppet, which is native for "the rabbit's long journey."
The tour commences at the Wabos train station outside of Sault Ste. Marie and ends at the Stokely Creek lodge, just in time for a delicious apres-ski barbecue.
After all, even Nordic skiers can't live on snow alone.