"Stokely Creek Ski Touring Centre offers everything from sheer Nordic bliss to wide-eyed excitement for cross-country ski enthusiasts bent on exploring the wilderness."

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.

Walk a Mile in My Shoes - Snowshoes join skis at Stokely Creek Lodge. By James Smedley

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."

One of Canada’s Finest Resorts

Ontario's Stokely Creek Lodge is a Midwestern nordic legend. It's a skiing giant. It has history.

One of Canada’s Finest Resorts

Jonathan Wiesel
Contributing Editor for The Master Skier


Ontario's Stokely Creek Lodge is a Midwestern nordic legend. It's a skiing giant. It has history.

And, you'll find charm, varied terrain, reliable snow and absolutely smashing mashed potatoes.

(My criteria for evaluating XC destinations may be a little different from most skiers. They include not just swooping trails and great grooming but also hospitality, interesting company, whether towels are deep and fluffy and fine cuisine. By almost any standard, Stokely Creek is OUTSTANDING.)

Okay, grab your atlas. The lodge is just off the Trans-Canada Highway (Route 17) about 20 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

That's a town with an avid skiing population (largely thanks to a strong Finnish heritage) and some excellent trails itself at Hiawatha Highlands.

It's just a bridge away from another Sault Ste. Marie, on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Detroit is about 350 miles south via Interstate 75.

Founder Chuck Petersen was a skiing visionary. He selected the location for topography, climate and land availability.

The lodge opened in 1977 with concentration on winter. The resort has generated a lot of devotees over the years, including one who wrote an unbelievably detailed trail guide (70 pages!).

Stokely brings a new meaning to "ski-in/ski-out." They'll transport luggage about a half-kilometer to the lodge, but guests get the choice of going in by ski or sled.

There are a fair number of day skiers on weekends and holidays but only about 70 overnight guests any time, who stay in the lodge or six nearby chalets.

By the way, this really is an escape from the cares of civilization. There are all kinds of comforts (saunas, massage, ping pong) but you won't find TVs or phones in your room, and your cell phone stops working somewhere along Highway 17.

The trail system is huge and diffuse. One of the biggest in Canada, it spreads over almost 12,400 acres, most owned by Stokely. A few trails are groomed only occasionally, but the great majority are tracked frequently.

Stokely is a classic skier's paradise (140 kms of mostly single track), though there are around 70 kms that have both tracks and skate lane.

This year there are two new trails ("Frozen Waterfall" and "Conserv-ancy"), along with two more warming cabins, sited for their views.

If you think the Midwest is flat, Stokely is a revelation.

There's no altitude problem (lowest point is something like 800 feet above sea level) but there's over 1,000 feet of elevation gain, more than any other area in the region.

It's a land of lakes and granite bluffs, remnants of a huge mountain range that was reduced to hills by glaciers in the last Ice Age.

My favorite view is from the Hanggliders Platform, looking out over the Goulais River Valley to Lake Superior.

One of the things I like most about skiing here is the lilt of the trails with lots of gentle up and down. I suppose that's also due to glaciation.

Another pleasure is no matter how hard you've skied, it's always a ski down to the lodge.

Stokely isn't a race center, though they do have a major tour called the Wabos Loppet at the end of the season (March 17th this winter).

The Wabos Loppet is unusual.

You take a chartered train to the starting area (only about an hour's ride). Then you ski about 26 kms through real wilderness to a cabin on the trail system, and onwards to a barbecue at the lodge. Transportation back to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is part of the package.

Rates for a stay are low. Including skiing, sumptuous meals, lodging, saunas and good company, rooms start around $67 (U.S.) per person midweek.

Lessons with instructor Peter Grey are an add-on, but guided backcountry tours with manager Fraser Craig are part of the package.

Stokely now has rental equipment and snowshoes, but you should plan on bringing your own alcoholic beverages. (There's a liquor store on the road up from Sault Ste. Marie.)

Milwaukee is about 400 miles, Toronto 450, Chicago almost 500 so you may want to think about flying into Sault Ste. Marie (Canada) on Air Ontario, then catching a limo to the lodge. (Call ahead from town, since that cell phone stops working well before you reach Stokely.)

By the way, there's a new dinner chef who used to be in charge of morning meals.

I've heard the new chef is especially accomplished with fresh breads, pastries and potatoes. She also prepares optional vegetarian dishes for every dinner, which is served family style.

Check http://www.stokelycreek.com for a trail condition report that's updated daily. Unlike some XC areas, it's honest.

For more information write to Stokely Creek Lodge, RR#1, Goulais River, Ontario P0S 1E0 or P.O. Box 507, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783. Or call 705-649-3421.

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