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How It All Began

Chuck Peterson

People often ask us how the various trails at Stokely got their names. Here’s part of the answer. Today, I’ll talk about the trails named after people important to the founding of the lodge and its trail system. And I’ll talk about the rest of them in a subsequent post.

First, the Peterson. Chuck Peterson, from whom the trail takes its name, was Stokely’s founder. An avid cross-country skier whose passion was to bring others to the sport, Chuck scoured the Algoma region for a perfect site for a lodge. He wanted terrain on which he could put both challenging and less-challenging trails. He needed an area near a road on which to place the lodge buildings. And he needed someplace that reliably got abundant snow. He found all of that along Stokely Creek, and it’s fitting that one of the core trails bears Chuck’s name.

In laying out the trail system, Chuck relied on a friend whose name will also be familiar to Stokely skiers: Hakon Lien. Lien was a field geologist of Norwegian descent and a good friend of Chuck’s. Together they traversed the 8,000 acres that Chuck eventually purchased looking for the right spots to place trails. It was only right that Chuck named one of the most challenging and spectacular trails after his friend.

Herman "Jackrabbit"Johannsen

When our kids and grandkids were young and learning to ski, there was one trail that held great mystique: Jackrabbit. It was an intimidating challenge, but in turn they each rose to it. Now it is one of our family favorites – despite the long uphill trail to get there. So how did it get its name? Herman “Jackrabbit” Johannsen was born in Norway and was the man credited with bringing Nordic skiing as a sport to North America. Because of that, Chuck felt a trail at Stokely should bear his name. Johannsen, an amazing skier, died at the age of 111 in 1987, more proof that cross-country skiing is good for us!

The Erling Strom Trail

And finally, the Erling Strom. Erling Strom, yet another Norwegian cross-country great, was in many ways the inspiration for Stokely Creek. Erling was one of the first to climb McKinley on skis, and he was elected into the U.S. Nation Ski Hall of Fame in 1972. He was instrumental in establishing a back-country ski lodge in the Canadian Rockies that helped form Chuck’s vision for Stokely as a ski-in lodge with trails starting right outside the lodge.

Please forward to friends and family.

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