When I look around the Stokely dinner table I see guests who have been coming almost every year since Chuck and his family opened the Lodge in 1978. And there are also so many new guests traveling from ever wider geographical areas. Chuck would be so proud that so many Canadians have discovered Stokely - from the Sault, Sudbury, Manitoulin Island, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg and beyond. They are joining guests from over 30 U.S. states and several other countries. As in the 80s, XC-skiing and snowshoeing are once again among the fastest growing winter sports.
Jerry learned to ski while living in California. When he moved to Michigan he took up XC racing and enjoyed watching the sport grow. He has only missed a couple years of coming to Stokely since 1978. His favorite trails are Belleau Lake and Jackrabbit. Jerry found and reproduced a list of 31 Inuit (Eskimo) words for snow with their translations into English. Words like Apigiannagaut - the first snow of autumn, Matsaaqi - half-melted snow, and Pukajaak - sugar snow. He then created a graphic design in the shape of a snowflake and presented it to the Lodge in appreciation for his many years of memorable skiing and camaraderie.
Cindy and Dave Foley have been coming to Stokely since 1983 - often a couple times a year. Dave has written several articles about Stokely in Silent Sport, Cross Country Skier and other magazines and newspapers. He wrote an article a few years back entitled "Snowshoers discover Stokely Creek Lodge". Dave thought their experience at Stokely could not get any better. Then a snowstorm hit dropping snow faster than the groomers could keep up with it. So out came the snowshoes. He found that climbing trails that twisted between the trees, along the creeks and up King Mountain on snowshoes is hard to beat.
And last is a group of Stokely guests who are good friends and keep coming back year after year bringing new friends alone. Ron Bergin, the retired editor of the Cross Country Skier Magazine, wrote, "Stokely is the kind of place that once you experience it you are not content with keeping it a secret and are compelled to share it with skiing friends" .
What about the next generation? We are pleased that young people are discovering Stokely. Elliot and his mom came for the first time this winter and loved exploring the trails. Elliot wanted to ski to Norm's Cabin, and he joins the ranks as one of the youngest to ski to Norm's and back.
Stokely is a special place, and we want to thank all our staff for doing a wonderful job this winter to help our guest have the best possible experience. And thank you to our guests for encouraging us and thanking us for saving Stokely.
We are under a snowstorm warning with significant snowfall expected Thursday March 5th afternoon and evening.
Please forward to friends and family.