Retro Night at Searchmont

The sad part about my retro – costume … it’s all items of apparel or sport that I still use! Mostly. The goggles are historic, I have to admit – but they are  mine. I used to wear them ski-racing back in “67.The sight of them still engages a lot of the memories and dreams of my 8 yr. old self … so I’ve never been able to throw them out.

Enn still wears these double leather boots – they are the best!

However, to the downhill crowd – it’s all Retro, Baby!

OK – enuf about snow ….

(…what can I say -sometimes I’m not the most imaginative writer – especially when it comes to writing a personal note!!)

So – enough about snow – I’ve told you that we are OK in that department – maybe there’s not as much as my as my relatives have in Moncton New Brunswick – but I don’t hear a lot about ski hills in that province either so maybe all that white stuff is just a waste for them !

We’re getting excited about this years’ Snowflea Telefest – it’s the 15th Annual! Please check out the great poster we have this year – we’ve borrowed the artwork from our friend artist Andy Rockwood. It’s a painting of him and Laura  – combining two of their best loved activities … skiing and making music!

If you haven’t called to register – but are expecting the winds will bring you to us – please let us know ASAP – we still have room for day registrants, and there’s some rooms available close by!

Please check it out!

January 17th – and it’s snowing!

….well – as I mentioned, we had enough snow to slide on – but it’s been BORING!  Today the clouds are shedding big time … a serious snowfall is in the works. So if you are one of the anxious people who have been calling these past few days – wondering about this important enjoyment factor of your winter holiday – namely, the ability to  get lost in FLUFF- no more fears, all systems are go!

Bring your snowshoes  – and your snow-snorkels!


January 11th, 2011 …come on, SNOW!

Happy New Year!

Yeah, I know it’s a bit late to keep saying that but I haven’t had a chance to talk to you bloggies yet this year. I suppose that’s good news – being busy, I mean …as this is the season for it! Winter around here means lots of ski and snowshoe guests, and many everyday chore activities  – fires going in three buildings, shoveling and plowing, beds and laundry, filling the birdfeeders, answering emails and phone queries, and most of all, making sure there’s time to spend part of every day out on skiis! Track, tele, backcountry, downhill  – as long as they slide, we’re on them!

Unfortunately we have been suffering from the lack of snow – the back country is not deep enough for our usual tele free-fall approach to altitude … but the trails systems at Stokely and Kinsman are in good shape, and we’ve been touring a good flat-lander route to the river that amuses the dogs. Hopefully one of these days SOON we will be on the receiving end of the usual lake effect snow – one good 2 foot dump would do it for the rest of the winter.  All of our snow-dancers have assured us they have been sweating it out and stomping the boards ….. perhaps it’s a matter of switching over to sacrificial offerings!

However there are no limits to enjoying the season – on one single day last week,  we were able to skate across Harmony Bay to Batchewana Island,  go ice-boating, track skiing and also “ski-jouring” with Heikki the Youngpup and Jack-Rabbit Mihell ….and the sun was shining too – what more could you ask for?

When conditions out back are dicey, Enn and I ski a lot at the local resort Searchmont  – the lodge is fun and friendly and all the snow-guns are going.

I bought a pair of Atomic “Femme-Fatale” tele-skiis last year to add to my quiver. They are short and snappy – and the name makes me feel invincible on the slopes … is that bad?  Also I find my skiing technique has changed a lot because of the speed I can attain! I’ve been doing a lot of high -speed tele-darting…it’s easier on the ol’ quad muscles.I took part in some training last week for instructing – and found it very difficult! We had to slow down the turns and dissect the whole “weight/release” thing. It was really hard to slow the process down – you can cheat a lot on your turns when you have speed and gravity on your side!

Oh – I forgot to tell you that Snowflea Telefest 2011 is filling up fast! The lodge beds are full – but we do have some “satelite support” with some wonderful local accomodations, so if you plan on being here – drop us a line and we’ll fit you in. I’m sure we will have some deep drifts by then – if not, it’s gonna be time to sell up and move on! ;-(

…’later folks – and of course we do hope all of you that drop in here from time to time have a happy and healthy 2011!


Dogs, deer and delightful downhills

December 13th 2010

Brrr!! It is extremely cold today – i don’t think the thermometer crept up from -15c . Here on the funnel-end of Lake Superior, we were just on the northern edge of that wicked storm that paralysed most of the eastern time zone this past weekend. Although we didn’t get a huge amount of snow (I think about 10 cms fell in total ) .. it was really fine particulate and it packed in hard and crunchy, and made a great base. Enn and I walked to the top of the Undertaker yesterday – and we should have worn our snowshoes. There’s enough snow now to do some turns if you are wearing your rock-skiis!

Enn, Conor and Roy took on the herculean task of hauling the saws over to The North Face on Saturday … to clear several large deadfalls on the access trail. The trails are now in super shape – at least until the next huge windstorm!

Not many animal tracks this weekend except for a pine marten trail over near the porkie’s den – and one large area where the deer have been rooting for acorns – much to the delight of the youngsters, Jack and Heikki. Jack is a new friend of Conor and Kims’ – he looks to be part Siberian Husky, and part Energy!  He’s a wonderful dog, friendly and with boundless enthusiasm. They found him at the local Humane Society – an early Christmas present for our community of canine friends.

Most Humane Societies and Animal Rescue groups now have web-sites with their “inmates” featured online – a great way to reach a larger audience when looking for kind folks to offer a home to these poor dogs and cats who are down on their people -luck.

…just thought I would remind you that there are better web-sites to peruse on your lunch breaks other than the horoscope page! …and if your horror-scope says …”today you will meet a new friend” …perhaps that’s a hint to go and check out some four-legged ones! ..and boost your karma by helping somebody find a friend …

cheers for now,


December 1st 2010


A lot of snow happening the last few days! Can’t say I’m ALL that ready – I still had leaves to rake, bulbs to plant … however taking that Hawaiian break sort of bit into the “getting ready for winter” list …

A few early registrations for Telefest 2011 already – ! Thanks folks – ! We will have a poster out shortly – however for all interested, the dates are February 18 – 20th …please let us know if you are planning to be here!

More posts soon – I promise (yah, right ..) in the meantime, all you lurkers, help me fill up this space! It’s paid for -!

November 24th 2010

I always have good intentions – but really, this blog is suffering from a decided lack of blog-ness! Of course it is difficult to haul a computer to town (hi-speed land)  – remember a password you have not used for a year (never easy, all social activity seems to need a password …) and then find a place to plug in. Too bad there isn’t an internet café at Canadian Tire – I could use my Canadian Tire money to buy the coffee!

Well, on to the goods – since I am happily ensconced at my newest fave corner at the Starbucks corner at Algoma’s Watertower Inn. Can not even start to compare to the wonderful coffee in Hawai’i … but perhaps I’ll save that story for real-time talk.

We sampled the Kona coffee with our hardy Lopp-It crew last weekend – it was a great Saturday turnout, with the weather conditions cooperating! The weather was extremely cold – well below zero but with several sunny hours and no rain, sleet or snow to challenge the hardy gang.  Since there has been a lot of wind this fall, several large trees needed relocation, and even though Markie -Mark tried his best to get a permanent limb removal to qualify for a disability to apply for his medical care, no serious injuries were forthcoming. However I will be posting a picture soon of Mr. Dye’s “stink-eye” … or should I say “stick-eye”?

Thanks to everyone who came out to brave the wicked woods – a word of explanation might be in order –  if your muscles were complaining this week it’s probably from laughing too hard!

We have also had great help this fall from the Sault College Outdoor students … Conor Mihell and Laurence Foster have each brought their classes out to the valley to help do some brushing. A treat to see so many happy faces out in the woods – nature’s classroom!

It seems Heikki Lunta has been lurking around the neighborhood – he hasn’t settled in yet but there has been a little dusting of snow these past two days … all the “signs” are pointing to a heavy snowfall this winter. The woollybear caterpillars had a big black body stripes, Clancy the horse busted out and ate the fall carrot harvest, and Enn’s brother Alar has already donned his 30-yr-old snowmobile survival suit, which he will now keep on all winter, until his family ambushes him in the spring and lures him out with a new spandex swimsuit and a picture of his sailboat.

What is your special harbinger or oracle that guides you to knowledge of what the winter will have in store?

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all our friends across the line ….



Monday morning musings

What a Telefest! …and it’s over! … hoooo!

How can I say what this past weekend was like? We were inside a happy kaleidoscope – the kind that has millions of coloured crystalline shapes on a brilliant white background. When you tumble the tube the images are always familiar and beautiful, yet never once the same.

We were treated to a surfeit of sun, snow and fun, and primo back woods conditions. There was a lot of laughter and no one choked; much playing with sticks and no one cried. Skis were broken yet not one leg. Several people even jumped into the deep end after a humungous lunch  – and did not drown. Some just came along for the gallop and never once growled. What more can one ask for!

Our weekend community included expert and beginning tele-skiers, adventurous  backwoods snowshoe-ers, photographers, singers, musicians, vinophiles, foodheads, sensible canines, and our wonderful local community of friends and neighbors who contribute and participate in so many ways.  An Olympic finish line was provided by the afternoon sun-worshippers on Saturday who cheered home the (s)wet and weary as they skittered the last few yards towards the sauna and beer kegs…..

Snowflea Telefest is privileged to have great sponsors who provide good swag for the raffle and prize awards (serious stuff – such as gear bags and packs, apparel, equipment, ski tickets, waxes, packs, and head lamps). Thanks to Dave Robinson at Mountain Equipment Co-op in Toronto. Thank you to our local independent sports store owners here in Sault Ste. Marie who go far beyond retail in their mandate to provide support for people who love to be active in the great outdoors. Chris Theriault at The Duke of Windsor Sport Shop, Brad Phaneuf at Algoma Bicycle Company, Jan Roubal of Velorution, and Dan Missere at Searchmont Resort all kindly support our telemark ski festival. Please visit these folks if you are in town – they are a wealth of information and enthusiasm.

Thanks to SCB Skier and Conor Mihell for their recent article about Snowflea – and the wonderful photos that Tarmo Poldmaa always makes available as needed. You only become a legend in your own mind if you have visual reminders to jog the memories! We will post a new photo gallery soon to mark the weekend.

We enjoyed music Saturday night from The Rick Charbonneau Band, Coppermine, Devin Creagh, Scapegoat, and Kelly McGillivray. Thanks for the tunes!

And last but definitely first, thanks to the friends who against all odds (and even with some odds) continue to come out and play in the backwoods of Algoma. We wouldn’t do it without you!

…the challenge goes out – please post your highlights here on the blog …. lowlights welcome too!

‘til later,


Magazine Article about Snowflea

Our  local writer and journalist, Conor Mihell, has written an exceptional article about his telemark skiing experiences chasing Enn, Jorma Paloniemi and the rest of the ‘Fleas around our backwoods mountains at last years’ Snowflea.

Check it out in the new magazine, SBC Skier (SBC stands for Snowboard Canada). The Sault Star also picked it up and ran it with a few less photos on February 10th – the Star may be read online at … (if you sign up for a 14 day free trial).

Thanks, Conor!  We love fueling your writing muse!

Only seven days until Snowflea 2010!

Mike cruises on Tele-One

Snowflea Telefest 2010

Hey tele – fans ….

Time to crawl out of the snowdrifts and declare yourselves! Will you be here? February 19th – 21st, for the Annual Snowflea Telefest!

We still have a few beds left here at the lodge … and there’s other great accomodations close by. Give us a hoot and holler soon!

By the way, winter has returned – the woods are white and welcoming and there’s soft fluff even at Searchmont. All trails in great shape.