Post-Snowflea 2011


In the face of World and Weather Adversity – we pulled it off!

15th Annual Telefest has been and gone!

Thanks to all (32) of you who made it through the Wicked Winds of the West, the swaying Bridges of Michigan County, and the disheartening possibility of bulletproof Crème Brulé Crust on all your favourite backwoods mounds of whipped topping. And to those of you who braved it through the trauma of car packing, work ducking, and bribing the dog, kid, and house sitters, only to be met with total white-outs, road closures and extremely unco-operative border guards – I say to you;

You were missed, and toasted, and your personal sacrifice was duly noted and will be laid out before the feet of the Heikki, Loki and all the other Trickster-spirits to ensure fair play for the next time you venture out into the Elements!

Friday’s storm deposited enough soft skiffs into the forest crevices to allow most of the snow hoppers to enjoy the day. The snowshoe crowd was proudly self-sufficient, and made tracks to all of the lookouts and ridges long before the sunset chased them back to enjoy the sauna. Although most of the south-facing slopes were downright skitter – scary, after lunch we took the lovely flat-land tour to the bottom of the North Face Runs, where the fresh snow had collected in a most gratifying way on most of the tele-slopes.

Teija was our amazing chef of the weekend, and created incredible edibles with a minimum of fuss and bother. Right from the delectable harvest soup – to barbequed turkey wraps, 4 huge trays of pasta shells, and a multitude of free range and local berry pies and scrumptious muffins to complement egg strata on Sunday morning, we fed Iike bears getting ready to hibernate. It’s amazing we could even bend over to do up our bindings.  And to help us digest our Saturday night eating marathon, The Boothill Crooners royally entertained us with many surprisingly familiar yet musically twisted songs.

I believe a good time was had by all – if I’ve missed anything please pipe right up! (This is a blog that allows other comments, by the way ….. 😉

Snowflea Telefest is privileged to have great sponsors who provide generous swag for our participants (serious stuff – such as gear bags and packs, apparel, equipment, waxes, packs, and head lamps). Thanks to Dave Robinson at Mountain Equipment Co-op in Toronto. Thank you to our local independent 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 and the staff of Velorution, and Brenda at The Country Way Health Food Store 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 Gabrielle Bourbonnais who volunteered her help, and her fellow students and teachers Steve Foster and Conor Mihel of the Outdoor Recreation and Parks Program at Sault College for their interest and help in making our slopes safe and free of ankle-biting snags and pitfalls!

And last but definitely first, thanks to all of you, who against all the odds (and even with some odds) make it out for Snowflea. You rock(et)!

I didn’t get any photos this year – too busy having fun – so would appreciate any contributions, corrections or complaints. Heck, we’ll even be glad to receive kudos – what do you think?



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 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!


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 -!

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.



December 08 TeleFest News

This years’ “Lopp – it- Good!” participants did a great job on the newest North Face runs – we have a new ravine run that starts at the apex of an interesting geographic feature named by Mark Stopple “The Pyramid of Denial” – not sure if you answer all the questions if you will get 64,000 ski runs – but hey, we digress.

The hardy crew suffered a bit through a rainy sleety day November 8th, the sauna was a welcome treat after the long but very productive day. The Vortex of Pain saw an expansion to the east side -a lot of raspberry and elder canes to cut at the top of Big Music, and Chris Stopple entertained us with his very adept log rolling antics! A few big trees on Season’s Pass that came down in the spring gales were hastened on their way to becoming forest floor material – a good effort by all!

Cedar came home after a few hours – she smelled the lasagna cooking – but Kirby stuck it out and channeled her wolf genes. Thanks to the crew – Chris Mark and Joel, Marie and Scott, Mike, Alar, Enn, Robin, Lois, Sandy, and fresh air inspector Sheldon “this is a ski run? ” Jaaskelainnen.

Sadly, Robin’s mother passed away this fall on the last still day before the deep snow began – on November 16th. Dorothy and her husband Eoin had collected several fine paintings by Canadian artists, and we have incorporated several into the chalet, in particular one amazing oil painting of Coppermine Point on Lake Superior, painted by Tom Roberts in the 1950’s for the Seagram Collection. The downstairs “Superior Suite” was completed in December just in time for the celebration of Kim and Connor’s Mihells’ wedding. Enn was leaving the chalet with his tool bucket and shopvac just as 50 guests rolled in for the afternoon reception. Kim was resplendent in a strapless wedding gown of cream satin, with a cranberry red sash traced with a vinery of seed pearls that wrapped the top of the bodice and flowed down the back into the train. All the little girls were wide eyed with wonder – such a beautiful snow princess! I think the bride and groom wanted to wear their touring ski boots under the finery but their mothers of course had the final say! The wedding party spent the day of the event and three days subsequent tele-skiing the back trails and touring the Goulais peninsula.

We were grateful to have such a happy and joyous event become the christening party for the completed chalet. Best wishes Kim, and Connor – and may the happiest trails unfold before you!

The Aftermath!

What a fest this year! There were 45 full weekend participants and several other “day and party partakers” over the course of the weekend. Our God of All Things Snow, Heiki Lunta, smiled upon on us benevolently – his transgressions against us mere mortals forgotten. Many of you will remember that he had slunk off to the south after a sweet voiced “telemark-ET-er” who he had thought was promising the ski trip of his lonely lifetime on the sand dunes of the south. Anyways we got him back to his senses in time and the powder snow he provided made for awesome conditions in the back hills.

Thanks to Mountain Equipment Co-op in Toronto, and our own Duke of Windsor Ski Shop here in the Sault we had some marvelous prizes to award. The Wild Turkey Outfit kicked off our party on Saturday night with their highly enjoyable brand of spaghetti western operatic high-jinks …. what, you haven’t heard of them? Gotta check it out – The concert led to some strange goings-on out in the snowbank – a mysterious Tunnel of Re-Birth was formed and several people came back inside much the worse for their trip through. Heck, Mr Hill ‘s Timex just last week emerged from the drift … and of course, still keeps on ticking …..

Thanks to Teija Aspegren’s wonderful food sensibilities we ate like out of control snowplows which of course we are. Scott and Marie brought a huge amount of a very succulent lemon chicken and greens soup which kept all the late arrivals on Friday warm and happy. There were several milestones to remember – Lois bounded into another dimension with smooth, quick, linked turns … which just goes to show that if your husband builds you your own ski Lane you WILL succeed! Of course The Pyramid of Denial was a treat to ski – it is such a strange anomaly of the landscape – a huge dome at the bottom of the North Face Runs which is severely steep and very uniform. It was formed eons ago by the water melt from these old mountains …. probably full of gold nuggets under all the tumbled silt. Trees can’t grow on it – too steep! ….but the intrepid Snowfleas skip down the slick sides with a hop and a whoop!

Thanks to everyone who came out and made the 13th annual Snowflea Telefest much more than a blast – it was an Explosion! Hope to see you all next year – till then, keep the waxed side down and the visuals on the third turn!