Mid week in February, all the cabins cleaned for the weekend, 6th grade field trip to Black Jack downhill ski area needed chaperons.  Time to play hookie from the resort.  Slap on some skis and down the hill we go.

We have a few hills in the area to head to.  Granite Peak in Wausau is an hour South, but the most popular is to head North for a little over an hour to Black Jack, Powder Horn and Indian Head.  Whitecap one of my favorites is about an hour and a half but well worth the extra time with 42 runs.  The Porcupine mountains also have a ski area run by the state at cheap state prices about 2 hours away that is also fun.  The closest, Camp 10 in Rhinelander 35 minutes from us is a small Jem especially for snowboarders

Today though it was Black Jack, with the school group, 10 dollar ticket and 6 dollar rental.  Can’t beat that!  Only requirement is to help 60 kids get their skis on and shuffle over to the bunny hill for the instructors to take over.  I learned one very important lesson half way through the line of kids, ask them if they remembered to bring their gloves outside with them, or did they leave them in the chalet, before spending 5 minutes helping them get their skis on.  We even had two that completely forgot to bring gloves….

Up the lift we go with those that passed the Bunny Hill test

Beautiful look outs at the mountains of Upper Michigan.  Copper Peak ski jump was out there but I only brought the point and shoot camera that went in my pocket.  These mountains (hills by western standards) are the roots of an old mountain range that has been worn away.  They were once taller than the Rockies and now called the Penokee Mountains.  Can you tell I am the daughter of a geography professor?

What goes up, must come down.. time to pick up 6th grader bodies out of the sides of the trail from falling

This is where the camera gets put away as I am led down a narrow woods trail by Ben who was skipping school for the day from 8th grade to ski with his mom.  Shhh don’t tell his friends

If you are up in Hurley/Ironwood for skiing, antiquing, seeing Lake Superior or the waterfalls that are abundant in the area, a must stop on the way home is Joe’s Pasty shop (not to be confused with pasties that is another subject for the bar across the street that has strippers)  Pasty’s are meat and potato pies in a pie shell with special spices.  They are 4 dollars each.  I buy them frozen from them and take them home to heat up in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes and I make beef gravy to go over them.  Perfect dinner, no hassle and no fuss, and all food groups are hit.

Joe’s claims to be the originator of the pasty.  They were made for food, for miners who lived in the area.  Ironwood and Hurley started out as raucous mining towns and still to this day have an edge to  them. The mobsters from Chicago used to hide out in the area and there was a lawless quality to the towns for a long time.  It used to be said, Hurley, where hwy 51 ends and the fun begins.  Looking downtown at all the seedy bars and strip joints you can still get that feel for the town and Joe’s Pasty shop is right in the middle of it along with some great antique shops

Sunset on Lower Kaubashine as we returned for a long day of skiing.  Great day to be in the Northwoods