Professor Eric Johnson pitches idea for creating UND's new ski trail
On the trails at UND
UND President Robert Kelley and his wife, Marcia, met while both were on ski patrol in New Mexico. So, it was only fitting that they led more than 30 cross-country skiers to break in the new trails west of the UND Wellness Center on Wednesday afternoon.
UND President Robert Kelley and his wife, Marcia, met while both were on ski patrol in New Mexico.
So, it was only fitting that they led more than 30 cross-country skiers to break in the new trails west of the UND Wellness Center on Wednesday afternoon.
“Bob’s been skiing since he was 6, and I’ve been skiing since I was 10,” Marcia Kelley said. “Our four kids have been on skis since they were 3.”
“We’re embracing winter,” Robert Kelley said. “This is the best time of year for me.”
The Kelleys were pitched the idea of the mile-long route between Sixth Avenue North and Gateway Drive over dinner with Eric Johnson, assistant professor at the UND School of Law. Johnson had lived in Nevada and southern California and had never been on cross-country skis, but upon seeing the piles of North Dakota snow, he thought the sport was something to get students and the community involved in.
A committee was formed, and Ski UND was born. As part of the program, anyone with a UND ID can check out ski equipment at the Wellness Center at no cost on a first-come, first-serve basis. The center also plans to hold 10-minute clinics in cross-country skiing. Various events are planned in February.
“The East Grand Forks (Red River) Snowmobile Club moved all the snow in about four to five hours,” Tweten said. “It took me about six hours to groom the trails.”
The Ski & Bike Shop in Grand Forks made sure there was equipment to rent, and the UND Student Government passed a bill to subsidize the rent.
The temperature was barely above zero as the skiers hit the trail Wednesday. Not all of them had been on skis before.
“The trick is to keep your knees bent and the poles behind you to keep from landing on your rear, then pick up your skis,” said Laurie Betting, assistant vice president of health, wellness “and cross-country skiing,” she said.
The trail is lined with about two dozen signs, some in the old Burma Shave rhyme, to guide skiers. Betting said the signs will be changed weekly. Some of the trails have been named, one for Tweten and another for Marcia Kelley.
“She ventured off into some deep snow, and Johnson followed and sank down,” Betting said. “When we asked him what he was thinking, he said, ‘Marcia made me.’ So, one of the trails is named Marcia Made Me. We’ll name other trails for people and places in Grand Forks. It’s that kind of personality that brings people outdoors.”
For more information, log on to www.wellness.und.edu.
Reach James R. Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.