Kalamazoo Nordic Skiers
Yearend Wrap-up Report
In the late fall, Dave DeBack and Bob Kennedy culminated their search for an upgrade to our original 1993 Ski-Doo snowmobile by landing a low-mileage, long-track 2003 model by the same manufacturer. Although it nearly emptied the club treasury, the prospect of having reverse gear, an electric starter and a newer, better machine was hard to pass up. They purchased the sled and hauled it downstate, and once the snow and cold settled in it was put to good use grooming Milham Park Golf Course for cross country skiing.
The club's volunteer groomers, primarily DeBack and Richard Neumann, say the new machine makes grooming easier, faster and better. Skiers who enjoy the golf course grooming owe a debt of gratitude to DeBack and Kennedy for taking the initiative in researching and then obtaining this fine piece of equipment that should serve for many years to come. Donations to the club's efforts were down this year because of the late start to the season, polar vortex, and then lack of snow. But if you want to see the only groomed cross country ski venue within 70 miles continue, please consider sending in a contribution through the KNS website: www.kalamazoonordic.com.
It should not go unmentioned that Bob and Stephanie Kennedy purchased and donated the original Ski-Doo to the club when it first formed. Thanks to their generosity, we have had 13 years of stellar ski grooming to enjoy. Thanks, Bob and Steph!
The second major development in the club's fortunes might not have as much visual impact as the new snowmobile, but it is just as important. Dean Marks, Director of Golf at Milham Park Golf Course, offered to let the club use a portion of a building on the grounds to store the snowmobile and grooming equipment during the summer months.
This is a big deal because we have always struggled to secure a safe and sheltered location to house those items. For the last several years we simply loaded everything up on the flatbed trailer, dragged it to an out-of-the-way site on the golf course and lashed multiple tarps on top to keep out the rain. That was risky. Mice got into everything time and again, and it exposed the trailer to theft and vandalism, though neither, fortunately, occurred.
But now, with a great amount of help from Ron Williams from the golf course staff, the sled and groomers are stashed dry and safe, and out of the way of the employees who make the place run in the summer. Paul Wells and Dave DeBack will add Stabil fuel stabilizer to the sled's gas tank and put the battery on a trickle charger, and that will be that until the snow falls again. Thanks go to the Kalamazoo Municipal Golf Association, Dean Marks and Ron Williams for granting us this tremendously helpful storage solution. We sleep a lot easier not having to worry about our equipment having to bear the brunt of the summer weather.
In addition to grooming the golf course for skiing in the winter, one of the goals of KNS is to make people aware of the Milham Park Golf Course and its many attributes. You've all seen it in the winter. Now go and golf it in the summer. It's a gem of a place, and we're grateful to be a part of it.
Zolton Cohen, Kalamazoo Nordic Skiers
Yearend Wrap-up Report
The 2017-2018 cross country ski season at Milham Park Golf Course came to an official end on Sunday, March 4th, when Richard Neumann, Jeff Newman, Dan Ferrara, Paul Wells and Zolton Cohen loaded the snowmobile and grooming equipment on the trailer and moved it to its on-site storage location. An attempt to tape off the intake manifold of the snowmobile, it is hoped, will stop mice from using that particular port to build a nest in.
It was a streaky season in terms of ski conditions, with adequate snow starting around Christmas, and then several weeks of frigid temperatures that kept it from melting. Those able to dress well enough to withstand the cold were rewarded with excellent trail conditions for an extended period. Then the weather warmed suddenly and melted everything, and the season concluded with a sporadic series of storms and melting events.
Overall, the Kalamazoo Nordic Skiers' grooming effort had a good year, with no mechanical breakdowns on the aging Ski-Doo snowmobile, and energetic, comprehensive and timely grooming from (mainly) Richard Neumann. Dave DeBack and Tom Nehil mapped out and several times groomed a classic-only ski trail through the interior of the course, which received good reviews from those who tried it. Statistically, from Richard's notes, the volunteer groomers clocked 305 miles of grooming over 18 unique sessions, an average of almost 17 miles per foray.
The club treasury had expenses of $30 to fix a flat tire on the trailer and $93.00 in gasoline, and received donations in the amount of $650.16. The current treasury balance stands at $2,674.32.
The club is on the lookout for another snowmobile, preferably a heavy duty, air-cooled, long-track, electric start model with a reverse gear. While the current sled is still usable, one with an electric start and reverse gear would make it much easier for the volunteer groomers to get it in and out of the storage shed during the season, and to start up during cold weather. That search will likely recommence in the fall, with a possible fund-raising drive needed to help defray the expense.
Lastly, because they donated cash to Richard while he was out grooming, we were not able to list on the website two donations to the club's efforts. That cash, from Dave M. on 12/31/17 and Terry O'C. on 12/23/17 has been deposited into the club's treasury.
Thank you to all the generous skiers who donated to the grooming effort at Milham Park Golf Course this year, and especially to our volunteer groomers who work so long and hard to create a cross country ski trail everyone can enjoy at no cost.
Zolton Cohen - Kalamazoo Nordic Skiers
The 2017-2018 ski course grooming season at Milham Park Golf Course got off to a rocky start this year. Assembling to haul the snowmobile and groomers out of storage on Monday, December 11, volunteers found one of the trailer's tires completely flat and not quickly repairable. Jeff Newman took responsibility for getting the tire repaired, and everyone agreed to meet again on Wednesday, December 13.
On that day, Dan Ferrara, Paul Wells, Richard Neumann, Jeff Newman and Zolton Cohen reconvened at the golf course and quickly put the wheel with its repaired tire (now with a tube inside) back on the trailer. Newman's burly four-wheel drive Ford truck dragged the trailer and its load down the service road and everyone offloaded the groomers and snowmobile near the storage shed by the driving range, where the snowmobile spends the winter when not out grooming trails.
After clearing mouse nests, weed seeds and other debris from inside the snowmobile's engine compartment, the team took turns yanking the starter cord to try to get the machine to fire up. After removing the sparkplugs and shooting starting fluid into the combustion chambers, it finally roared to life and Neumann took it out for a spin.
The following day, Neumann did the inaugural grooming, touching off the first of what are anticipated to be many days of good skiing.
Thanks go to the Kalamazoo City Parks and Recreation Department, the Kalamazoo Municipal Golf Association, and the employees of Milham Park Golf Course for assisting the Kalamazoo Nordic Ski group in providing this free groomed cross country ski venue to the public. As always, thanks to our many stalwart volunteers who groom the trails and maintain the equipment. And finally, thank you to those who have so generously donated to the effort over the years.
Zolton Cohen - Kalamazoo Nordic Skiers
End of Season Wrap-up
The 2016/2017 cross country ski season started with a bang as snow fell aplenty in mid-December. The Kalamazoo Nordic Skiers grooming team swung into action after six inches of the white stuff piled up on the ground, and local and regional skiers enjoyed several weeks of very good ski conditions.
Unfortunately, that just about sums up the extent of the season. Snow fell only intermittently after that initial accumulation, and then it melted quickly under unseasonably warm temperatures. Overall, it was disappointing year in terms of efforts expended compared with available ski days. On March 11, 2017, Dave DeBack, Paul Wells, Richard Neumann and Zolton Cohen packed up the equipment on the trailer and moved it to the east side of the golf course for storage over the summer.
On top of the lack of snow, Head Groomer Richard Neumann discovered a leak in the snowmobile's gas tank that required him to leave the sled parked outside so fumes wouldn't build up in the golf course shed where we usually stash it during grooming season. Jeff Newman generously purchased and donated a used tank, and we will figure out over the summer how to go about repairing the leak so we'll be ready to go next fall.
Even though the season was short, many people donated a combined total of $301.23 to the cause. Expenses amounted to $98.80 for gas and oil.
See you next year...
End of Season Notes
On Friday, March 11, 2016, Richard Neumann, Greg Worsnop, Dan Ferrara, Jeff Newman and Zolton Cohen packed up the snowmobile and grooming equipment, putting to an end to the 2015-2016 snow grooming effort at Milham Park Golf Course.
Overall, it was a disappointing season in terms of skiable days. Compared to the last two winters there was a decided dearth of snow, and periodic warming spells melted down to the bare ground what did fall. Still, volunteer groomers Richard and Greg worked diligently to get what they could out of the sparse raw material. Under those tough conditions they still managed to produce several cumulative weeks of skiable, groomed skate ski trail. Unfortunately, the snow was never deep enough to consider setting classic track.
The grooming equipment is at present stored outside at the golf course, under a tarp on a trailer. We are hopeful that we can move it to an indoor storage facility in order to reduce the weathering that takes place in the outdoor environment.
Expenses this season were low; just $25 for gasoline, $10 to the County to renew our DBA, and $29.70 to Newman IT for web hosting. We still need to purchase a new tarp to replace the tattered one that we've used for several seasons. We received $82.80 in donations. At present there is $2141.79 in the KNS treasury, awaiting the first snows of late fall 2016.
Thank you to those who contributed financially this year, and thank you especially to Richard and Greg, the groomers who put in many unacknowledged hours to make this operation a success.
Lost & Found
A pair of ski boots were found in the parking lot at Milham Golf Course on 2/5/2015. If they are yours, and you'd like to get them back, please contact
to identify them and get them back on your feet!
Click here for past news...