featured – MyNorth.com http://mynorth.com Everything good about Life in Traverse City and Northern Michigan Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:19:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Chicago Band Mucca Pazza to Perform at Winterlochen http://mynorth.com/2016/02/chicago-band-mucca-pazza-to-perform-at-winterlochen/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/chicago-band-mucca-pazza-to-perform-at-winterlochen/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 18:36:27 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180904 A fish toss, hot chocolate, and madcap not-marching band Mucca Pazza are on tap at ‘Winterlochen,’ the annual winter festival at Interlochen Center for the Arts. MyNorth […]

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A fish toss, hot chocolate, and madcap not-marching band Mucca Pazza are on tap at ‘Winterlochen,’ the annual winter festival at Interlochen Center for the Arts.

MyNorth Media’s entertainment writer Ross Boissoneau tells us more about the Interlochen event and its featured highlight Mucca Pazza.


Artist

Interlochen Arts Academy’s annual salute to winter includes a compendium of events, featuring the eclectic sounds of Chicago band Mucca Pazza.

How they got their start

Name one group as comfortable at Lincoln Center as Lollapalooza. Okay, name one group besides Mucca Pazza. The group combines marching band traditions and street theater experience with rock band sensibilities. After forming in the parking lot of a steel mill alongside the river in Chicago, Mucca Pazza quickly found a home for its 30-odd members (emphasis apparently on odd) in the thriving Chicago underground music scene. The music moves from brass band groove to noise rock to avant-garde game show themes without blinking, taking the audience on a wild ride. Hang on tight.

Style

It incorporates everything from Prokoviev and Morricone to funk-rock. Don’t forget to include Balkan folk brass and the golden age of television music.

Influences and Inspirations

Classical music, cinema verité, N’Awlins brass bands, ethnic music, rock

Additional Background

Despite the drums, horns, uniforms and cheerleaders, Mucca Pazza insists it is not a marching band. The sound is dynamic enough, but a closer look reveals that none of those uniforms match. And while there’s plenty of percussive power and brassy blare from the trumpets, trombones and saxophones, the band also features guitars, violin, even accordion. However, the force and presence of a marching band remain. True, the band might move from point A to point B during performance, but don’t expect any familiar formations from football halftimes. Mucca Pazza dances, flails, tumbles, and spins in circles. There are speaker helmets. The cheerleaders rouse, encourage and confound the audience with synchronized absurdity. Mucca Pazza is as comfortable in the fine arts and performance art world as the local rock club or parking lot.

While Mucca Pazza is the featured highlight, Winterlochen includes a host of other family activities. Music, dance, readings, hands-on visual art activities and acting workshops, a frozen fish toss, s’mores, and other snowy fun are on tap.

Quotes

“A gypsy punk, New Orleans funk, mambo tango, rock and roll circus.” – John Schaefer, WNYC

“Some have called them ‘circus punk,’ some say they’re ‘geek love,’ but no one calls them dull.”– Schuba’s Tavern/Lincoln Hall

Venue

Interlochen Center for the Arts, Interlochen

Date & Time

Winterlochen is a day-long event on Feb. 20. Mucca Pazza performs at Corson Auditorium at 1 p.m.

Ticket information

All the events are free, not including local food concessions. However, the free tickets for Mucca Pazza need to be reserved by calling 276-7800 or visiting tickets.interlochen.org.

For more

MuccaPazza.com


More Northern Michigan Events

#2016 #Grand_Traverse #Interlochen #Events #Music_&_Art

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Traverse City Valentine’s Day Treats For You and Your Pup http://mynorth.com/2016/02/traverse-city-valentines-day-treats-for-you-and-your-pup/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/traverse-city-valentines-day-treats-for-you-and-your-pup/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 17:40:05 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180857 Valentine’s Day isn’t just for you and your sweetheart. Your pup loves you, too! Show your darling and your dog you care with these Traverse City Valentine’s […]

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Valentine’s Day isn’t just for you and your sweetheart. Your pup loves you, too! Show your darling and your dog you care with these Traverse City Valentine’s Day treats.

We know the holiday is just around the corner, so we made it easy for you. You’ll find all of these decadent sweets on Front Street in downtown Traverse City. No running around!


Cherry Republic Murdick's Fudge Kilwins D.O.G. Bakery Benjamin Twiggs

1. Cherry Republic

Show your sweet and spicy side with Chili Chocolate Covered Cherries. Available online and in stores.

2. Murdick’s Fudge

Nothing says “I love you” like this classic Valentine’s Day treat. Find it at the downtown shop.

3. Kilwins

These sweet little packages include four truffles, perfect for sharing! Get them in store.

4. D.O.G. Bakery

Gourmet dog treats are sure to cause lots of tail wagging and excessive drooling. Available online and in stores.

5. Benjamin Twiggs

Chocolate covered cherries are a Northern Michigan favorite. Find them downtown and on ShopMyNorth.

Still looking for the perfect gift? Don’t worry! Here are 11 Michigan-Inspired Valentine’s Day Gifts on ShopMyNorth.


More Traverse City Valentine’s Day

#2016 #Grand_Traverse #Traverse_City #Events #Holidays #Food_&_Drink

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St. Francis High School Performs “Into the Woods” http://mynorth.com/2016/02/st-francis-high-school-performs-into-the-woods/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/st-francis-high-school-performs-into-the-woods/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 15:45:52 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180808 An epic fairy tale takes the stage at Traverse City’s St. Francis High School this February. Don’t miss the daring adventure about your favorite storybook characters! Into […]

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An epic fairy tale takes the stage at Traverse City’s St. Francis High School this February. Don’t miss the daring adventure about your favorite storybook characters!

Into the Woods incorporates wishes, family, and the consequences of choices made. The story follows a baker and his wife who wish to have a child, Cinderella who wishes to attend the King’s Festival, and Jack who wishes his cow would give milk. Everyone’s wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later.

Tickets cost $17 for adults and $11 for students and seniors (ages 18 and under and 65+).

Performances:

February 12, 13, 19, and 20 at 7:30 p.m.

February 14 and 21 at 2:00 p.m.

 

Purchase tickets for this Northern Michigan event at MyNorthTickets.com.

Buy Tickets Now


More Northern Michigan Events

#2016 #Grand_Traverse #Traverse_City #Events #Stage #Live_Here #Kids

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Kitchen Choreography in Traverse City Wins Best of Houzz http://mynorth.com/2016/02/kitchen-choreography-in-traverse-city-wins-best-of-houzz/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/kitchen-choreography-in-traverse-city-wins-best-of-houzz/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 14:32:48 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180756 Each year, Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design, selects the top home remodeling professionals throughout the nation. The Best of Houzz 2016 is a […]

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Each year, Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design, selects the top home remodeling professionals throughout the nation. The Best of Houzz 2016 is a homeowner-to-homeowner guide of the best home builders, architects, interior designers, landscape pros, and other professionals. This year, there were several Traverse City winners including Kitchen ChoreographyUrban-Diversions, and B.C.D. Interiors.

There are three categories for the award: design, customer service, and photography. Urban-Diversions earned a Best of Houzz for design while B.C.D. Interiors and Kitchen Choreography took home awards for customer service, which are based on several factors, including the number and quality of recent client reviews.

We talked with Shanna Tompkins, the executive assistant at Kitchen Choreography about what it means to win a Best of Houzz.


All photography and design by Kitchen Choreography.

How does it feel to win a Best of Houzz for customer service?

“We have been steadily growing in recognition for our design and quality level of product. What is so hard to place value on is the experience our clients have working with us. We take the stress out of the project and make it fun. We are very happy to have been given an award that helps future clients know that is the difference between us and other companies in the area.”

Have you won in the past?

“This is our first time, but we hope to make the awards an annual occurrence.”

What inspires your work?

“The excitement each client brings for their project. We hope to make their vision a reality for them.”

What do you enjoy about working on and designing homes in Northern Michigan?

“That it is true custom. Our customers are retiring to the area and have lived in many places. They bring those experiences with them to be incorporated into a home that fits them and their needs.”

Kitchen Choreography’s interior designer Erica Murdock earned national recognition for her work. Read the profile here. 


More Northern Michigan Home & Cottage

#2016 #Grand_Traverse #Traverse_City #Live_&_Work #Live_Here #Home_&_Cottage

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Chainsaw Clean-up on Sleeping Bear Dunes Trails http://mynorth.com/2016/02/chainsaw-clean-up-on-sleeping-bear-dunes-trails/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/chainsaw-clean-up-on-sleeping-bear-dunes-trails/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 12:59:11 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180839 With chainsaw roaring, Mindy Carter cleared trails for months after the August 2015 windstorm affected Sleeping Bear Dunes trails, mostly working on Alligator Hill. Emily Bingham talks […]

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With chainsaw roaring, Mindy Carter cleared trails for months after the August 2015 windstorm affected Sleeping Bear Dunes trails, mostly working on Alligator Hill.

Emily Bingham talks to her about what it’s like to be a sawyer after the storm, with this piece originally published in the February 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.


When Mindy Carter began working at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore 16 seasons ago, she didn’t start out wielding a chainsaw—but over the years she found herself using a saw more and more, until she eventually became one of the park’s two primary sawyers, performing road and trail maintenance, and tending to dead and diseased trees. It’s a demanding job that became even more so when the epic storm of August 2015 blew through the park, leaving unprecedented forest destruction in its wake. We caught up with Carter to talk about her work and what it was like to tackle the aftermath of that storm.

What was it like to see Sleeping Bear Dunes after the storm came through?

I had never witnessed anything like that before. It was quite amazing and awe-inspiring to see the power of the wind and what it was able to do to these huge trees and forested areas.

What was your role in the cleanup process?

My primary work was on Alligator Hill, which was very hard hit. To see dozens upon dozens of full-grown, mature trees stacked on top of each other, 30 feet high, was unbelievable.

How long did you and your crew work on that area?  

We pretty much worked that area three weeks straight for 10-hour days, six days a week.

That sounds exhausting! Does that do a number on your body?

Pretty much! You’re exhausted, you’re sore. I use a saw every day, but I don’t use a saw like that every day! As a crew, we tried to take care of each other, take long breaks, drink lots of water. Safety is always the number-one concern, especially during a complex job like that. Storm damage is some of the most difficult cutting you’ll ever do. It’s far more straightforward to walk up to a tree and cut it down than to walk up to a mangled pile of twisted and bound up trees and then stick a chainsaw saw in that.

So how did you approach the cleanup?

For lack of a better description, we almost tunneled through it, and we used equipment, like backhoes and an excavator, to literally just move it off to the side. So all the wood is right there. As far as I know, the park is going to leave all of that there with the idea that this was a natural event—even if it’s not as pretty as everyone would like—so we will let the natural processes happen. Right now it’s making great habitat for animals, and it’ll start to decompose and go back to the soil and finish the cycle that is Mother Nature.

Do you like being a sawyer?

I love what I do. It’s definitely not something I aspired to when I was younger, but it’s really exciting. It’s challenging, especially being a woman, because the equipment is heavy, and the work is hard. But it’s very fulfilling.

What did you take away from your storm cleanup experience?

The sense of how everybody really pulls together in a moment like this. It not only got people together but out in places they’d never been before. We had guys in the crew who’d worked in the park a long time, but they never actually had been on that particular trail. So even though it kind of looks like the storm tore our park apart a little bit, I really think it’s also brought our park together.


More Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

#2016 #Sleeping_Bear_Dunes #Empire #Outdoors #Hiking

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Petoskey Winter Carnival Begins New Traditions http://mynorth.com/2016/02/petoskey-winter-carnival-begins-new-traditions/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/petoskey-winter-carnival-begins-new-traditions/#respond Mon, 08 Feb 2016 21:59:34 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180833 Petoskey will celebrate its 88th year of snowy festivities during the annual Petoskey Winter Carnival. The family event will run from February 11 to February 14. New […]

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Petoskey will celebrate its 88th year of snowy festivities during the annual Petoskey Winter Carnival. The family event will run from February 11 to February 14.

New this year, teams will compete in a broomball tournament and 30 ice sculptures will be installed in downtown Petoskey. There will also be local favorites such as the Ice Bar, sledding competition, and a ghost walk. The full schedule of events can be found here.

To get into the festive spirit, we talked with Kate Manthei, Petoskey’s downtown promotions coordinator, about the Northern Michigan event.


What was the idea behind the carnival when it was first created 88 years ago? 

“By the late 1920s Petoskey was known as Michigan’s Winter Sports Capital and the Winter Sports Park was at the center of activities. A 400-square-foot ice rink was created where recreational skating took place along with speed skating, broomball, hockey and figure skating. The quarter-mile toboggan slide delighted both children and their parents. Overseeing the facilities and activities was the Winter Sports Club, and in 1928 it began the long tradition of selecting a winter queen and over time, the thrones where the crownings took place, grew from modest to major works of beautiful public ice art designed and constructed by local artist Stanley Kellogg.”

How has the event evolved since then?

“In an article from the third annual Winter Carnival, there is talk of a fox hunt and ice masquerade. There were massive toboggans handmade for the event, and they would sled down the middle of Mitchell Street. For years, the event was continued at the Winter Sports Park, and the activities pared down to just sporting events. In the past couple of years, Downtown Petoskey has partnered with the City to start recreating some of the events from the days past. Chances are we’ll never see an organized fox hunt as part of the Winter Carnival, but as the article from 1930 says, “the carnival spirit will hold sway in Petoskey and everything will be done to provide home folks and visitors with a very lively and enjoyable period out-of-doors.”

Petoskey Winter Carnival

 

For someone who has never attended the winter carnival, what are the top 3 “not to miss” events?

  1. Chocoholic Frolic
  2. Live Ice Carving & Ice Bar Celebration
  3. Bumpjump Competition/Cardboard Sled Challenge

Who is creating the ice sculptures for this year’s event, and will they follow a certain theme?

“U.S. Ice from Detroit is the company that’s creating the ice sculptures. They will be setting up 30 ice sculptures in front of the stores on Friday, February 12th. There isn’t a theme this year, but each store that sponsored an ice sculpture picked their design. The only live ice carving will be Saturday, February 13th from 1 to 4 p.m. and that ice sculpture will be a throwback to the 1930s when Stanley Kellogg built the world’s largest ice structure at the time. It was a throne that lit up like the aurora borealis and was 125’ long, 80’ high, and used 700 tons of ice from Little Traverse Bay! Our winter throne won’t be on the same scale, but it’ll be a nice nod to the long history of the Winter Carnival.”

The Broomball Tournament is another new addition, is this generating a lot of excitement?

“It’s certainly bringing some fun competition to the weekend! The $10 registration fee is going to support the Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council, and they’re diving into the spirit of the game. They put a team together and are challenging local businesses and nonprofits to step up to the plate and put a team together. Team registration closes this Friday, so there’s still time to enter…and if you need a little extra encouragement, the first place prize is a $200 downtown spending spree!”

What’s special about having a carnival during the winter season?

“Everyone gets a little stir crazy in the winter months, especially with warm spring break plans still weeks away. The Winter Carnival is a fun way to get out of the house and experience your downtown in a new way. We’re excited about having the ice sculptures throughout the downtown, as they’ll create a nice ambiance even after the Carnival is over. With the cold temperatures looking like they’re here to stay for a while, hopefully, the ice sculptures will inspire a few date nights and evening strolls to look at them lit up at night.”

Find more fun events in the MyNorth Community calendar.


More Going on in Petoskey

#2016 #Emmet #Petoskey #Event #Festival #Live_Here #Kids

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Traverse City Interior Designer Receives National Award http://mynorth.com/2016/02/traverse-city-interior-designer-receives-national-award/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/traverse-city-interior-designer-receives-national-award/#respond Mon, 08 Feb 2016 19:30:31 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180509 At age 29, Traverse City interior designer Erica Murdock is already making her mark on Northern Michigan’s design scene and getting national attention. Erica was recently selected for the National Kitchen […]

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At age 29, Traverse City interior designer Erica Murdock is already making her mark on Northern Michigan’s design scene and getting national attention.

Erica was recently selected for the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) 30 Under 30 program. She received the distinguished award at the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas, which was held January 18 through January 22.

“I feel very honored to be a part of such a great group,” she says. “It didn’t really hit me until I was at the industry show meeting the other 30 Under 30 members and past winners.”

A native of Chicago’s suburbs, Erica spent many vacations in Northern Michigan and her parents eventually retired in the area. After earning her bachelor’s degree in interior design from Arizona State University in 2009, Erica moved to Traverse City to begin working in the industry.

Erica says her designs are inspired by each client. “I truly feel that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The biggest hurdle for a designer is getting over their personal tastes and appreciating what their client loves. While there are design trends, people have their own style, and it’s important to give them the best living space possible based on their personal wants and needs.”

In 2012, Erica joined the team at Kitchen Choreography, and since then, has steadily become one of the area’s top designers.

All photography by Kitchen Choreography. Designs by Erica Murdock. 

“I wouldn’t have gotten the award without Kitchen Choreography,” Erica says. “They really took me under their wing and gave me a lot of training. We still attend workshops to continue our education and are always wanting to strive for more.”

Erica is especially proud of the team at Kitchen Choreography for earning a Best of Houzz award.

Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design, selects the top home remodeling professionals throughout the nation. The Best of Houzz 2016 is a homeowner-to-homeowner guide of the best home builders, architects, interior designers, landscape pros, and other professionals. This year, there were several Traverse City winners including Urban-Diversions, B.C.D. Interiors, and Kitchen Choreography.

There are three categories for the award: design, customer service, and photography. Kitchen Choreography took home an award for customer service, which is based on several factors, including the number and quality of recent client reviews.

Curious about what’s popular in home design right now? We asked Erica about the top trends in Northern Michigan. 

  1. White cabinets with gray or blue accents keep with the Northern Michigan feeling but add a modern touch.
  2. Old design trends are coming back into style like a matte gold finish on hardware.
  3. Oak is coming back with a twist. A lot of people like the quarter sawn oak, which is oak cut differently so there is vertical graining versus the traditional graining.  Also, people are painting oak so they get that weathered beachy look to represent items seen at Restoration Hardware or Pottery Barn.

Looking for more design inspiration? Check out MyNorth’s directory of home services for help with your projects.  


More  Northern Michigan Home & Cottage

#2016 #Grand_Traverse #Traverse_City #Downtown_Traverse_City #Live_Here #Home_&_Cottage #Work_Here

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Hazelnut Truffles & Cocoa with Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate http://mynorth.com/2016/02/hazelnut-truffles-and-cocoa-with-grocers-daughter-chocolate/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/hazelnut-truffles-and-cocoa-with-grocers-daughter-chocolate/#respond Mon, 08 Feb 2016 15:45:05 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180715 Get ready to experience a heady hazelnut bliss when you pair Kristin Celeste Shroeger’s hazelnut hot chocolate and rustic hazelnut truffles. The decadent Northern Michigan recipes include Grocer’s Daughter […]

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Get ready to experience a heady hazelnut bliss when you pair Kristin Celeste Shroeger’s hazelnut hot chocolate and rustic hazelnut truffles. The decadent Northern Michigan recipes include Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate Ecuadorian dark cocoa discs and cocoa powder, Food for Thought’s maple syrup and a drizzle of hazelnut oil from Pressmeister Oils.

Kristin is the food writer, recipe developer and photographer behind The Intentional Minimalist website. The Intentional Minimalist encourages cooking in harmony with the seasons using sustainable whole foods and allergy friendly ingredients.


Ingredients:

  • Dark cocoa discs
  • Raw hazelnuts
  • Hazelnut milk
  • Hazelnut oil
  • Dried cherries
  • Hazelnut press cake
  • Dark cocoa powder
  • Flake finishing salt
  • Roasted dark cocoa bean nibs
  • Maple syrup

Note: Hazelnut flour can be substituted for the hazelnut press cake

Hazelnut Hot Chocolate Directions:

Add two inches of water in the bottom of a medium metal saucepan over medium heat. Place a glass bowl over the saucepan. Melt one quarter cup dark cocoa discs in the glass bowl, slowly stirring with a spatula. While cocoa discs are melting, stir in one teaspoon dark cocoa powder until blended. Whisk in two cups hazelnut milk and two tablespoons maple syrup. Continue to whisk hot chocolate until well blended and creamy.

Remove pan from heat and ladle hot chocolate into mugs. Drizzle each serving with one-quarter teaspoon hazelnut oil before serving.

Rustic Hazelnut Truffle Directions:

Add two inches of water in the bottom of a medium metal saucepan over medium heat. Place a glass bowl over the saucepan. Melt two cups dark cocoa discs in the glass bowl, slowly stirring with a spatula. While cocoa discs are melting, finely chop one-quarter cup raw hazelnuts. Remove pan from heat once dark cocoa discs are melted.

Stir in four tablespoons of hazelnut milk and two tablespoons of hazelnut oil into the melted cocoa discs. Once ganache ingredients are incorporated, slowly stir chopped hazelnuts in ganache and place the glass bowl in the refrigerator to cool for five minutes.

Place parchment paper on a chilled metal cookie sheet. Remove chilled ganache from the refrigerator and use a metal melon baller to scoop the ganache onto the parchment paper. Let ganache balls harden at room temperature for fifteen minutes.

Finely chop two tablespoons dried cherries. Place two tablespoons hazelnut press cake on a dinner plate. Place two tablespoons cocoa powder on a separate dinner plate. Alternate rolling truffles in cocoa powder, hazelnut press cake or sprinkle with flake finishing salt and topping with dried cherries and roasted cocoa bean nibs. Place truffles in a tightly sealed container, refrigerate and eat within five days.

Find more chocolatey treats in MyNorth’s recipe directory!


More Northern Michigan Food & Drink

#2016 #Up_North #Food_&_Drink

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Meet the King of Nub’s Nob: Jim Bartlett http://mynorth.com/2016/02/meet-the-king-of-nubs-nob-jim-bartlett/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/meet-the-king-of-nubs-nob-jim-bartlett/#respond Mon, 08 Feb 2016 14:46:50 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180713 General Manager of Nub’s Nob, Jim Bartlett, is a guy who has earned a nationwide reputation as a leader and champion of the old-school-cool Harbor Springs ski […]

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General Manager of Nub’s Nob, Jim Bartlett, is a guy who has earned a nationwide reputation as a leader and champion of the old-school-cool Harbor Springs ski resort. But that’s not the reason Jim Bartlett is a person whose story is worth telling.

Kate Bassett gives us a glimpse into the life of Jim Bartlett in this feature originally published in the February 2016 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.


He’s on top of the hill. He’s at the bottom of the hill. He’s in the maintenance garage. He’s in the cafeteria. He’s at a chairlift on-ramp. He’s in the rental area. He’s in the parking lot. He’s everywhere. He’s Nub’s Nob’s JB.

This morning, when I arrived at Nub’s Nob Ski Area to spend the day job shadowing general manager Jim Bartlett (aka “JB”), I went straight to his office.

Which, of course, was empty.

For a girl who grew up as part of a downstate, die-hard, winter weekend warrior family; a girl who met her husband at Nub’s Nob; a girl who spends endless hours with her three children on these slopes … I should have known better. The idea of running this 248-acre Northern Michigan ski gem from behind a desk would be as foreign to JB as, well, celebrating a thaw in mid-January.

Instead, I find him eating a chocolate chip cookie in the cafeteria, chatting it up with some helmet-haired skiers. He’s wearing his signature Nub’s Nob look—a button down shirt and black Nub’s fleece vest—and it gets me thinking. This image: filtered sunlight in the cafeteria, with all its weird, happy noises (stomping ski boots, coats zipping, trays clattering), and Bartlett waving me over without missing a beat of his current conversation, it’s like getting to experience moments from all four decades of my life at once.

Bartlett is such a staple part of this place, where he’s worked since 1977. While Nub’s as a physical entity is woven into so many folks’ stories, the magic of this family-owned ski hill doesn’t come only from its panoramic views of Little Traverse Bay and the Pleasantview Valley. It comes from people like JB, a guy who has earned a nationwide reputation as a leader and champion of the old-school-cool ski resort.

In his tenure at Nub’s Nob, first as area manager and then as general manager, following the death of his mentor, legendary snow maker Jim Dilworth, Bartlett has turned 14 runs into 53, four chairlifts into nine, 15 patented snowmaking guns into 292, plus added a Pintail Peak Lodge, new locker room and so much more. The most impressive part? He’s done it without sacrificing Nub’s signature vibe, best described as a home away from home.

Bartlett’s an expert in snow making techniques. A public relations superstar. A guy who understands the importance of blending tradition with new technology. He’s even learned how to make peace with the Midwest’s occasionally uncooperative winter weather. In short, he’s like a walking, talking master’s class of how to run a resort that’s focused 100 percent on skiing and riding.

Yeah. A guy like that can’t spend more than a handful of minutes behind a desk without getting antsy.

I join Jim as he chats with a few more skiers who are munching on donuts or pancakes or warming their hands with a hot cup of coffee. He introduces me and launches into conversations ranging from how great current conditions are to what’s happening in downtown Harbor Springs. In addition to his “real” job, Bartlett also serves on a number of community boards and local government commissions.

By the time we finally walk back toward his office (stopping to high-five a couple of kids and sneak another cookie from the cafeteria), I’m already racking my brain about how to tell his story.

Because yes, his résumé is impressive. And yes, it’s really amazing how passionate he is about assisting “mom and pop” ski areas like Charlevoix’s Mt. McSauba. And yes, Nub’s Nob has won countless awards under his watchful eye … But that’s not the reason Jim Bartlett is a person whose story is worth telling.

It’s something deeper, a success made from small, human moments. Like how he raises a glass in honor of Dilworth, his mentor and friend, before the start of each ski season—at the top of Nub’s 427 vertical feet when possible. Or how, when he heard over the resort’s radio system a local kid was sprawled in the terrain park with a suspected broken leg, he hopped on a snowmobile and raced to the scene, staying until ski patrol whisked that 11-year-old boy away (I can attest to this kindness personally, because I am the kid’s mom).

JB’s story is about understanding how to run a community that happens to double as a ski hill.

Bartlett, the oldest of eight children, was probably born a leader. Skiing, however, wasn’t so woven into his genes. On happenstance, he joined a ski club and learned the local resort was in need of ski patrol candidates. Ski patrollers, he notes, got free lift tickets.

“I didn’t have a clue what I was getting into. Free tickets. That’s all I heard,” he says with a smile, motioning toward a grainy photo of some sweet 70s ski patrol outfits, complete with the era’s signature flowing locks and cool ’staches.

We’re back in his wood-paneled office. Outside, bright blue skies reflect against corduroy snow. We sit quietly for a minute, watching skiers and snowboarders zip down Sno Pro, a wide run created and named for Dilworth in 1987, the year Bartlett became general manager.

“By 1976, I was a pro-patroller, going to school only in the spring and fall terms. I guess you could say I was hooked,” he says, explaining he moved to Big Sky, Montana, to join the patrol staff there but came back to Michigan in 1977 when Walter and Alfred Fischer bought Nub’s Nob from original owner Dorie Sarns, who opened the resort with husband Nub in 1958. Dilworth was named general manager, and he talked JB into coming on as area manager.

“As much as I loved the mountains, I missed the water. Plus, Jim was the best. I wanted to work with and learn from him. I didn’t realize that I’d spend the next 38 years here, but I never doubt I made the right choice. This place is a family, and I’m lucky to be a part of it.”

Like any proud papa, Bartlett is quick to turn the attention away from himself.

“We have the best crew anywhere. Marty Moore, area manager, is one of the best in the business. Our snowmakers have won countless awards. Our groomers have been ranked in the top five in the nation for their expertise. We have hands-down the greatest food anywhere; I mean, I eat here every day, and I never get tired of it. Everybody, from the lift operators to our front desk staff, they all buy into our mission. It’s always been really important to me to have our customers and employees know we focus on quality, we treat each other like family, and we want to work hard and feel good about it.”

In addition to having an incredibly low turnover rate—especially for this industry—Bartlett said the heart of Nub’s Nob beats because of the Fischer family, and in particular, its patriarch, Walter.

“So much of our success can be attributed to Walter. I am who I am today because of his encouragement every step of the way. He makes me a better manager by always looking at the big picture. Walter is one of the best guys I’ve ever known; he has a strong sense of purpose and is so community minded. He’s always willing to put money back into people and equipment. When Super Pipes were a huge thing, he said, ‘Okay, let’s build one, but let’s make sure we do it right.’ And it ended up being voted one of the best pipes east of the Rockies. When we decided to turn that area into a race arena, Walter just patted me on the back and said, ‘Okay. Go for it.’ He believes in this place and in the people who run it. That matters.”

Our conversation gets interrupted (for maybe the fourth time) by a red-cheeked lift operator who pops in to give a quick report.

“The longer we stay in here, the more that’s going to happen,” Bartlett says, laughing.

“We’ve literally never had a staff meeting. I make rounds throughout the day, and people know my door is always open. It can be time-consuming, but it keeps communication flowing and it’s a great way for us to resolve any issues in the moment.”

It makes sense this is the way Bartlett prefers to run Nub’s Nob. He admits he’s “never read a business book” and learned how to be in charge of what, in many ways, is like a mini-city, by starting from the ground up.

He’s cleaned toilets, made snow, groomed snow, run chairlifts. He clears trays in the cafeteria. He says his management style was “learned by wandering.”

“In life,” he says, “you choose how you want to treat people. I want to interact. That’s why I’m on the move so much.”

Which is also why, after a half-hour in the office, Bartlett is suddenly on his feet, coat in hand. “Let’s go,” he says, tossing me my hat. “We’ll buzz through rentals and then hop on a snowmobile.”

As I rush to catch up, I ask Bartlett if he ever gets tired of doing the same thing day in and day out for almost 40 years.

He grinned.

“You’re kidding, right? That’s the beauty of this business. No two seasons are ever the same. Heck, no two days are ever the same. This job is never boring. We have more fiber optic cable here than the entire city of Harbor Springs. We have our own water system. We are our own micro-economy, and yet, we play an important role in the bigger economic health of Northern Michigan. That’s something we take seriously. There are so many moving pieces in making a ski resort run well, particularly in a place that relies heavily on snowmaking.”

For the next two hours, we whisk by snowmobile from spot to spot, visiting with the kitchen staff on Pintail Peak, checking on lift operators, and talking about plans for the future. At one point, Bartlett pulls off to a well-tracked glade run and tells me about how often he sees my boys ripping through it.

“I love that,” he says. “I love how skiing is something a whole family can experience together.”

It chokes me up a little, knowing as I do, Bartlett’s retirement is somewhere on the not-so-distant horizon. I ask him as we cruise down Sno Pro how he can ever think of leaving.

He points to Ben Doornbos, assistant area manager. Doornbos is a young family guy, a little shy and a lot kind.

“It’s okay to acknowledge the time will come when this job should go to somebody younger. The important thing for me was to find somebody from within our culture. Somebody who wanted to grow into this role over time. Someone who has a good heart. That was most important,” Bartlett says. “I’ve gotten to watch people who started coming here in kindergarten grow up and bring their own children here. That’s a pretty cool thing. Nub’s Nob is a family. It’s a community. So long as that doesn’t change, I’ll feel like I’ve done my job.”


More Northern Michigan Skiing

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“The Finest Hours” Boat Restored in Northern Michigan http://mynorth.com/2016/02/the-finest-hours-boat-restored-in-northern-michigan/ http://mynorth.com/2016/02/the-finest-hours-boat-restored-in-northern-michigan/#respond Fri, 05 Feb 2016 19:55:49 +0000 http://mynorth.com/?p=180568 Disney’s The Finest Hours tells the real story of a daring Coast Guard rescue mission in February 1952. The action-thriller film has a connection to Northern Michigan, which […]

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Disney’s The Finest Hours tells the real story of a daring Coast Guard rescue mission in February 1952. The action-thriller film has a connection to Northern Michigan, which is home to the rescue boat used in the movie.

To celebrate that connection, a special Northern Michigan event was held at the opening of the movie at the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay. George Powell, who restored the boat with his shipwrights, gave a presentation about the project and their efforts. MyNorth’s Marketing Director Rachel North attended the event and shares the story of Powell and his crew.


“We hammered on the hull when we first got the boat and it sounded pretty solid,” said George Powell, boat builder, about the first assessments of the US Coast Guard 36-foot Motor Life Boat (MLB) serial number 36460, a rescue boat featured in The Finest Hours film produced by Disney. “But as the weather warmed up, more and more parts showed more ‘give’—we’d been hammering on ice.”

There are only three operational 36-foot MLBs in their original configuration, meaning that one can start the engines and take them out to sea. The first, the original Coast Guard MLB serial number 36500, used in the rescue, is a museum exhibit in Massachusetts. And the second, serial number 36460, is in Northern Michigan in Suttons Bay, completing its restoration. Another is on the west coast somewhere.

It’s the second time that the 36460 MLB is in the care of Powell and his crew of shipwrights, the Planksters. The initial restoration was halted, while the boat took a bow as one of four movie-set props used in The Finest Hours film. Powell describes the other three as “wrecks,” pieces of boats used for close ups, interior shots and green-screen work. The only water-tight MLB used in The Finest Hours wasn’t sea-worthy until Powell’s team spent more than a year painstakingly restoring it from the ribs out.

"The Finest Hours" Boat Originally, George Powell and his team, the Planksters, were hired to restore the worn guard rail on the 36-foot US Coast Gard Motor Life Boat (MLB). Showing the cross section of the 36-foot USCG MLB, at the sheer. George Powell and the Planksters replaced all the parts that are underlined. George Powell and the Planksters removed the covering board and sheer plank and discovered the frame heads were decayed. More than 30 new sister frame heads had to be installed by George Powell and the Planksters on the 36-foot MLB. Even after the new sheer planks had been steamed, it took a great deal of physical effort to twist and bend them into place on the 36-foot MLB. Even after the new sheer planks had been steamed, it took a great deal of physical effort to twist and bend them into place on the 36-foot MLB. From L to R, some of the Planksters that worked on the restoration of the 36-ft MLB, Andy Rockwood, Rod Jones, Bruce Lehmann and George Powell. "The Finest Hours" Boat "The Finest Hours" Boat These patterns for the plank and guard rail give one an idea of the curvature necessary to produce the sheer plank. Eric, one of the shipwrights restoring the 36-foot MLB, shapes a piece of oak. Bending and fastening the rail piece took a great deal of physical force, even after the craftsmen worked to have the boards curved before installation. Pre-bent pieces of oak, painted to seal against water damage and waiting to be installed on the 36-foot MLB. Finally, the two layers of the guard rail, faired into one continuous guard rail, nearly a year and a half after the Planksters received the assignment to restore it.

Powell shared the story and slides of his restoration of the 36460 with 260+ people at the opening of The Finest Hours at the Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay, a special event benefiting the Inland Seas Education Association. Every seat in the small theater was taken. There were audible gasps as image after image in Powell’s slideshow revealed how the boat had rotted away.

The Planksters were originally hired to restore a guard rail that circled the upper deck. But so much of the boat showed damage, that the guard rail was put off until the craft could be returned to a seaworthy state. Even the upper parts of the rib/frames, the so-called heads were so badly damaged, the team ended up installing more than 30 sister frame heads. With the restoration’s chores mounting, the team realized that the tarp system they were using wasn’t an optimal work area and had a metal building built up around the boat. Under cover, the work moved more quickly, but there was still a great deal to do.

The 36-foot MLB design shows extreme twists and curvatures, both in/out and up/down all along the sheer, where the hull and deck meet. The team had to steam the wood, “cooking” it for more than an hour to bend it. Even hot, the boards had to be bent and twisted by all four members of the team to put things together.

“Jeff Shook, the owner had leased the boat to Disney to use in the film,” Powell says. “So we were working really hard to meet that deadline.” After being used in the movie, the boat came back to Suttons Bay, “somewhat the worse for the wear,” continued Powell. It looked so different, one of Powell’s colleagues said, “I think they sent us the wrong boat?”

As the team looked closer, they realized they were seeing Hollywood magic. Metal plating was used on 36-foot MLBs that were used in seas where there might be ice, to protect the hull from being punctured. Disney had painted epoxy putty onto the hull to mimic the metal plates. The Planksters had to use heat guns to soften the epoxy and scrape it off.

With Disney’s epoxy removed, the team discovered several planks in the hull were split down the middle, or suffered “shake.” Once those were replaced, the team could start working on the guard rail, the original job, after one and half years.

With only painting, electrical and equipping to do, Powell expects that the Northern Michigan 36460 MLB will be ready by summer for its next tour of duty, day tripping on Lake Michigan. Shook plans to loan the working boat to the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven this summer for tours of Lake Michigan—so in good weather, you can ride a boat just like the one in The Finest Hours that braved the Atlantic and saved 32 men from certain death in 1952.

See The Finest Hours Movie:

The Planksters included George Powell, Eric Seefeld, Bruce Lehmann, Rod Jones, Jake Hider, Andy Rockwood, Jonah Powell, Calvin Powell, Howard Crisp and others.


More Northern Michigan Boats

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