The Women’s Winter Tour 2014 is celebrating its sweet sixteen in bobby-soxer style with poodle skirts and its traditional Northern Michigan snow, skiing, wine and chocolate. This year the outdoor party spans the weekend with Traverse City events on Saturday, February 1st, and the annual snowshoe and cross country ski adventure the following Sunday, February 2nd, 9:30 to 2:00 at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. Registration ranges from $25 to $35.

The Women’s Winter Tour has been celebrating women, winter and chocolate on Superbowl Sunday since 1999, starting as a memorial fundraiser in honor of Madeleine Thomas, an advocate for women and children. Registration and sponsorship fees raise funds for Northern Michigan abuse charities.  Founder, Kaye Kraphol, hopes to encourage women to make healthy emotional and physical decisions. By taking care of themselves, women improve their lives, their families’ lives, and ultimately, the quality of life within their Northern Michigan communities.

Need to get skis? Here are some tips on how to choose the right ones.

Women, and the occasional male crasher, take to the trails on snowshoes or cross country skis. There are three courses: a shorter 3 km (1 mile) route with one aid station on it; a 5km (3 mile) route and a longer 10 km route (6 miles).  Attendees may enter the courses anytime between 9:30 AM and 12 noon. Many women have joined this tour every year. One family of ladies has three generations of women on the trail every year. There are always costumes and the occasional man in drag.

After skiing, everyone is invited to enjoy music and food in the barns, cafe and tasting rooms of Black Star Farms. In addition to a special dessert and wine sampling from Black Star Farms, food is provided by many Northern Michigan restaurants including: Blue Tractor, Maxbauer’s,  Moomer’s Ice Cream, Confections by Kim,  Spaghetti Jim’s and 9 Bean Rows. Little Bohemia is bringing its famous red pepper bleu mac & cheese. For a little extra heat at the end of a snowy ski, Higher Grounds is brewing coffee and many restaurants are serving soup: Amical, Knot Just A Bar, Mackinaw Brewing Company and more. The party at Black Star Farm continues until 2:00 PM.
Each year, Kaye, a well-known area painter, designs a different poster based on that year’s theme. Designs have depicted cross-country skiing gals in egyptian tunics, Wonder Woman’s garb, kimonos and victorian dresses. The design is captured in t-shirts and notecards, as well.
Start the party on Saturday night, February 1st with a Sweet Sixteen “Coming Out”  Dance Party hosted by Little Bohemia in Traverse City, featuring the “Fresh Fossils” a band fused of rock, blues, ballads & jazz with musical artifacts from every culture.

Get some tips on how to get the most from your kick and glide and enjoy every mile!

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