In Jeff Stasser’s 35 years of skiing, he’s hit the slopes of Sweden, the mountains of Colorado, and the trails of Marquette. His love for skiing began with alpine before he began training for cross country skiing exclusively. This training led him to Sweden and eventually to Marquette to join NMU’s Nordic Ski Team. As he raced his way through college, Stasser worked part-time at Down Wind Sports where he is now part owner.
I have watched the local trail systems develop and expand. We are fortunate to have good, long winters to enjoy them. The Noquemanon ski marathon spawned into the Noquemanon Trail Network (NTN) and has since changed the ski culture in Marquette. Before the Noquemanon system was developed, there wasn't even a place to ski with a warming hut at the trailhead.
I enjoy skiing at the Forestville trail system (NTN) because of the quality of grooming. They groom so regularly, you can count on good conditions.
For classic ski, I hit the Blueberry Ridge pathway (DNR) 5 miles south of Marquette. They have two trailheads. The north trailhead is for classic skiing only. It’s unique because it’s the only trail in the county that has two classic tracks groomed side-by-side, so you can ski and visit with friends and family at your side. The South trailhead is groomed for classic and skate skiing. There’s also a warming cabin and a short lighted loop at the south trailhead.
In the winter, one of my family's favorite things to do is ski the Saux Head Lake system which is halfway between Marquette and Big Bay and managed by the NTN. It has a real wilderness feel out there which we love. It’s so quiet and peaceful that you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
The Marquette Fit Strip, located in the center of Marquette, is fun for a few laps on the lighted loops after work. We are also lucky to have access to the Forestville trail system from the NMU trailhead as of this year.
All of the trails are clearly marked and mapped, so it’s easy to select a loop or loops to take you as far as you feel like skiing. Each of the systems offers a good variety of beginner and advanced terrain.
Distance + Elevation
NTN - Has over 65 miles of single-track trail, 35 miles of groomed winter single track, and over 125 km of nordic ski trails.
Forestville - This 50K system features a point to point and loop trails including a range of difficulty from beginner to expert.
Blueberry Ridge Pathway - This pathway highlights 13.67 miles of trail for cross country skiing and hiking.
Marquette Fit Strip - The strip is a 1.6-mile loop open to year-round recreational activity.
One Word of Advice
I would suggest dressing in layers while out on the trails. Shed a layer once warmed up and avoid sweating/getting chilled.
Local Rentals & Retailers
📍 Down Wind Sports sells, services, and rents Nordic skis. Plus you can pick up a map of the local trails here too!
📍 Forestville Trailhead Warming Building also has a wide selection of rental equipment, but call (906-235-6861) before hitting the trails to make sure staff is present to provide rental equipment.