February 18, 2012
January 4, 2011
Every year, Lake Superior State University puts together their list of Banished Words. Before we get to the current list, here’s a little back story:
In 1977, one year after Lake Superior State University Public Relations Director W.T. (Bill) Rabe released the first “banished words list,” he said that the international reaction from news media and the public told him “it would go on forever.”
Forever may be stretching it, but the annual List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness has been going strong since New Year’s Day 1976 and shows no signs of stopping. People from around the world have nominated hundreds of words and phrases such as “you know,” “user friendly,” “at this point in time,” and “have a nice day,” to be purged from the language.
Here’s a few choice words from their 2011 Banished Words List:
“Standards for using ‘epic’ are so low, even ‘awesome’ is embarrassed.” Mike of Kettering, Ohio.
It may have been word of the year in some wheelhouses, but “refudiate” wasn’t looked upon favorably by many who sent in nominations.
“Aren’t all Americans people? Every political speech refers to the ‘American’ people as if simply saying ‘Americans’ (or ‘people’) is not enough.” Deb of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
But words and phrases related to technology and the way we communicate dominated the list for 2011, including “viral,” “epic,” “fail,” and the use of websites “Facebook” and “Google” as verbs. “Viral” received the most nominations.
“Facebook is a great, addicting website. Google is a great search engine. However, their use as verbs causes some deep problems. As bad as they are, the trend can only get worse, i.e. ‘I’m going to Twitter a few people, then Yahoo the movie listings and maybe Amazon a book or two.” Jordan of Waterloo, Ont.
March 13, 2010
February 10, 2010
With the Winter Olympics just around the corner, it’s a good time to look back on the history of skiing. I’m guessing many folks aren’t aware of the pivotal role that Michigan has played in the history of skiing.
A great place to start is the U.S. National Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame and Museum in Ishpeming. It’s the only hall of fame in America dedicated exclusively to skiing and boasts 20,000 square feet that are packed with cross-country, downhill and snowboarding exbibits and memorabilia to take you from the founding of skiing to the latest innovations.
The core of the hall are the 368 inductees who represent some of the great names in skiing history. Included in their ranks are a number of Michiganians from one of the most influential ski resort owners in the nation, Everett Kircher (who developed the double and triple chair and made numerous other innovations at Boyne Mountain) to Lansing native and world class racer Cary Adgate (whose daughter is currently tearing up the slopes in Northern Michigan).
At this point, you may be asking yourself the same question that I did: “Why Ishpeming?”
About a century ago, a group of Ishpeming businessmen and skiing enthusiasts took the first steps to organize the National Skiing Association, now known as the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association. USSA is the national governing body for Olympic skiing and snowboarding and the entity behind the US Ski Team and US Snowboarding Team. For the story on why that happened in Ishpeming, we have to turn to the International Skiing History Association who explain that:
…The first actual recorded tournament in the Midwest took place in St. Paul, Minnesota, January 25, 1887. Starting from a tower all of twenty feet high, the Norwegian champion Mikkel Hemmestveit went 60 feet in the air to win. Then Hemmestvedt and his brother Torjus took the sport west to Red Wing, Minnesota with an exhibition tourney on February 8, 1887, sponsored by the year-old Aurora Ski Club of Red Wing. That very year, the idea of jumping spread to the Upper Peninsula and Ishpeming soon became a particular hotbed of jumping culture. In the Upper Peninsula after 1900, any town aiming to rank as a place worth living in had at least one big jump trestle. It became a matter of civic pride. The movement was supported by generous donations from the Upper Peninsula mining companies. Along the entire peninsula, ski clubs were founded, copying the organization of earlier Norwegian ski clubs the immigrants had known in their homeland. In Ishpeming, dozens of small backyard jumps were fashioned out of the plentiful snow and a few larger ones were built from trusses of native iron.
The Ishpeming Ski Club was organized in 1887 as the Norden Ski Club. A year later, it changed its name to Den Nordiske Ski Club (the Nordic Ski Club) to reflect its ethnic makeup. Business during club meetings was mostly transacted in Norwegian. Then diversity set in. With the arrival of Finns, the name was changed in 1901 to the Ishpeming Ski Club and meetings were thenceforth conducted in English. From that came a gradual growth toward the birth of organized skiing and, eventually, the founding of the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame.
Definitely click through to their homepage – there’s an awesome ski history video there – and if you want to know more about ski jumping in Michigan, the Detroit News Rearview Mirror has a cool feature on Michigan’s long history of ski jumping with some great old photos!
The photo above from Pine Mountain is one of countless postcards featuring Michigan’s rich history available from Don Harrison. Be sure to check it out bigger or in his ski slideshow (which leads off with a postcard of the jump they had in Ishpeming).
January 29, 2010
If a trip to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Olympics (February 12-28) isn’t in your budget, consider the shorter jaunt to Gaylord next week.
The Otsego Club, a private ski/golf club and resort founded in 1939, has been a good destination for snowboarders, with a terrain park of 45 trails and jumps to complement its 31 downhill runs. This season, it decided to take a chance and spend more than $100,000 to build the halfpipe…
The grounds were reshaped and prepared over the fall, and the architects of Planet Snow built the 500-foot-long, 22-foot-high halfpipe of ice and snow.
The club hoped adding the halfpipe could attract interest, but the general manager, Kris Klay, said the experiment had far exceeded expectations.
“Every day I am getting calls from coaches and athletes asking if they can come here too — do we have room?” Klay said. “We’re going to make the room. This has been an incredible experience for us to host them and for the community to be able to have exposure to this. We feel like we’re so lucky, we’re getting to see a preview of the Vancouver Olympics every day in our own backyard.”
They also have a nice feature on one of the biggest stars you can see there, Gold Medal hopeful Torah Bright. I’ve been told that even more of the top boarders will be in early next week, and my own resident snowboarding expert returned beaming from ear to ear at how he’d been able to board with Olympians, a chance that few get. I believe that the resort is closed to the public on the weekend, so be sure to call ahead!
You can see this photo of Japanese rider Shiho Nakashima larger in Gary’s Gaylord: Olympic Snowboard slideshow and check out his blog about
Walking, Biking, Getting Around in Northern Michigan & Beyond.
January 21, 2010
A friend told me yesterday about a deal that Shell stations are offering to give you a free ski ticket at participating ski resorts when you buy 10 gallons of gas. The details are at skifreedeals.com and the Michigan resorts are:
- Apple Mountain
- Bittersweet Ski Area
- Boyne Highlands
- Boyne Mountain
- Caberfae Peaks Ski Resort
- Cannonsburg Ski Area
- Cross Country
- Crystal Mountain (where this photo was taken)
- Hanson Hills
- Homestead Resort
- Marquette Mountain
- Mt Bohemia
- Mt Brighton Ski Area
- Mt Holiday Ski Resort
- Mt Holly
- Mt Zion
- Norway Mountain
- Nub’s Nob Ski Area
- Otsego Club
- Pine Knob Ski Resort
- Pine Mountain Resort
- Shanty Creek Resort
- Snow Snake Mountain
- Swiss Valley Ski Area
- Timber Ridge Ski Area
Tons more Michigan skiing info including profiles of these resorts at absolutemichigan.com/Ski.
January 7, 2010
It’s been a while since Michigan in Pictures got out with the incomparable Lars Jensen, for my money one of Michigan’s best outdoor photographers.
His winter visit to The Thumb offers this photo and many more larger and he writes:
Turnip Rock and Kai standing on the “thumbnail” in Michigan’s thumb area. Unfortunately, this area is privately owned so Kai and I skied to it from the harbor at Port Austin (about 2.25 miles away) on Lake Huron. We then skied out to the Port Austin Lighthouse which sits out in the middle of the bay on a shallow shoal (about 2.5 miles from the shores of Port Austin). We saw all sorts of interesting ice formations along the way and had a great time on a cold and blustery day.
PS: Too cold for you? He has summertime photos in Kayaking the Thumb!
December 31, 2009
I had originally thought about a more sober and reflective photo as we head into 2010, but when I saw this one in the Absolute Michigan pool this morning, I changed my mind.
I don’t think that anyone can deny that the first decade of the 21st century has been a brutal one for Michigan. We’ve lost a staggering amount of jobs, countless public services and tens of thousands of residents.
While we probably have farther to fall, it feels to me like we’re reaching the point where we’ll have to readjust to the world as it is and make some changes in what we do and the way we do it in Michigan.
My mood as we head into 2010? Happy. Hopeful. Ready for some hard work.
How about you?
PS: If you’re looking for something to do tonight, here’s Absolute Michigan’s New Year’s Eve Happenings.
PPS: Governor Granholm has proclaimed January as Michigan Snow Sports Month. I hear that Absolute Michigan will be doing something with that.
April 6, 2009
This is one of a number of photos from Nick Baumgartner’s cool Big Air Competition slideshow.
You can also see them at 2009 Midwest Super Park – Marquette Mountain at Yooper Steez, where Nick explains that every year some of the Midwest’s best snowboarders and skiers take to Marquette Mountain and showcase some of the best talent around.