An Inside Look at Cold Rolled: Amazing Video on Snow Biking in the UP

Today, featured blogger Jesse Land of Things to Do in the U.P. shares his interview with filmmaker Aaron Peterson on snow biking in Michigan and his new film Cold Rolled.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Peterson

A new film by Michigan filmmakers shows that Marquette, Michigan is breaking ground in the sport of snow biking, with veteran snow bikers leading the way. With a custom made trail groomer and a dedicated snow bike trail (simply dubbed the “SBR” for snow bike route), there’s yet another reason to visit Marquette in the winter. I caught up with filmmaker Aaron Peterson this week for a quick Q &A about the film, Marquette and snow biking in general.

The film is being released in five parts, and you’ll find the first two parts below the interview.

How did this film come about? What were some of the challenges you ran into while making it? Did you run into any pleasant surprises?

I wanted to showcase the unique winter riding opportunities available in Marquette. We started out with the idea to make a short action video for the web, but then found a deeper story about a strong culture of winter cycling in Marquette and decided to expand the project into a film. Some of the challenges were that I’m new to video and filmmaking, this is my first major undertaking. I’ve been shooting video for about a year and just started to learn editing about 10 months ago.

As far as you know, how does the snow bike trail in Marquette compare to snow bike trails in the rest of the country?

Marquette’s SBR is, as far as I know, the first of its kind. It is very similar to a standard summertime mountain bike singletrack flow trail, meaning its fast, narrow and has fun features like bermed corners, rollers, etc.

From what I’ve seen in other areas, most places are simply allowing fatbikes on existing Nordic ski trails, which has a very different feel than buzzing through the woods on a dedicated bike trail. The NTN SBR is a really unique product, and one that I think was made possible due to the 30-year history of winter riding in Marquette that is featured in the film.

How does the NTN groom the snow bike trail?

Mike Brunet and Matt Belic of the NTN experimented with a number of different techniques and equipment over the past few years before developing and constructing their own groomer design. It’s sort of a cross between a snowmobile trail groomer and a Nordic ski trail drag. It rolls and packs the snow leaving a 27-inch wide courdoroy ribbon of fun through the hills and forest within the city of Marquette.

Are there any other snow bike trails in the area that will be opening in the foreseeable future?

The Range Mountain Bike Club of Negaunee/Ishpeming is planning to groom some of its system this season, making Marquette County a true hub for winter cycling. Also the Noquemanon Ski Marathon will have three races during the weekend of†Jan 24-26, 2014.

Do you need a special bike to ride the snow bike trail?

Yes, this is a trail specifically for fatbikes, bikes with oversized tires available from a variety of manufacturers. Fatbikes are available to rent from The Sports Rack in Marquette and can be demoed at any of Marquette’s four bike shops. The trails are also open to snowshoeing.

Can you talk a little about snow biking in general? I heard of it last year for the first time and it seems like it’s rapidly growing in popularity.

Fatbikes are the fastest growing segment of the bike industry right now. They use an oversized tire with low pressure to increase flotation and traction in soft conditions, they work in all types of terrain but excel like no other bike when it comes to riding on snow, which is why locally they are called snow bikes.

They do need a packed surface of some sort, like a ski trail, dedicated snow bike trail or anywhere a snowmobile of snowshoe traffic has compressed fluffy snow. Riding on snow is surreal. For an experienced cyclist, the feeling is similar to mountain biking but different enough that it lets you feel an entirely new experience on a bike. Marquette’s SBR can be very fast because it is smooth, the ride is like a roller coaster.

The bikes are very stable because of their wide tires and the traction is unbelievable. It’s just fun to try something familiar yet different and see what the bike can and can’t do. Plus it’s outdoors in crisp fresh air and great exercise. You just have to try it.

Video One:

COLD ROLLED-Chapter One from Clear & Cold Cinema on Vimeo.

Video Two:

COLD ROLLED-Chapter 2: The Thirty-Year Winter from Clear & Cold Cinema on Vimeo.

The remaining three videos (and the full length film) will be available the following dates:

These approximately 4-minute long chapters will be live by 8 a.m. EST on the following dates:

  • Saturday, Dec. 21 Chapter 3: The Lake Superior Session
  • Saturday,Dec. 28 Chapter 4: MindSparks-Birth of the SBR
  • Saturday,Jan. 4 Chapter 5: The SBR Shred Session
  • Saturday, Jan. 11 Full film available

Have you ever been snow biking? Tell us about your experience.

This post was written by Jesse Land of Things to do in the U.P. on behalf of Travel Marquette Michigan.

6 Must-Visit Upper Peninsula Coffee Shops

Today, featured blogger Jesse Land of Things to Do in the U.P. describes six Upper Peninsula coffee shops that are perfect for a quick pick-me-up after a busy day.

Have you ever needed to grab a coffee while traveling and just haven’t been able to find a place? I know I have. And because I care about my fellow coffee lovers, I’m here to give you the skinny on where to get your caffeine fix while exploring the Upper Peninsula.

Dead River CoffeeMarquette, MI

Dead River Coffee is primarily a coffee roaster, and if you’re timing is right, you might catch Theo (the owner) roasting a batch of beans as you order your favorite coffee drink. (The smell is amazing!) Grab a pound of his popular “Harbor Girl” roast for the road. 119 W Baraga Ave. Marquette, MI

5th and Elm - Calumet, MI

This cool coffee shop is housed in a nicely restored historic building in downtown Calumet. Formerly a gas station, the building now houses one of the two 5th & Elm locations (the other is in Houghton) and serves up ice cream and sandwiches as well as coffee. 501 Elm St. Calumet, MI

Moose Jackson CafeIron Mountain, MI

Moose doubles as one of the town’s social hubs. It’s often busy, especially around lunch time when sandwiches, wraps, salads and paninis fly out of the kitchen as busy lunchtime chatter fills the space. They do a great job getting orders out, though, and the food is good enough for this to also be a very legitimate breakfast or lunch spot. 221 E A St. Iron Mountain, MI

Stone Cup Coffee House & Stones Deli – Escanaba, MI

Are you seeing a trend here? Yes, most of the coffee shops in the U.P. also double as restaurants. And the Stone Cup Coffee House & Stones Deli in Escanaba is no different. This is a great place to grab a mouthwatering breakfast or lunch as well as a quality coffee. 1222 Ludington St. Escanaba, MI

Falling Rock Cafe’ – Munising, MI

The Falling Rock is a true gem, nestled in downtown Munising, just south of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Part coffee shop, part bookstore, this is a place where you could easily spend a couple hours. They also serve a wide selection of ice cream for those hot summer days, and a full menu of soups and sandwiches if you’re in the mood for lunch. If you happen to be visiting Pictured Rocks and mother nature rains on your parade, grab a coffee, crack open one of their more than 1,000 new and used books and relax for a while. 104 E Munising Ave., Munising, MI

The Serving Spoon – Menominee, MI

Tucked inside a house along Menominee’s historic waterfront district, The Serving Spoon is a breakfast hotspot as well as coffee shop. From here, it’s just a short drive (or nice walk) to Menominee’s North Pier Lighthouse. 821 1st St. Menominee, MI

Now that you’ve got a good idea where to get your caffeine fix in the U.P., I’d love to hear about any other great coffee shops out there. What’s your favorite Michigan coffee shop?

This post was written by Jesse Land, publisher of the Upper Peninsula travel website Things to do in the U.P. on behalf of Travel Marquette Michigan.

 

 

Delicious Fall Desserts in the Upper Peninsula

Fall is a great time to indulge in some delicious desserts! Today, guest blogger Jesse Land of Things to Do in the U.P. tells us about some sensational sweet treats in the Upper Peninsula. 

Autumn is harvest time and as we all know, along with the harvest comes delicious fall desserts. I caught up with a few of the Upper Peninsula’s best bakers this month to highlight some of their fall inspired favorites.

Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie – Joe’s Cakes

Joe’s cakes within the historic Landmark Inn in Marquette is a standout Upper Peninsula bakery, and Joe’s sour cream apple walnut pie is one of his most popular desserts. When Joe Heck’s grandmother immigrated from Cuba, in his words “she couldn’t bake a pie or a cake to save her life.” But she found a book in the library with the recipe for this dessert translated into spanish and the rest is history.

Joe makes this pie with Michigan apples mixed with sour cream, fresh ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. The topping is made from house made molasses, brown sugar, walnut flour and chunks of walnuts. All of that goes into a traditional pie crust and gets baked “really slow, so the acid comes out of the apples and turns the sour cream into custard. In the end it’s really a spiced apple custard pie,” says Joe.

I had a few bites of this one at the Landmark and it was awesome. I then took the rest home for my wife to try and it was gone in seconds!

Pumpkin Pie Fudge – Donckers

Photo courtesy of Donckers

Candy chef Akasha from Donckers in Marquette makes an awesome pumpkin pie fudge. I’d never had pumpkin fudge until I tried it at Donckers, but I can imagine how the candied walnut crust on this dessert improves an already delicious treat.

Donckers also had some crazy good looking caramel apples on display. They’re “candy coated and caramel drenched honey crisp apples,” according to Donckers, and they also happen to be the best looking caramel apples I’ve ever seen.

Apple Pie – Upper Crust Deli

Linda Smith from the Upper Crust Bakery and Deli in Manistique makes a mean apple pie. She says it’s a simple apple pie that’s just thrown together, but she always uses Idared apples. I say that next to my mom’s, apple pie it’s one of the best I’ve had. Linda also makes an amazing chocolate pecan pie, the recipe for which came from her Grandma’s church cookbook. I’m seeing a theme with the Grandmas, here.

Pumpkin Everything! – Midtown Bakery

I didn’t get a chance to stop in the Midtown Bakery in Negaunee for “research” this time around, but Marybeth Kurz’s desserts are locally famous. Here’s what she had to say about her fall desserts:

“We are in full blown Pumpkin mode! We have ten different pumpkin cheesecakes, from plain pumpkin to pumpkin cranberry and almond, or pumpkin and buttered pecan. Our pumpkin spice cookie that has cinnamon chips, poached raisins and spices and rolled in coarse sanding sugar and more cinnamon has been a new big hot seller for us, too. Our Muffins featuring pumpkin are the first to fly off the shelf in the mornings!”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. There are dozens of great restaurants and bakeries in the Upper Peninsula that serve up delicious fall desserts, so consider this just an introduction!

How about you? What’s one of your favorite fall desserts?

A native Yooper, Jesse Land lives in Iron Mountain and enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, and camping with his family. He runs the Upper Peninsula travel site “Things to do in the U.P.”