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50 Years of Memories

Recalling early days of cross country skiing
By Jeanne Bereza
Posted on 1/6/2018 4:56 PM

A Moment in FVBSC Historyfrom Feb 2008 FVBSC news—recalling early days xc skiing

In the 1970’s, FVBSC members discovered that winter can be fun if we could cross-country ski. Our first “Winter Fun Day” was held at Johnson’s Mound at the suggestion of Girl Scout leader/outdoor expert Fran Buckles.  Bill & Marcia Cameron helped with xc ski lessons and introduced the club to Green Lake Conference Center in Wisc. Bill managed Chuck’s Bike Shop (in downtown South Elgin), which later became the Village Pedaler.  Our first time at Green Lake, the lodging was a huge barn (with bunk beds).  The ski center had a “do-it-yourself” waxing area.  Now the Center has a couple of beautiful lodges plus a remodeled Inn on the lakeshore.  We haven’t done a Green Lake trip the past couple years, but be sure to join us for Winter Fun Day the first weekend in March (hopefully with snow!)     in 2008! ***

In the same newsletter, we listed Ralph Daehn, Cliff Tebeau and Jeanne Bereza as contacts for “impromptu” xc skiing; that was before “XC-google group” or FVBSC “interest” groups for blast emails.  

***Comment—Our club would still have been called St Charles Bicycle Club at the time we were introduced to xc skiing, but if my memory serves correctly, it was after several winter overnite trips to Green Lake that we decided to use the logo “Self Propelled”—a short version for “Fox Valley Bicycle & Ski Touring Club”. Also in our earlier days we had more hikes and some canoeing, plus 2 or 3 bike overnite camping trips per season. If you take a good look at our history T-shirt displays during the wkend of our Swedish Days Ride, there is our first piece of “club clothing”—which was a blue-gray short sleeve cotton T-shirt  with a big “Self Propelled” logo on the back. We also had an embroidered patch with the logo which showed a cyclist going uphill on one half, and a skier going downhill on the opposite half.

After several yrs of poor snow conditions, Green Lake Conference Center (American Baptist Assembly) decided to close their ski shop, add to their lodges, and concentrate on church conferences. The last time we did a club trip there, we enjoyed the good lodging, meals and scenery (by the lake) at the Center, but  xc skied at Mecan River Outfitters in Princeton—a short drive away and very nice trails groomed for classic and some skate skiing.

I can’t recall if we actually had any snow for that Johnson’s Md event in March—but the past several yrs, members requested we do the wkend before Super Bowl to satisfy all the football enthusiasts!

Jeanne Bereza

Our first members to get xc ski’s had waxable ski’s. You used a paraffin block and hot iron to prep your ski’s. Soon after, no-wax  ski’s with “fishscale bottoms” became available, and we decided that was more practical! This was all before the intro of “skate skiing”—everyone just did “classic.”