Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Winterfest extended on Mercer area trails


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MERCER, Wis. — MECCA Trails has extended its annual Winterfest. The event was originally scheduled to end Feb. 21, but will now run through March 28.

“We extended the date because it is a virtual event. We said, we might as well run this all winter long. We got kind of a late start because the snow wasn’t cooperating with us,” said Mike Shouldice, president of the MECCA Trails Association.

The festival consists of four events: the Turtle River Pursuit — an 11K classic and 11K skate race, the 5K Claire de Loon Classic Fun Race, the Flowage 15K Freestyle, and the Mercer Springs Snowshoe Tour — which has 1-, 2- and 3-mile options.

Winterfest is an annual fundraiser for the MECCA Trails Association. The funds raised this year will go toward its community outreach program and to help the association purchase a new groomer and “workhorse” snowmobile. Shouldice said some of their equipment is 10 years old and in need of replacement.

“When we bought the new groomer and the new gator two years ago, it drained our equipment fund down towards zero. So we are trying to build that fund back up and get it into the five-digit zone, again; so that when it comes time to buy a new tractor or (other equipment), we’re in a position where we can pay cash and we don’t have to borrow money,” Shouldice said.

According to Shouldice, last year the festival raised $10,000. He said he would love to see them achieve that this year. However, last year the registration fees were higher and there was more snow.

“It would be great if we got to that amount this year, but you know our goal is to have a positive skier experience and raise money simultaneously,” he said. “I’m confident we’ll do both.”

Along with extending the festival until the end of March, the committee has also lowered the cost of registration. Shouldice said they were able to lower the cost because of the generosity of several big-name sponsors.

“We just wanted to get the numbers up and get people out on the trails,” Shouldice said.

To register go to