The SISU Ski Fest (SSF) was chartered in 2010 as a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting silent sports with emphasis on cross-country ski racing and generating economic activity in the Ironwood area. The SISU Ski Fest manifests these goals.
Funding is obtained from racer registration fees and business and individual sponsor cash donations. In kind contributions of goods and services are an important element in conducting the SSF. The other essential area that SSF depends on is the time that is so generously donated by local volunteers. Our volunteers keep SSF moving forward as an organization by volunteering at race events, serving on the Board Of Directors or Race Committee. It takes volunteers to make this community festival happen.
The SISU Ski Fest is comprised of 4 ski events, the 31K SISU Ski Race, 15K Heikki Lunta Ski Race, Hauska Hiihto 5K Ski and Depot Dash.
Where Our Money Goes – SSF is fortunate to have many volunteers who offer their time and pro-bono services. Thanks to them and the Board of Directors along with the Race Committee members, SSF is able to run a very lean operation with a small percentage of our budget going towards administrative expenses. Scholarships, cash donations and ski equipment for youth cross-country ski programs also utilize SSF funds. Listed below are recipients for recent SISU Ski Fest Community Grants Awarded.
2019 SISU Ski Fest Board Members
Jim Decur - President (2020)
Vic Calore - Vice President (2021)
Jonathon Rulseh - Secretary (2020)
Morgan Grasso - Treasurer (2020)
Bob Burchell (2019)
Paulette Niemi (2019)
Rick Semo (2020)
Ric Olson (2021)
Pam Iacullo (2019)
Paul Hagemann (2021)
Scott Erickson (2021)
Tom Bergman (2019)
The 2019 SISU Race Committee
Race Director - Jackie Powers
Aid Stations Coordinator - Melanie Fullman
Race Course - Eric Anderson
Depot Dash (kid's event) - Hannah Panci
Memorial Building Coordinator - Pam Iacullo
Post Race Food - Adrienne Chase
Registration - Morgan Grasso
Road Crossings - Bob Burchell/Paul Hagemann
Ski Patrol/First Aid Coordinators - Vic Calore/Zona Wick
Sponsorships & Donations - Jackie Powers
Start Line - Dan & Vicky Finco
Finnish Line - Rick Semo
Door Prizes/Awards Ceremony - Paulette Niemi
Website/Registration - Ric Olson
Fat Bike Demo - Tom Bergman
Volunteer Coordinator - Jim Decur
SISU Ski Fest Community Grants
Every year SISU Ski Fest has promoted the sport of cross country skiing and other forms of recreation through community grants. Over the past 10 years we have distributed $25,000 in community grants and another $10,000 to the City of Ironwood for initiatives such as trail improvements, acquisition of the Iron Belle Trail, Depot Park development and the Mt Zion Park overlook.
2019 Grant Applications Accepted Through March 30th
The SISU Ski Fest Board of Directors is accepting grant applications for projects that support our mission of promoting the activity of cross-country skiing and other silent sports through the provision of high quality recreational opportunities to area residents and tourists. The application deadline is March 30, with decisions announced by April 30.
Sisu Endurance Team - $1,000 (see photo and caption)
2017 Grant Recipients
Red Devil Soccer - $1,000 for maintenance of the soccer field for the youth soccer club.
Ironwood's Middle School Ski Program - $1,000 for their learn to ski program that is now in its 10th year.
Wakefield-Marenisco School District - $750 for a groomer for their elementary Nordic skiing program.
Hurley Nordic Ski Club - $750 to further expand their Nordic Ski Program to the 9th grade. Hurley National Honor Society students volunteer at our bag drop every year. What a super bunch they are!
Wolverine Nordic Trails - $500 for trail rerouting and reopening the Ottawa Loop, a single track skiing/snowshoe trail that has been closed due to wetlands issues.
2016 Grant Recipients
CXC Nordic Rocks Ski Program - $1000 purchased ski equipment and provided lessons for elementary school youth to learn how to cross country ski. Wakefield-Marenisco School benefitted from the Nordic Rocks program in 2017.
Ironwood High School Cross Country Running Program - $1000 for team warm up jackets and a tent shelter for use at cross country meets.
Hurley School District Nordic Ski Program - $600 expanded their cross country ski program to middle school age kids.
Ironwood Parks and Recreation Department - $400 towards building materials for a handicap accessible observation platform at the top of Mt. Zion Ski Hill and look out area.
2018: This year SISU Ski Fest awarded $1,000 to the Sisu Endurance Team (SET) to purchase equipment for their new youth ski program.The SISU Endurance Team is a youth program begun just this year as a cross country ski and mountain biking program but has already added a running program as well! It is open to youth in Gogebic County, MI and Iron County, WI in grades 2-12 and all skill levels are welcome. This program is sponsored by the Iron County 4-H program and the University of Wisconsin Extension and is made possible by the contribution of the volunteer coaches, assistant coaches, parent volunteers, and collaboration with the ABR Ski Trails.
2017: The SISU Ski Fest presented a check for $750 to the Hurley K-12 School for the Hurley Nordic Ski Club to expand its middle school learn-to-ski program into 9th grade. Hurley has been a leader in learn-to-ski programming within the local school systems. Students from 2nd to 9th grade now receive cross country skiing instruction as part of their physical education programming. Hurley National Honor Society students volunteer at the SISU Ski Fest bag drop each year. Hurley was one of five 2017 grant recipients.