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Wes Doak


One single day in 1971 changed my life. On Saturday December 11, I experienced my first ski tour on Fence Lake with three friends. Long story short: just before midnight Gordy Brown and I decided to open a cross country ski shop in Woodruff the following November. And we already had the name for our shop—while my cousin, Charlie Bethke, was filming our adventure, we had named the home movie “Easy Slider.”

What exactly changed my life? My gobsmacking encounter with the rhythm of xc skiing—Kick and Gliiiiiiiiiiiiide. 

When we got back to Gordy’s house I took off my skis to head in for a steak dinner. It only took four or five steps—my body refused to give up the rhythm. I spent the next several hours skiing on Fence Lake. My life would new be dedicated to introducing others to xc skiing. Kick and Gliiiiiiiiiiiiide—Resonant Rhythm, the mantra of xc skiing. Resonant Rhythm leads to the nirvana of xc skiing. Easy Slider Ski Shop founded the Lakeland Ski Touring Club in January, 1973, and within five seasons the Club had hosted four tour races, two Nordic Picnics, and developed three full service ski centers, the third of which is MWP. In addition, the DNR dedicated new cross country ski trails at Madeline Lake and Raven, each right after we held races there.

Here’s more basic biographical data:

Born in Chicago in 1946.

Married Joan Heenahan, 1978-2000.

Daughters Angela and Allison.

Degrees: BA Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University, 1967; MS Organic Chemistry, University of Illinois Chicago, 1971; Wisconsin Teacher Certification, Chemistry and Physics, UW Superior, 1984.

Teacher, Chemistry and Physics, Marshfield High School, 1984-2007.

Reside in Arbor Vitae.

Founder, Lakeland Ski Touring Foundation, 1981.

Director, MWP, 1981-1986 and 2017-present.

MWP Ski Shop and Ski School Director, and Head Groomer, 1978-1982.

Certified XC Ski Instructor USSA-CD 1973-79

Certified XC Ski Instructor PSIA-CD 1979-present

Among my many fond memories is the very first time friends and I scouted trails around the Squirrel Hill area. It was well known that Squirrel Hill had once hosted a downhill ski area. In March of 1973 we parked on Scotchman Lake Road, followed an old logging road to an overlook of Tamarack Pond. It’s the same vantage point on the Wilderness Trail today. Other logging roads that we explored that day are now parts of River Run. Simply Gorgeous.

What about the future of MWP? I fully support the transition from traditional governance to Policy Governance. I expect MWP will transform into a year round venue very soon. Most notably, MWP has begun two projects to bring world class mountain biking to the Park. Of course, we need a new chalet and snowmaking. The creation of a full time executive position to operate the Park is a major milestone, and has proven its worth many times over. Most importantly, the Town of Minocqua maintains its strong support of the Park. That one Saturday in 1971 redirected the trajectory of my life. It’s been a delight.

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