Ski for the Key benefits local agencies

CALUMET – The name may have changed, but the event now known as Ski for the Key drew out many Copper Country residents for a good cause.

The event, formerly Ski for the Heart, took place Saturday at the Swedetown Trails in Calumet.

Organizers said the name change was done to better highlight the current mission of the event, which originally benefitted the American Heart Association.

The recipients are now Omega House, which provides residential hospice care, and the Swedetown Trails Club, which maintains the Swedetown ski and bike trails.

Skiers and snowshoers collected pledges beforehand for every kilometer.

Numbers for this year’s event were not available yet, but last year’s drew more than 200 people.

“It’s just a wonderful day to ski and snowshoe, and get together as a community,” said co-organizer Carol Pfefferkorn of Omega House.

Early Saturday morning, people were out on the trails or warming up in the chalet. Participants could go 1.5, 5 or 10 kilometers, though some went even farther.

Joy Laitinen of Houghton was getting ready to snowshoe with her daughter, Ashley, 11. It was her first time at the event, which she’d found out about from her stepsister, who works at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital.

“It’s nice out here today,” she said.

Jan Haase of Calumet has skied at the event a number of times.

“I’m a cross-country skier, and Omega House is also a great cause, so why not? Why wouldn’t you do it?” she said.