In the mid 1960s, Len “Mr. Ski” Oikarinen talked a small group of people into forming a cross country ski club, organized as the Copper Island Cross Country Ski Club. They held tours and races in various locations around the Keweenaw until settling on Swedetown as the ideal location and marked the first trails in 1973.
Originally a 5k loop, the system was expanded to two loops of 2.5 and 7.5k in 1977. This included Ed’s “you are here” hill and the Red Trail swamp. No grooming took place until 1979, when a Skidoo Alpine snowmobile began pulling a handmade drag and track setter.
The gradual addition of more trails through the 1980s and ’90s, the purchase of our first Pisten Bully groomer in 1990, and the construction of the chalet in 1991, brought Swedetown to a new level. Gradual land purchases between 1999 and 2002 preserved over 1400 acres of the land we ski, ensuring quality cross-country skiing for generations.
In 2007, the Copper Island Ski Club implemented some significant changes in the routing of the cross country skiing trail system. The goal is to have true beginner, intermediate and advanced loops. By paying attention to routing, the club will also reduce its grooming costs.
For the 2008-09 season, Swedetown added additional lighting, for a total of 5 km of lighted trails. Additional snowshoeing trails brought that total to 7 km.
The 2011-12 season saw the addition of a new groomer barn just uphill from the chalet. This saves the groomers significant time (not having to drive to and from downtown Calumet daily) and fuel costs.
At the all-member annual meeting in November 2012, the club passed a resolution to change our name to Swedetown Trails Club. During the transition period, you may see both names in use.