Active & Outdoors in Leelanau: Snowshoe Scamper & Women’s Winter Tour!

Next Saturday & Sunday the Leelanau Peninsula hosts two great outdoor events that pair winter fun with wine!

Runaway Hen Snowshoe Scamper

Runaway Hen Snowshoe Scamper

The first is the 3rd annual Runaway Hen Snowshoe Scamper on Saturday, February 1st at noon at Brengman Brothers Winery. The starting gun will sound at 12:00 noon for the race, and anyone who wants to just stroll can start any time between 12:45 – 4 PM. It’s a a family-friendly event, and all ages are encouraged to participate. Wine and hot beverages will be available for purchase post-race in the tasting room as well.

Brengman Brothers owner Robert Brengman says that it’s the only time of year that they hoist their Olympic flag from the Salt Lake City Olympics. “I think that at this time of year we all get thinking ‘I can’t wait for the snow to be gone’ but then we look outside and it’s not gone and our choice is to sit inside or get out and be alive in the middle of winter. Where else can you strap on a pair of snowshoes and race through a rolling vineyard? It’s a whole different experience than just going for a hike.”

Robert adds that if you want to finish up with a glass of wine, their Runaway Hen Syrah or Cherry Port made with Balaton and Montmorency cherries would be the perfect complement!

Womens Winter Ski Tour

On Sunday is the annual Women’s Winter Tour – a northern Michigan Tradition. Event founder Kaye Krapohl explains that she started the Women’s Winter Tour 16 years ago to get women skiing. “When I was cross-country ski racing it was stressful, but I realized that once I got on the trail, I loved it. I thought that if I could get women out onto the VASA trail in a non-competitive situation, they might be able to see how fun it is. I figured I could woo them out with chocolate, and then when we brought Larry Mawby in and served sparkling wine at the last stop on the trail, it all came together.”

Womens Winter Tour Angels

Womens Winter Tour Angels, photo by Dietrich Floeter

The pairing of wine, women & chocolate in a no-pressure and fun setting proved to be so powerful  that at one point there were Women’s Winter Tours in Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, Minneapolis, Lake Tahoe, Colorado and other places. Kay says “Although my hope has always been to have it be a national event that raises money to support healthy choices for women, I’ve had to pull back until I have time to find those national grants and sponsors. I’ve always believed in the 3 Cs: Community, Charity and Chocolate! If you get women outside to do healthy things together, everything will be better.”

In its 16th year the Tour has grown to a weekend long affair that kicks off on Saturday (Feb 1) with Sweet Shopping on Front Street followed by their Sweet Sixteen Coming Out dance party hosted by Little Bohemia. On Sunday beginning at 9:30 you can sign in at the Women’s Tour. They will take over Black Star Farms with a very “progressive” party planned for Sunday along the trail (which begins and ends at Black Star Farms) and at a variety of venues at the Farm, each featuring a different food and beverage option!

Food on the Trail, photo by Dietrich Floeter

Food on the Trail, photo by Dietrich Floeter

They’ll have food, chocolate and beverages from supporters including Blue Tractor, Maxbauer’s,  Moomer’s Ice Cream, Confections by Kim,  Spaghetti Jim’s, 9 Bean Rows, Little Bohemia, Higher Grounds Coffee. Highlights include the “Church of Cheeses” at Leelanau Cheese, a special dessert and wine sampling from Black Star Farms and a large selection of soups from Amical, Knot Just A Bar & Mackinaw Brewing Company!

The event benefits women in our area through Active Women Now and – speaking from experience – it is a ton of fun! Kaye concludes, “The only reason to ski fast is to get to the chocolate first! And don’t worry men – you can participate too because we need volunteers to staff our comfort stations. We’re taking care of the wine & chocolate – all you have to do is show up!”

This year they will be offering shuttle service via Celtic Tours from Traverse City’s Holiday Inn West Bay to Black Star Farms with the last shuttle heading back for Traverse City at 2:15 – plenty of time for the Super Bowl if that’s your thing. Get all the information at