Meet Sam – KAC Owner/Manager!

Hansi_Photo_130901_IMG_1038 Sam has spent most every summer of his life in Copper Harbor He has a genuine love for the area, the community, its history, geology, all around natural beauty and of course, Lake Superior.

After college, Sam moved to Colorado and spent five years in the Vail Valley, in the Avon/Edwards area most specifically.  It was during this time that he became hooked on the sport of mountain biking, with the abundance of awesome trails to ride and the participation in the local race series easily accessible.

During these formative years living out west, Sam realized he had a strong yearning to return to the Keweenaw Peninsula. He tried to figure out a way to make a living here and ultimately wound up as the sole-proprietor of Keweenaw Adventure Company see Company Mission & History.  After doing a seasonal gig between spending winters in Colorado and summers in the Keweenaw for a number of years, Sam is now a full-time, year round resident of Copper Harbor.

Sam-chainsawSam graduated from Northwood University in Midland, Michigan in 1992. He received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration Degree in Marketing and Management and an Associate of Arts Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. He became the owner of Keweenaw Adventure Company in the fall of 1998 at the age of 30. Sam has been certified in Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and he attended Barnett Bicycle Institute (BBI) to learn more about bicycle mechanics. He will, however, be the first to admit that while he has a general understanding of mechanics, he considers himself to be more of a wanna-be than a real mechanic!

Helping to formally establish the Copper Harbor Trails Club in 2007, Sam has continually served on the Board of Directors of the 501C3 non-profit organization ever since.   Community oriented, he also advocates for the trails serving on the Keweenaw County Economic Development Committee, Keweenaw Outdoor Recreation Authority (KORC), Copper Harbor Improvement Association – Advertising Committee and the Copper Harbor Pedestrian & Bicycle Access Committee. Additionally, Sam served on a one-time Citizen’s Advisory Committee with the DNR to represent the interests of silent sports and non-motorized trail development on acquired State land on Keweenaw Point in 2004, and plans for a +/- 30 mile Keweenaw Point Trail are in the works — Phase I & II are now on the ground and open for public use, while the third and final phase is currently in the process of getting the necessary permits and approvals…Sam continues to support these efforts to make that dream become a reality in totality.

Although Sam enjoys the great outdoors from a variety of perspectives, his number one passion is mountain biking. He tries to ride whenever possible and has spent countless volunteer hours helping to establish the Copper Harbor Mountain Bike Trail System since the late 1990’s. His original hopes that one day Copper Harbor would be on the “mountain bike map” and become known as the “Moab of the Midwest” – due to its unique terrain and public land access – were affirmed with the designation of the Copper Harbor Trails as an IMBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association) “Epic Ride” in 2009, and later trumped with an IMBA “Silver Level Ride Center” designation in 2012.

September2013 005Sam served as the race director of the annual Copper Harbor Fat Tire Festival (now the Bell’s Beer Copper Harbor Trails Festival) mountain bike race from 1998-2012 and helped to establish it as a significant regional event.  This race has a reputation for being one of the most challenging and fun-filled mountain bike events in all of the Midwest and riders now make the journey from all over the U.S. and Canada to join in this end of the season gathering of the tribe.

When not behind the desk at the office or out biking the trails, Sam might be found instructing sea kayak lessons during the summer. He has been active with the ACA (American Canoe Association) as a Level 3 Certified Instructor. Most of his paddling experience has been on Lake Superior, including many trips on the Keweenaw Peninsula, Isle Royale National Park and the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin.


Photo courtesy of Chuck Haney

Winter to Sam means snow and more importantly, freshies!!  Nearby Mount Bohemia is a big reason that Sam now spends his winters in the Keweenaw.  Even after thirteen winters spent on the slopes of Vail & Beaver Creek, he feels that his skiing experience is not too compromised due to Bohemia’s sustained, steep terrain, fantastic glade skiing and consistent Lake effect POWDER!!!   Sam also enjoys cross-country skiing, back-country ski touring and snowshoeing, and was an active volunteer for many years helping to maintain and groom the Copper Harbor XC ski trails.

winter 2012-13 025Aside from his outdoor adventuring, live music is near and dear to Sam.  He likes a variety of music, but rock, folk, funk, bluegrass, cajun and blues are some of his favorites. You can hear the likes of – The String Cheese Incident, Donna the Buffalo, Widespread Panic, the Del McCoury Band, Leftover Salmon, Bill Monroe, Rush,  Galactic, the Grateful Dead, the Funky Meters, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe  – among others drifting from the shop on warm summer days. Sam has been known to get down and boogie!