Archive for December, 2010

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

CBS Chicago has put together a Winter Sports Guide for the Chicago area. It’s interesting that they only mention the most well known Lakefront and Northside recreation areas. CBS, you are missing the entire Southern Cook County, Will County and DuPage County Park Districts!  For those of you that want to know what CBS Chicago has put together for you, click here. I am giving you the short list below:

Downhill Skiing/Snowboarding

Devil’s Head Resort
Merrimac, WI

Sundown Mountain Resort
Dubuque, IA

Villa Olivia
Bartlett, IL

Wilmot Mountain
Wilmot, WI

Alicia Eler from Chicago’s Center Stage, wrote a great article about ski areas near Chicago. Click here for a link to her article. A few excepts are below.

Granite Peak
A 700-foot mountain with vertical runs located in Wausau, Wisconsin’s Rib Mountain National Park . It boosts 75 runs, seven high-speed lifts and Sun Kid Wonder Carpet.

3605 N. Mountain Rd. P.O. Box 5010, Wausau
Tel: (715) 845-2846

Chestnut Mountain

8700 W. Chestnut Rd., Galena
Tel: (800) 397-1320

Chestnut Mountain descends 475 feet with  19 runs in a  seven-acre terrain park with two half-pipes, its own chairlift, and a vast series of table tops and rail slides

Alpine Valley Ski Resort. Website here.

7-holes of golf, 20 slopes of skiing/snowboarding enjoyment, meeting and banquet facilities for 10 to 200, 124 guest rooms, two swimming pools, tennis courts, whirlpool and much, much more. Lodging accommodations include 123 guest rooms, four suites, and indoor pool and whirlpool, dining rooms, cocktail lounge and even a pizza parlor.

Raging Buffalo Snowboard/Ski Park. Website click here.

19-265 Western Ave
IL 60118
(847) 836-7243

Cross-Country Skiing

Camp Sagawau
12545 West 111th Street
Lemont, IL

Lincoln Park
Chicago, IL

Morton Arboretum
4100 Illinois Route 53
Lisle, IL

Northerly Island
1400 S. Lynn White Dr.
Chicago, IL


Deer Grove
Quentin Road, north of Dundee Road
Palatine, IL

Lincoln Park
Cricket Hill Fields, Montrose Harbor
601 W. Montrose Ave.
Chicago, IL

Mount Trashmore (James Hill) (former landfill)
Oakton & Dodge
Evanston, IL

Soldier Field
425 E. McFetridge Dr.
Chicago, IL

Soldier Field
425 E. McFetridge Dr.
Chicago, IL

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

We had a great snowfall in Chicago this weekend! And maybe you want to go sledding. Or your kids want to go sledding. Where do you go?  The Chicago Area Forest Preserves have a number of Sledding hills you can check out. Some are lighted and open until 10pm. Others are not lighted and only open til sunset. DuPage county also has sledding hills and other winter activities listed below Chicago Forest Preserve hills. Will County also has some great hills including the 40-foot long sledding hill at Goodenow Grove.

Check out the list of Cook County Forest Preserve hills below to see which ones are closest to you.

Cook County Forest Preserve Winter Activities-Click here for more info.

Sledding and Coasting

When snow conditions are suitable, the areas designated below are available for sledding and coasting.

Sledding and Coasting Hills With Lighting (Hours: 8 A.M. – 10 P.M.
Dan Ryan Woods
87th and Western Ave., Chicago

Swallow Cliff Woods
Route 83 and Mannheim Road, Palos Park

Caldwell Woods
Devon &; Milwaukee Avenues, Chicago
Deer Grove #5
Quentin Road, north of Dundee Road, Palatine

Westchester Woods
Cermak Road, east of LaGrange Road, Westchester

Sledding and Coasting Hills Without Lighting (Hours: 8 A.M. – sunset

Indian Hill Woods
16th Street & Edgewood Avenue, Chicago Heights

Pioneer Woods
107th Street, 1/2 mile west of LaGrange Road, Willow Springs

Indian Road Woods
Central Ave., 1/2 mile south of Caldwell Ave., Chicago

Schiller Woods
Irving Park and Cumberland Ave., Schiller Park

Deer Grove #4

Quentin Rd., north of Dundee Rd., Palatine

Public safety requires the closing of many Forest Preserve parking lots and driveways during the winter season. However, parking facilities involved with winter sports will be open daily.

Forest Preserve District of Cook County Sledding Hill Rules and Regulations

• Use of Forest Preserve District of Cook County sledding hills is a visitor’s own risk.
• Proper use of appropriate sledding devices which are in good repair and have no sharp edges is recommended.
• Use of skis, inflatable tubes, carpets, snowboards and metal-railed sleds is strictly prohibited.
• Unauthorized building of ramps, bumbs, moguls, hills or jumps out of a material or substance is strictly prohibited.
• Children under the age of 12 should wear a bicycle or multi-sport helmet and should be supervised by an adult.
• Sledding hills may be closed due to a lack of snow cover or for any other safety-related reason.
• Pets and alcoholic beverages are strictly prohibited on sledding hills.

DuPage Forest Preserve Winter Activities-Click here for more info.

Snow Tubing

The snow-tubing hill is located at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville.

* The 800-foot run is open December through February on weekends and school holidays, except Dec. 25, when the hill is covered with 3 or more inches of snow.
* Participants must use District-rented inner tubes.
* Rentals, which are at the base of the hill, are $4 per tube per day (cash only).
* Updated hours of operation and snow conditions are available at (630) 871-6422.

Sledding and Ice Skating

Unless otherwise posted, the Forest Preserve District allows sledding and ice skating in all forest preserves.

* Neither sledding nor ice skating requires a permit or has an associated fee.
* Rangers do not monitor ice conditions.
* All ice-related activities are done at the user’s own risk.
* As a guideline, not a guarantee, a minimum of 4 inches of ice is recommended for any ice activity.
* Sledding is always prohibited at Mount Hoy at Blackwell Forest Preserve, the closed landfill sites at Greene Valley and Mallard Lake forest preserves and any slopes at Spring Creek Reservoir Forest Preserve.

Will County Sledding Hills-Click here for more info

Forked Creek Greenway (Wilmington)
Goodenow Grove Nature Preserve (Crete Township)

Goodenow Grove in Beecher provides a includes a 40-foot-high sledding hill. Sledding tubes can be rented at Plum Creek Nature Center, which is located near the sledding hill. Guests can also bring their own sleds, but no steel runners, snowboards, or steerables are allowed. Please also note that no dogs are allowed on the sledding hill. To check on sledding conditions at Goodenow Grove, call the Plum Creek Nature Center at 708.946.2216 or check the Winter Recreation Report during the winter season.

Lake County Forest Preserves

Grab your sled and head out to the sled hill at Old School Forest Preserve or at the Lakewood Winter Sports Area. The hill at Lakewood is lighted and open until 9 p.m. every day that it is in operation. The sled hill at Old School is open until sunset every day when conditions allow. Note: no sleds with metal runners or snowboards, please.

Check back here for current conditions or call our Winter Sports Hotline at 847-968-3235. Click here for more info.

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A Charlie Brown Christmas was the first Peanut...
Image via Wikipedia

Merry Christmas (to those of you that celebrate Christmas)! If you’ve already opened presents, visited family and are looking for a few minutes of relaxing video watching, click on one of the links below and enjoy!

For those of you that remember Peanuts and Charlie Brown, here is a little bit of Christmas spirit from the gang!

If would like to hear a more traditional Christmas song, click here.

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Gift card boxes
Image by justmakeit via Flickr

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

This holiday season I felt the same mad crush that many of you feel. The crush to find the “perfect gift,”  the feeling that I need to get something special for everyone I care about. But times are tough and not everyone has the disposable income to buy gifts. And in the case of people like my parents, they already have most everything they need. What more can I give them? A dancing chia pet? Puzzles they may never use and don’t want? A tube of processed meat or cheese?

When I think of the thing my parents and many people I love really want it is the gift of my time. Running a business and going to graduate school means my time is extremely limited. Many of my clients are the in the same boat. Between work, long commutes,  kids and household tasks, time is at a premium. But time is something that is nonreturnable, nonrefundable and to people you love, priceless. This year I promised my parents to see them more often even with my crazy schedule. And yes I did get them some tangible gifts. But the gift of time, the pledge to spend time together in the new year, is likely the most valuable gift I can give.
One way you can give someone you love time is to make gift certificates for specific events. Then print up the certificates or hand write them on gift cards or party invites. Or if you really want to be creative and environmentally conscious, scrap out your message on tree bark! Here are some ideas of events you can give to those you care about:

1. An offer to babysit for a set amount of hours. A great gift for harried parents (that trust you with their kids!)

2. A certificate to shovel a neighbors walk for one day.

3.A certificate to walk an elderly or infirm friend’s dog for a week.

4. A homemade meal at your house to a partner or friend.

5. An offer to watch any show or movie your partner wants to even if you wouldn’t normally watch it. (And no grumbling during the show!)

6. A gift certificate for a 10-minute back rub.

7. A certificate for a 10-minute foot rub.

8. A certificate to take the kids out to dinner without your spouse so your spouse can take a bath/ can go work out guilt free.

9. An offer to visit your parents on a non holiday weekend (this works only if your parents like you and want to spend time with you!)

10. A certificate for a 4-hour “It’s Your Day” event. This can be 4 hours spent with someone you care about doing whatever they like to do: shopping, attending a sporting event or free concert, going for a walk or hike in the forest preserves, or whatever you both like to do together.

Make sure you do not give gifts of time that you really do not want to give. Be thoughtful in your gift. If you give someone an event or offer for you to do something for them they really would not want (giving your wife a trip to see the Bears game if she doe snot like football for example).

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

Are you a female over 18 years of age in Illinois? Want to help out researchers in identifying and perhaps someday preventing disease in woman (versus in men)? Then sign up for the Illinois Women’s Health Registry online today!

The Institute for Women’s Health Research at Northwestern University created the Illinois Women’s Health Registry to help women and medical professionals in Illinois find out why diseases affect women differently than men. The Illinois Women’s Health Registry database will assist investigators to understand the relationship between environmental exposures, stress, health symptoms, health trends and disease by gathering data on large numbers of women. The Registry will help foster research in the area of women’s health. It will become an informational resource and a recruiting tool for research participants. The Registry will make a concerted effort to include women from diverse social classes and racial/ethnic backgrounds in order to promote diversity in research studies and clinical trials. The Register gives you with an opportunity to enroll in a cause that encourages the study of sex differences between women and men that affect the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. If you want to improve knowledge about women’s health for yourself your daughters, your granddaughters, and many generations beyond, then you need to assist medical researchers in finding the answers. Joining the register is one way you can help…without leaving your computer!

To learn more about the Registry, click here.

Illinois Women’s Health Registry FAQ’s here.

Join the Illinois Women’s Health Registry here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

One of the most important questions you might ask yourself when undertaking about endurance sports is where are you going to store and access your water. I favor the CamelBak’s for hiking. I am not a long distance runner, but many of my clients are long distance runners and I do like to go on long bike rides. My CamelBak works for those trips too.

But then I was checking out REI’s website today and found this hydration shirt on sale:

It’s normally $74.93 but REI is knocking the price down to $64.83 for the holidays. It’s an interesting concept, running with your water bag sewn into your shirt. Or riding your bike long distance with your water punch resting on the back of your neck, but enclosed in a hydration shirt so it’s not against your skin. I might try it for a bike ride, but I’d be a bit worried that the water temperature would not be insulated well enough to either keep the water cold or keep my neck from getting cold.  However, when I read the specs for the shirt on the website, it actually looks like it is well insulated, with an attempt to be chafe proof.  I just wouldn’t wear it i the winter!  but it might make a great gift! Check out the specs:

  • HydroPouch™ is an integrated reservoir compartment that encapsulates a 72 fl. oz. reservoir in a manner that supports and stabilizes the water weight on the back
  • Vest is made from plush, chafe-free compression fabric that self-adjusts to comfortably hold and stabilize water reservoir while conforming to the body like a second skin
  • Fabric also delivers moisture management and dries quickly for cool and comfortable performance; 1/4-length neck zipper allows easy on and off
  • Air-mesh insulated back panel insert keeps your back cool and comfortable while insulating the water in the reservoir
  • Includes an insulated tube cover to keep the water in the tube cool and palatable
  • OMEGA™ HydroTanium™ reservoir is made from a strong polyurethane film for tensile strength and burst resistance
  • Big Bite™ valve is ergonomically positioned for easy drinking; handy HydroLock™ securely shuts off water flow

They also have:

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