Memories of Iola Winter Carnival
By Jane Myhra
Trey Foerster was named Grand Marshal for the 2018 Iola Winter Carnival, Feb. 2-4.
He was chosen for his past and present contributions to the Iola Winter Sports Club.
“Trey is very deserving of this honor,” said IWSC member Shelly Kunzman.
“Trey has always been our go-to person for historical information at the Iola Winter Sports Club,” Kunzman said. “Being a former board member and editor of the Iola Herald, he has a vast amount of historical knowledge.”
“He is a great guy who always supported the ski jumping,” said IWSC member Tom Ricchio. “He was always covering the jumping events, talking to the kids and taking great pictures. He is always fun to be around.”
Foerster moved to Iola in November of 1975. He married Mary Gross in 1980. His employer, Chet Krause, encouraged Foerster to join the Iola Winter Sports Club because the club needed a secretary.
“Chet had a sweet spot for that club,” Foerster said. “He had a future vision for the growth of the club and really helped keep it alive through the years.”
According to Foerster, Krause’s vision of a recreational facility for the Iola area led to the Iola Winter Sports Club offering nordic combined competitions, which led to the development of cross country skiing trails. The complex now offers snowshoe trails, summer ski jumping, walking trails and mountain biking.
“It is a year-round recreational area. It’s a fantastic place.” Foerster said.
“Local people donated time for a lot of the early things, such as excavating and electrical, to really build the infrastructure,” he said. “A lot of people gave of their time to make it what it is.”
When Foerster joined the IWSC Board of Directors as secretary, Milt Aasen was president. Other people who kept the wheels turning through the years included Phil Johnsrud, Greg Loescher, Eugene Voie, Roger Voie, Gary and Sue Jacobson, Dennis and Kathy Sorenson, Kevin and Jackie Hoffman, Frank Akey, Dennis and Kathy Mathis, Tom Ricchio, Shelly Kunzman, Barb Kobs, Chester Fraley, Rollie Finner, Len Haroldson, Leonard Haroldson and Sig Malvik.
These people and others gave of their time to develop the youth program and to build the ski jumps, trails and buildings at the complex.
Foerster’s experiences included helping to mark the hill during local events, traveling with Gary Jacobson to a ski jumping competition in the Upper Peninsula and watching the building of the 60-meter jump.
“Building the 60-meter was incredible to watch,” Foerster said. He recalled driving out with Chet Krause, Doug Watson and Cliff Mishler just to watch the jump being built.
He recalled when the Master Tournament was held in Iola.
“It was always fun to see Sig Malvik out there jumping in the Masters,” Foerster said. “He had a story about each jumper. It was an amazing history lesson on the various ski clubs.”
Winter Carnival memories
Foerster has fond memories of many Iola Winter Carnivals.
He remembers distributing Iola Winter Carnival posters with Gene Knutson and Mitch Swenson.
“One of my favorite things during the ski jumping was to have an Akey burger because Frank put a lot of onions on it,” Foerster said. “A real treat was his ‘peppermint’ hot chocolate.”
A life member of the Iola Winter Sports Club, Foerster served on the IWSC Board for several years prior to purchasing the Iola Herald in 1987. He served as president of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association in 2004 and is currently Group Publisher at JP Media.
He and Mary have two children and three grandchildren. Their daughter, Cailin, is in the medical field and is employed at ThedaCare Waupaca. Their son, Regan, is a deputy sheriff in Kalkaska, Michigan. He and his wife, Jenna, have three children.
Foerster is proud both of his children were ski jumpers.
“If you can get the strength and motivation to ski off a jump that’s 35-meters, you can do a lot in life,” he said.