The Beginnings of The Foundation
The first board meeting was convened July 13, 2019 with nine directors. Eric Anderson opened the meeting with a challenge to the board. This challenge was to continue the skiing experience and let families enjoy all that Ironwood, Michigan has to offer for the next 100 years. The first parcel of 90 acres of land was donated to the foundation by Eric & Angela. This tract of land parallels the Montreal River and is adjacent to Norrie Park, a city owned park in Ironwood.
It is Eric and Angela’s plan to donate a significant portion of their land to the Foundation between now and 2025.
Learn more about our foundation’s Frequently Asked Questions.
Transition From ABR to the Foundation
Prior to the transition, ABR will continue to operate as previously enjoyed. Angela and Eric still maintain ownership of ABR and operate the ski trails.
After the transition, skiers will experience a seamless transition into the future for their silent sports, starting their skiing at the existing warming cabin/trailhead. Angela and Eric plan to donate a significant portion of land, buildings and equipment to the Foundation. Eric and Angela will actively be training the team and continue supporting the Foundations operations.
Our Board Members
We are a small team of talented professionals with a wide range of skills and experience. We love what we do, and we do it with passion. We look forward to working with you.
President & CEO — Eric Anderson
Over the last 25+ years, Eric has established national stature as the founder, operator and master groomer of ABR Ski Trails. Eric and Angela are the face and the heart of ABR to all who come here to enjoy the quality of the skiing and the personal warmth of the community they have built. After completing his mechanical engineering degree at Michigan Tech, Eric spent over 10 years in the automotive industry. After living in Europe 4 years, Eric returned to the 80 acres where he grew up and began the creation of ABR, first working in partnership with his dad, then with his wife Angela Santini. Both Eric and Angela’s families have been proud residents of the Gogebic Range for generations and their big-heartedness will create a legacy of active, fun lifestyles for generations to come.
Vice President — Will Andresen
Will was captain of NMU’s 1983 national championship ski team, and skied ABR when it first opened in 1995. Today, Will is living in his home on the ABR trails, skiing every day the trails are open. Both of Will and Marianne’s kids have returned to Ironwood to join the growing group of young professionals seeking active northern lifestyles, so 4 grandkids are also a daily part of their lives. After degrees in Biophysical Systems and Geography, Will spent 35 years in professional pursuit of his other passion, community and economic development, creating the systems and relationships necessary to effect change. He embraced the challenges of collaboration among diverse groups through field work and leadership roles, including the University of Wisconsin Community Development Institute, the Gogebic Range Health Foundation, Copper Peak Foundation, and the Iron Belle Trail.
Secretary — Scott Anderson
Scott and his brother Eric grew up spending countless days never leaving the 80-acre homestead that became the original ABR. His parents and grandparents were a daily part of his childhood life, as were Scott and Eric’s horse business and competition. Scott went to Michigan Tech, completed his Civil Engineering degree, and spent his career in environmental clean-up, striving to restore the earth. In retirement, Scott lives with his wife Marlene in Austin, Texas. They enjoy outdoor activities including golfing, walking/running, biking, and hiking, but their favorite hobbies are their 2 kids and 3 grandkids. As a result of a major project, Scott’s family lived 4 years in a small northern English village, a culture they found reminiscent of their hometown of Ironwood. Scott’s lifelong connection to family and a small northern town have brought him back to gladly serve on the board of the Foundation.
Treasurer— Missi King
For 20 years, Missi and her husband Leighton looked across the US for a place where they could enjoy the combination of both privacy and community while enjoying their huskies and skiing. When they visited ABR 3 years ago, they knew they had found that place. They built a home here, expecting to continue to spend most of the year in their home state of Kentucky, but the quality of life here prompted them to make Ironwood their full-time home. After completing her degree in applied mathematics, Missi worked in a wide range of corporate jobs, including statistician, materials management, research and development, and outside sales. She and Leighton are learning more about foraging as part of the joy of living on their 90 acres adjoining ABR.
Marketing Director — Emily Burchell Fitting
Emily grew up in Ironwood as her parents own and operate the Classic Motor Inn and each of them has served as Ironwood’s mayor. In addition, her husband Eric follows his dad as owner and operator of an Ironwood bike and ski shop, the Hobby Wheel. Emily received a degree in fine art from the University of Minnesota, before completing a Master’s program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Soon after, she immersed herself in efforts of the Denver Public Schools to provide access to the trades for at-risk kids. She then lived and worked in a resort marketing firm in Summit County, Colorado. After returning to the area, she expressed her love for outdoor sports by working for WinMan trails. She currently works as an independent graphic and web designer, and is especially proud of her work with Regis University as they develop the largest on-line learning system in the country. Eric Anderson and Emily’s dad grew up together and lived in Ann Arbor when Emily was an infant, so Eric has been like an uncle to her.
Director — Randy Ahnen
Randy grew up in the Gogebic Range as the grandchild of Croatian immigrants who worked the mines. After graduating from Michigan Tech with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Biology, Randy joined Honeywell, then Medtronic in Minneapolis, but always wanted to return home. For over 25 years now, he has led new project development for Ironwood Plastics. He serves as VP of Wolverine Nordic Ski Trails and volunteers with the Friends of the Iron Belle Trail and is humbled by the difference committed volunteers can make. As natives of the area, both Randy and his wife Mary raised their 4 daughters to share their love of active outdoor lives. Randy’s friendship with Eric Anderson goes back to Michigan Tech where they studied together and were both competitive power lifters. Randy welcomes the opportunity to help sustain the legacy of ABR as a gem of the broader community.
Director — Melissa Santini
Melissa grew up in Ironwood as one of the 7 close-knit Santini siblings who have always embraced an energetic, outdoor lifestyle. Melissa is familiar to ABR “regulars” as Angela’s sister who fills in for her in the store 2 days a week. While completing her BS and MS in Civil Engineering at Michigan Tech, Melissa met Jim Waters; she describes their 40 years as “Partners – in parenting, adventuring and love.” They both taught high school math and science in the Western Upper Peninsula, primarily Ontonagon. This choice enabled them to make a difference in their community while enjoying the active lifestyle they sought; ABR was a joyful part of their family’s Northwoods playground. “It takes a village to raise a family and Eric and Angela were a loving part of ours; our kids would say the same thing.” Melissa’s outdoor passions and social conscience are on full display in her community involvement, including the ski patrol at the Porcupine Mountains, the Victim Service Unit of Ontonagon County, the Crisis Line of Houghton, and Animal Protection of Ontonagon County. Melissa and Jim love the lifestyle and activities of the Gogebic Range: skiing, both cross-country and downhill; hiking; biking; kayaking. She believes collaborative community initiatives such as the Foundation are the key to sustaining a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle for everyone.
Dave and Eric Anderson started ABR Trails Inc. in 1995, supported by their spouses Helen and Angela, with a vision to let families enjoy Erwin Township. Eric stated, “My relatives, the Andersons, Highhills (Korkiamakis), Hovens, and Toijalas raised their families in Erwin Township, and Angela and I want to leave this Anderson legacy for all to enjoy.”
Anderson Bluffs & River Trails Foundation is a legacy to several Erwin Township Families.
Learn more about our projects that help us reach our vision to connect our community’s trails.