Girls visiting Marquette area from Colombia

Fifteen girls from Colombia strapped on skis for the first time in their lives on Friday at Marquette Mountain.

After a lesson in the morning, they tackled the bunny hill. “I’ve been having a really good time,” Sylvia Diaz of Santa Marta, Colombia said. “I discovered I love to ski and I love snow; I love everything about this!”

“They (the girls) are celebrating their 15th birthday,” tour guide Nathaalia Castiblanco said. “It’s a big celebration, like Sweet 16, and they went to Orlando, the Bahamas, Miami, and now Chicago and Marquette.”

The Colombian travel agency that arranged the trip touts Marquette in its advertising. Nathaalia lives in Phoenix, Arizona. However, her husband is a Marquette County native, so the Marquette area came to mind as a great place for the girls to experience winter weather, complete with skis, ice skates, and sleigh and dogsled rides.

“My name is Laura Diaz. I’m from Puerto Carreno, Colombia, and I’m happy to be here in Marquette,” one of the girls said.

“Everything in this country is amazing,” Sylvia said. “Everything is so different between Colombia and the United States. I really love (the) United States. It’s very, very beautiful.”

The girls will be in the Marquette County area until Tuesday morning.