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Category Archives: Cross Country skiing

Once again we decided to head down to the Red Cedar Trail for some Cross Country Skiing. It was supposed to start warming up but on this morning it was only about 9 degrees. It was cold enough that there was some frost on the trees just south of Irvington. The weather report for the rest of the week was for 30 and 40 degree temperatures which are too warm for skiing. Look like this was our last chance to ski for a while.

The winter cattails were very striking against the snow.

About the 5 mile mark on the trail the snow from the previous day was still hanging on the trees.

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After blowing snow we decided to drive down to the Red Cedar State Trail and check on conditions. As it turned out the trail had not been groomed after a foot of heavy wet snow. Someone had broken trail for about 100 yards but after that we ended up being the only people on the trail. It was really beautiful with the trees covered in wet snow. We decided to ski down to the ice wall located about a mile and a half up the trail.

 

When we reached the ice wall we started looking to see if any eagles were around. My wife spotted two of them on their favorite perch above the ice wall. While we were photographing the ice wall they flew across the river to their nest. We watched as they seemed to be cleaning the snow out of the nest.

 

There had been some nice snow along the South Shore of Lake Superior so we decided to head up to Duluth. On the way we stopped at the After Hours Ski Trails in Brule, Wisconsin. It was some of the best conditions that we had seen at After Hours. The trees were covered with heavy snow. More photos from the After Hours Ski Trails can be found on my website.

When we arrived the groomer was still working. Some of the trails had not yet been tracked but the groomer passed us a had laid a nice clean track just before we reached some nice hills.

The snow of the bushes looked like cotton balls.

Last year was a disaster in terms of cross country skiing. I think we made out to the ski trails three times all winter. This year we happened to be in Duluth when it snowed for three days. We had planned to drive over to Ironwood and ski at ABR but as we drove past the After Hours Ski Trails we decided to stop and check on conditions. The trails had been packed but no track had been set. We decided that was good enough so we spent about three hours skiing. We came back the next day on our way home and skied for another three hours. Overnight the tracks had been set so it was even better. We had a chance to use the new ski hut for the first time.

A beautiful day for skiing along the Red Cedar State Trail. We haven’t seen the sun all that much this winter but this was one of those days.

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This was the first time in two years we have had enough snow to ski on the Red Cedar Trail. It was such a beautiful day that we skied nine mile which turned out to be a bit much for our first time out.

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Red Cedar Trail Bridge

Red Cedar Trail Bridge

Our second stop on our skiing road trip was Calumet, Michigan were we skied the Swedetown Ski Trails. We love Swedetown because of the fantastic snow they receive. As soon as we arrived we headed out onto the Backcountry Trail. This is a trail that winds through the trees. It is packed occasionally but usually not tracked.

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The snow on the trees was something special. It looked like they had wet snow driven into the trees by strong winds creating a winter wonderland of a landscape.

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Along the trail we reached one of my favorite photography locations. This is a stand of pine trees framed in the snow.

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As it turned out we really lucked out because the trails had just been packed for the first time. Warm weather had made it impossible to pack the snow in the swampy areas until earlier in the week.

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Skiing Road Trip

Both by wife and I had been sick. Mine started at Thanksgiving and lasted into the new year. Once we were both better we needed to get out of the house so we scheduled a Ski trip to the U.P. We don’t have snow around our home and Minnesota doesn’t have much snow on the North Shore so the U.P. was the only alternative.

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This was our fourth ski trip to ABR in Ironwood. They have plenty of snow. They had over ten feet of snow by Thanksgiving. We were a little late getting started didn’t arrive until early afternoon. We still had time to get in three hours of skiing before sunset. It was a beautiful day with clear blue skies, something we don’t often see in the U.P..

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On our earlier trips some of the trails were closed because of deer hunting so we made it our goal to try out the closed trails. The trails were in tough shape in a few places. My wife took her first fall of the season and I took my first fall in three years.

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We have been up to the Ironwood area skiing three times already this year. This is by far the earliest we have skied in a number of years. The ABR Ski Trails are already a winter wonderland with over seven feet of snow so far this season.

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When TV news reports show over four feet of snow on the ground in Northern Wisconsin it can only mean one thing. Ski Trip!!! This is the earliest we have been skiing since the Halloween Blizzard of 1991 that dumped over three feet of snow on the farm.ABR-Ski-Trails-14-11-_0645

As things worked out we had tickets for the Dang-its performance of Sweet Dreams & Honky Tonks Revue at the Park Center in Hayward, Wisconsin on Saturday Night. A large crowd was treated to the songs of Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash and a brief history of each.ABR-Ski-Trails-14-11-_0639

The next morning we were up early for the drive to ABR in Ironwood, Michigan. ABR is the premier cross country ski area in the Midwest. They had been struggling to get the trails groomed because the ground was not frozen and they had been getting over a foot of snow every day. They did have open 40 km of trails. Some were still closed because of the ground and it was deer hunting season in Michigan.ABR-Ski-Trails-14-11-_0651

There were quite a few folks out getting their ski legs on their first ski of the season. It was mainly overcast with the sun breaking through late in the morning. At twenty degrees it was just right for skiing. A rare selfie.ABR-Ski-Trails-14-11-_0629