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Category Archives: Cross Country skiing

With record snowfall in February it has been difficult to get the Red Cedar Trail groomed for skiing. It has also been very cold out. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day with temperatures above zero so we drove down to the trail for some cross country skiing. It was the best day of skiing we have had this year. The trail had just been groomed and the skiing was excellent.

 

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It took until February before we had any nice snow. We headed out to the After Hours Ski Trails after the first good snowfall of the year. The groomers were still out working when we arrived and the tracks had not been set. We did a little trail breaking before returning to the groomed trails.

 

Our first ski trip of the season took us to Ironwood Michigan. The drive over to Ironwood was OK but just outside of Ironwood it started snowing. It was snowing so hard that we had trouble following the road to the ABR Ski Trails. The trails had been groomed the night before but by 11 am they had received 7 inches of new snow. It was beautiful on the ski trails but the wax was not working good and it was tough going.

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.

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