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Tag Archives: Swedetown Ski Trails

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

Every once in a while I see where people have drawn faces in the sand or snow. Sometimes I see them in other objects as well. Generally I take a photo of them as a break from my normal landscape photography.

My favorite is a face in the sand that I found at the beach in Porcupine Wilderness State Park. I had driven past a picnic table earlier in the day and there was a family with some younger kids having a picnic. When I returned later I happened to see that they had made a face in the sand.

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This past summer I found this face as part of a balloon at the Balloon Rally and Glow in Wausau, Wisconsin.

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Happy Face

Several weeks ago I was at Devil’s Punchbowl near Menomonie, Wisconsin and Noticed that someone had drawn faces in a light dusting of snow on the ice below the ice fall.

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Just about every time we Ski at Swedetown I notice that someone hads drawn a face in the snow that accumulates on the many stumps along the ski trails. This was from a couple of weeks ago.

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Duluth Fireworks from last summer.

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My wife and I were walking along the Duluth Lake Walk when we noticed these binoculars. Ice had filled in the bottom of the unit making it look like someone with a beard.

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It’s been a tough winter for cross country skiing. Things looked promising in December when we received 18 inches of snow. The trails were groomed and it looked like it was going to be a great season. Then the weather turned warm and it rained. If we can’t ski around here we normally go up to the U.P. of Michigan. Things were off to a slow start up there as well. They had some nice snow early in the season but was also followed by warm weather and rain. It wasn’t until mid January that the snow really started falling. We decided that this might be a good time to head to the U.P. for some skiing before it rained again or the winter was over.

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Our first stop was ABR Ski Trails in Ironwood Michigan. ABR has the most extensive trail system in the western U.P. While we were purchasing our tickets I notice all of the grooming equipment parked by the chalet. ABR is known for its grooming and sells and tests equipment as well as offering training for other groomers. They seem to have a little of everything.

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We had skied ABR a few weeks earlier but really noticed the difference in the amount of snow on the ground. I was a mostly overcast day but the snow was probably the best we have seen it since we skied the area after a three foot snowfall.

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The next morning was a beautiful day but looked like it was going to be warm. We headed over to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State park to check on conditions. We have skied the Porkies trails several times and usually found them challenging. We typically ski the outer loop and several times have found the trails to be very icy at the lower elevations. Another time there had been strong winds the night before and the trails were littered with debris. As we started out there was a beautiful deep blue ski and not a cloud to be seen.

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A couple of days before the Porkies had received some nice fresh snow and the ranger indicated the groomer was out finishing up grooming the trails. It was starting to get warm and it turned out it reached the mid 30’s by the end of the day.

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The warm weather made for some challenging skiing. Our wax was grabbing even at the start of the day. As we skied the trail we encountered an increasing amount of debris falling from the trees.  Large clumps of heavy wed snow were falling from the trees onto the trail making it difficult to stay in the ski tracks. In addition, large branches were also coming down with the snow. It was a challenge to avoid being hit by falling debris and avoid the large snow clumps on the trail.

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The next day we skied the Swedetown Ski Trails in Calumet, Michigan. Again it was a little warm and the glide was not a good as we would have liked. It was snowing out a bit so there was several inches of fresh snow on the trail. Swedetown always has some of the best snowfall in the U.P.

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Because the winds were supposed to pick up later in the day we decided to ski the trails that were the most open during the morning. After skiing for several hours we took a hot chocolate break at mid day.

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In the afternoon we skied the Back Country Trail. This is our favorite trail to ski. It is packed occasionally and our preference it to ski it with 4-5 inches of fresh snow on it to get more of a back country feel. On this particular day it only had a few inches of fresh snow and another skier had skied part of it. We also encountered an unusual amount of brush at the start of the trail and more debris on the trail than we had on earlier trips.

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While we had some challenging skiing on this trip it was finally great to get out and get some skiing in.