A new ski season is upon us. We started in mid- October here in Grand Marais and was able to ski a little over 210 kilometers at Pincushion and the Golf course. After a warmup though it was back to dryland training – ski walking, ski bounding and running with ski poles. There is no shortage of training options for one to do. Devils Track Nordic Ski Shop is up and running with fewer core hours than normal. We have most of what we ordered now but still are waiting on some ski boots and ski poles. A big shipment of ski poles arrived from Madshus on Saturday and a few went right out the door to eager customers. It is snowing at the moment with a little more significant snow expected on Tuesday. May be able to ski on the trails again by then!
Upper Snowman after completing some human powered grooming!
We’re almost at the half way point in March. After a brief warmup and some melting we’re cooling down and back to adding some more snow to our snowpack again. It’s been spring like the past week and a half with fast icier trails and warmer temperatures. The snowpack fell about 15-18 inches but we still have at least 16-20 inches on the Pincushion trails so we are in fine shape. Today, 3/12, we’re getting some snow and the temp’s are around 32-34 degrees. So this is how the trails look this week.
It has been a snowy December around here. Although, over Christmas the temp’s rose a little and has crusted over our packed powder snow conditions. Our Cook County High School/ Middle School Nordic Ski team had an excellent ski meet in Cloquet last week. First time in a long time that they were able to hold a classic race at Pine Valley. Plentiful snow and the temp’s were not overly freezing too!
It’s mid-November now and it’s starting to look like winter. It’s been cold enough and we have had some snow but we’re still waiting for that first big snowfall. The trails at Pincushion are in excellent shape and are eagerly awaiting the snowmobiles and grooming machines too! Our local middle and high school ski team has been out dryland training on the trails, but they too are hoping for skiable snow soon too. Currently the coverage is about 1-2 inches with a few ice patches in some low areas. We’re not here yet but soon our trails will look like this!
It’s cooling down in the Arrowhead of Minnesota. Yeah! That means ski season is getting closer. We’ll be in the shop a lot more then too and updating the store content of the website with more current information and products. Some leaves are starting to turn too. Our training will get a boost too and we’ll be doing more ski specific activities like roller skiing and grass skiing. Until then… I’ll keep up my cycling and move into cyclocross season.
Every day this past week we got a few inches of snow. Then the wind came up too blowing it all around so that it made it look like our tails had not been groomed the next morning, even though they had as our groomers were kept busy daily. Here’s a report from grooming central:
The trails at Pincushion are in great shape, following a week of snow (6-7 new inches on Thursday) and blustery winds. All trails were groomed for classic and skate on Friday. Base is 24+ inches.
We really do have abase of 24+ inches too!
After a lot of snow falls, one dump of 24″, another one of 12″ and then another 8″ this past week, we finally have more than enough snow for the season. We also put on a high school race for the Section 7 teams in Minnesota at Pincushion. With the help of 30 volunteers from the community of Grand Marais, the race was success with nearly 300 kids competing in Varsity, Junior Varsity and Junior High cross country ski races.
The photo above is in the ski stadium where a few of the teams brought a long their tents, some with portable heaters too. Now we’re in a deep freeze so its not going to get above 0 Fahrenheit for nearly a week now. But I guess there’s no reason to complain since it has been a fairly mild winter so far. These -15’s just bring it all back to reality in northern Minnesota for any winter.
Well we’re half through December now and we have been skiing most of the month so far. It’s a little thin in some spots, and there are ice flows, however half to two thirds of our trails are open for skiing, both skating and classic. The best trails at Pincushion are currently West Overlook and Upper and Lower Snowman. Other skiable trails are North Advanced and Canyon Curves and some of the areas out on the Upper trails are almost mid-winter conditions. At my last check, only the upper trail on the Pincushion Mtn. loop had been groomed and you gotta be ware of an occasional rock on some of the small downhills.
Our High School Nordic Ski Team has spent a lot of time skiing West Overlook and Lower Snowman loops, so don’t be discouraged by the sight of the stadium area which has some grass poking through. Although that too can be skied around the edges; classic is best but I’ve seen some skate skiing on it too. After todays warmer temp’s it should cool down again and one 3-5″ snowfall will improve our ski trails quite a bit.
Here it is, October 5th 2018 and there is a dash of snow on the ground. Not enough to ski on but it may help the grass skiing when gliding! Even though an inch of snow fell, so did a bunch of rain so that makes it quite wet out. Also, a big wind storm came through Wednesday night, and that knocked down at least a hundred or so big aspen and balsam fir trees on the Pincushion trails. Lots of work to do to get our trails ready for the ski season now.
Beginning November 1st, we’ll have regular almost full time hours for the 2018/2019 ski season! We’ll start off at being open from 11 to 5 on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, Thursday’s and Friday’s and 10 to 4 on Saturday’s and Sunday’s (Sunday’s once we have snow). Once the Cook County school ski team starts, our hours will change from 10 to 3:30 on Monday’s thru Thursday’s; and then 10 to 4 Saturday and Sunday. Those hours will run thru mid-February then we’ll switch back to the early November hours all the way through mid-April.
Since I retired from the Forest Service this past April, I’ll now have more time to devote to the ski shop. I’m also planning on more waxing demonstrations and then hopefully have a few equipment demo times in March.