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.
Spent 10 days in August in California checking out the Redwood trees in Redwood National Park. I didn’t do a whole lot of training except for walking and taking pictures of the giant trees, a few hours on the beach chasing the big waves rolling in. After nearly four months though I am finally over my ear infection and the side effects of the antibiotics. I can finally train at nearly full effort now. So far the last four days I have done over 2 hours each day. Pictures to come soon of the giant Redwood trees…
Here we are in mid April and we’re still skiing. Well some are, I’m recovering from a PRP injection in my knee that I had last week. PRP stands for platelet rich plasma, which is essential part of your blood cells. They’re the good ones that help with healing. My last injection was nearly 15 months ago, so hopefully, this one will last equally as long and I’ll be back skiing soon or on the bike. Even with some ice flows on the Pincushion trails, the skiing had been amazing this spring. Pisten Bully grooming goes a long way to refresh the classic tracks and skate lanes. Here’s a photo from the ski shop looking down on the connector trail off of North Advanced.
It’s been an up and down winter with the snowfall and temperatures. Early snow led to high hopes of a early and bountiful snow-filled winter. Those hopes were dashed when the rains came and washed most of the snow away. It’s been like that the whole season. Cold temp’s followed by warmer weather with rain and fog mixed in, only to drop out of sight again into negative territory. In spite of all the wacky weather this season, there has been great stretches of days for skiing, both skating and classical. As February approaches it looks like more of the same temperature wise, but also some chance of snowfall adding up again as some clippers may come sailing on through.
Even though we are ending 2017 on a very cold note temperature wise; our ski trails at Pincushion are in excellent condition for cross country skiing. Much thanks to all of the help put in by volunteer trail clearing this fall and the endless work by the trail grooming team to groom the ski trails AND keep the grooming equipment operating.
I was fortunate to be able to help re-start our Nordic Ski Team for Cook County High with a co-op with Two Harbors Nordic Ski Team. This all came together at the last minute with help from the school, The North Superior Ski & Run Club board, and many parents and volunteer mentors. We got out on skis the first week of practice and continued to ski on snow even when the conditions were not the greatest over the preceding few weeks. We’ve had one race so far with a whole bunch more to come.
Now, I’m just hoping to see the temperatures warm up so all of these finely groomed trails can be enjoyed by all and the Nordic Ski Team can further develop their skiing skills through the remainder of the 2017-2018 ski season.