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.
To date about 12″ of snow has fallen on the Pincushion Trails. Unfortunately though Saturday Nov. 3rd it rained in the evening wiping out some spots and diminishing the snow cover on the trail. However, i’ve been able to kick in a track in the stadium area, and also around Upper Snowman. Lower Snowman has good coverage except for one bare spot on the west side of that loop. There’s ice in sots too but those areas and a few rocks are generally avoidable. A few more inches of snow will cover those up. 4-6 inches of good snow will allow grooming to take place so we’re almost there. Stay tuned!
It’s our first snow for the 2017/2018 ski season! About 3-4 inches fell from Thursday night through all day Friday. It’s possible to ski at Pincushion but there is a lot of water draining from the trails since the precip. started as mostly rain before changing to snow Thursday night. Plus there a a few downed trees from the 50-60 mph winds on Tuesday.
OK, this has nothing to do with skiing or ski trails, but I was able to attend the late 60’s/early 70’s folk rock music icon’s concert in Minneapolis Sunday night. It was plain cool to watch and hear his music since he’s approaching 75 and had to escorted on stage since we guessed he’s partially blind now. But since he was finishing up a 20+ concert cross North America tour he may have just been fatigued too. Sixto Rodriguez put out the albums Cold Fact & Coming from Reality in the early 70’s but the albums never sold (even though they are fantastic) and was dropped from his label. His music did gain a foot hold in Australia later on and was really big in South Africa, giving inspiration to the anti-apartheid Afrikans even though some of his music was banned for play on the radio.
Here we are in October, cooler days and nights, but more RAIN. If it were only snow we’d have 3 feet on the ground now! At least the sun was out today to dry things out before a little more falls this weekend.
Remembering the 2008 Ski Season Snow Storm
It started off just like any of the other big snowstorms we’ve had over the Pincushion Trails during the past few years. There have been lake effect storms where we get 40 inches or so of the fluffy snow, heavy wet snowstorms dumping a foot of snow, and ice storms where we’ve received rain, ice and then a foot of snow, knocking down branches and trees in the process. And 2007/08 had already received 20 inches in one storm in December to get the ski season off to a great start.
This storm started like many of them. Not that much snow was predicted. It’s a great feeling as the heavy snow (and sometime sleet) begins to sting your face and then eyes. I try to shield them from it as I fly down one of the hills on North Advanced or Upper/Lower Snowman Loops as I make my way down for some laps around the West Overlook Trail for a night training ski. Although tonight, this storm already felt just a little different.
I noticed as I made my way around the lighted trail that my classic tracks were getting covered up quite fast with new snow. I started doing longer laps too, taking in the Snowman Loops and turning on my headlamp. I could barely see with the “lamp” on as I completed the longer lap. I also was starting to feel cold after about an hour and a half of skiing. The temps were in the 20’s so I didn’t quite understand why I was feeling that way. I soon realized it was snowing hard now. My headlamp was practically useless, even on the bright low halogen setting. Skiing around the lighted trail made it easy to see as the trail lights were not illuminating the increasingly heavier falling snow.
A full 12 inches would later fall over what had been packed just 5-6 hours later I discovered the next day when I made my way down to Morris’ place for some borrowed gas so I could continue snowblowing the 24 inches of snow from our driveway. What a time to run out of gas for the snowblower! This was the first time I’ve had to stop skiing because of too much snow in the track. Usually it’s rain, ice, or extreme cold. Hopefully the winter of 2017/18 will get off to a great start with a BIG snowstorm!
Or I should say THUNDERSTORMS! We were drying out until early this morning when the deluge hit. Heavy rain lasting most of the morning with a nice thunder and lightning show to wake up to at 5:00 a.m.
After a brief warmup early this week; we’re cooling back down and heading into fall. Leaves are changing and the fall harvest of vegeatables is well underway. Snow is in the forecast out in Yellowstone and snow is falling in the northern Rockies too.
Back home to cool, rainy Minnesota. Getting ready for cyclocross season and painting in the shop and on the house. We’ll be ready for winterwhen it arrives, early we hope!