With most of Minnesota getting snow this week, cross-country skiers are wondering when we can sneak away from Christmas shopping and holiday obligations to get in some kilometers.
Conditions are spotty, though, but a few parks are reporting fair to good conditions. Perusing the Department of Natural Resources' reports, here's what we've come up with:
If it's going to keep snowing through March, Minnesotans will keep skiing and snowshoeing. William O'Brien State Park offers opportunities for both, including a new snowshoe stash at the south end of the park.
There is a buzz about the skiing at Lake Elmo Park Reserve this winter. Located a short drive east of St. Paul, the park has long been a popular destination, but with recent improvements it has become a true destination for Twin Cities skiers.
The 2,165-acre park features a new Nordic Center, with locker rooms, a large lounge with a fireplace, and waxing racks outside. From this hub, skiers can access twenty kilometers (twelve miles) of ski trails, all of them recently widened and leveled to accommodate classic tracks and a skate lane.
The largest urban cross-country ski festival in the lower 48 states will be held February 2nd and 3rd 2013 in Minneapolis. More than just great ski events – the Loppet is a winter festival for the entire family. With over 13 events - including ski races, bike races, snow sculptures, orienteering and lots of games played on snow- the Loppet Festival is a great way to get out, enjoy and celebrate winter in Minnesota.Location
Grand Marais, MN – January 25, 2013 – Hold onto your long johns! Recent weather systems dumped nearly a foot of snow on Cook County, Minnesota, refreshing its hundreds of miles of ski, snowshoe and snowmobile trails and creating picture-perfect conditions for the annual Winter Tracks Festival.Location
Late in February our group put our cross country skis on at the bridge over the Manitou River. We had driven up Lake County Rd 7, beyond George H Crosby Manitou State Park. At first the river was pancake flat, meandering thru willow thickets.Location
Despite the recent rain, the ski trails have held up quite well. With the recent new snowfall from yesterday, both Bearskin and Golden Eagle have been able to get out on the trails with snowmobiles and pack it in.Location
For the cross country skier, Duluth offers some of the best trails in the state. Five city trails provide 65K for every level such as Chester Bowl which is for advanced level skating-style cross-country skiing. Downhill skiing and ski jumping are also available at Chester Bowl.Location
About twelve years ago, Kristine Zellmer’s rescued Norwegian elkhound always ran away off leash. At her sister’s advice, Zellmer reluctantly hitched the dog to herself while skiing. Soon, they were dashing across a snowy lake for “the time of our lives.”Zellmer recounted, “[I] was so excited because I thought I’d invented a new sport.”Location
Cook County, the tip of northeastern Minnesota’s “arrowhead,” offers groomed trails in the wilderness. When it comes to cross-country skiing, two critical factors make for a memorable experience. Spectacular surroundings don’t make up for sloppy trails. Yet good grooming doesn’t compensate for dull scenery, either.Location