First hand Trail Reports
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Rainbow Resort is located in northwestern Minnesota on the northern boundary of the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge and just 1/2 hour from Itasca State Park. Their 20K of private skiing trails are groomed for both skating and classic technique, and range from easy to quite challenging.
Twin Cities area [ forecast/conditions ]
|Minnesota Metro Area |
Jan 31 - City of Lakes Loppet Trail (Minneapolis):
Conditions: Freshly tilled between Front 9 and Brownie Lake, as of 2 pm! Perfect till, nice surface, fast but good edge control -- not icy. Par 3, Back 9, need grooming (haven't been since cool down), are a little icy. Lakes had plowed snow, but not groomed yet. Good coverage most everywhere, channels between lakes were thin but mostly OK. Base everywhere seemed about 2", with hard base layer.
City of Lakes Loppet course recon report: Skied the freestyle course from start to finish, taking a couple of shortcuts along the way (hey, it was cold!) Breaking this report into sections...
Par 3/Back 9 (start to footbridge crossing by chalet): Not groomed recently, some of the Par 3 sections still marked as closed. It appears to have been groomed Tuesday near the cooldown, such that there is a wide, firm, flat trail. It was a little icy, but I didn't have any problems with it. As with any natural snow and a wooded course, there were a few sticks and leaves down. I believe I saw some classic tracks in places. Snowmaking loop, of course, was perfect.
Front 9/JD Rivers: The groomers were just coming back in from the southern portions as I headed onto this section. Everywhere they had groomed (three sleds with lightweight equipment), it was great. Freshly tilled, firm yet no problem getting an edge, and not icy. Really a nice job with the light grooming! Good snow coverage. Some old classic tracks, mainly on Front 9.
South Wirth (Eloise Butler and Bog sections): Also freshly groomed, and really about perfect. Enough give for good skating, but not sugary or too deep. I was surprised how good the coverage was, especially on uphills.
Lakes (Brownie, Cedar, Isles): They've been plowing and hauling in snow on the lakes. The Brownie tunnel was already well covered. Wirth Lake Park had good coverage, but a lot of walker traffic (hasn't been groomed for a while and is not part of the normal Wirth trails). Channels between the lakes are thin. Some ribbons of snow, but a few ice sheets that will need shoveling. Luckily, these are short segments. On Isles, the luminary favorites like stonehenge and the pyramid are set up, awaiting unveiling. And the sea monster is back, looking better than ever!
Uptown: Skied right up the exit off Calhoun. The new finish looks cool, excited to see it race day. You come up off the lake and look right down Lake Street! Snow sculptures blocks are all set up here too. Just needs to have the snow pushed onto Lake Street and Hennepin Ave.
Overall comments: I was impressed at the amount of good coverage throughout the land-based portions of the course! And I really didn't see anywhere that I skied that required additional shoveling. It was all very skiable, and I kept thinking, I'd love these conditions for race day. That said, there isn't any "extra" snow -- if you fall, its a pretty hard surface. Ski choice? I didn't pick up any scratches on my B skis, so I might be inclined to go with a stiff pair of race skis.
My congrats to all the shovelers and grooming crew, job well done managing the snow you've been dealt!
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