Trail Reports

Minnesota Metro Area

  • Dec 15 - Lily Lake (Stillwater):

    Conditions: 1/2 inch of snow over ice some branches and such that people had thrwn out to chech if the ice was frozen yet. I removed most of it since this could be all I have for awhile.
    Went out at 4:30 this afternoon just as some crappie fishermen were setting up for the evening bite. Fortunately, they were on the 80% of the lake that is snowless. I stuck to the sow on the south shoe. Practiced a little v2 and some double-poling, I had on whatever wax I put on about a year ago when I last used these beat up skis. I skied for 40 minuts. It was actually kind of nice.

    (Mark Trumper)
  • Dec 9 - Silver Lake (New Brighton):

    You know you're getting desparate when you walk over 100 feet of sandy beach in ski boots to get in a little ski time. Like a lot of other skiers these days, I decided it was time to check out one of the metro area lakes. Silver Lake looked as good as any, and the lake map (thanks DNR!) implied it was fairly shallow most of the way around. The lake had a really nice coating of ice on it -- perfect for ice skating; black, clear, smooth ice. Looked to be only 3-4" thick. Unfortunately, there was less than an inch of snow cover. And most of the snow was still fairly loose on the surface. On the south end of the lake I found almost an inch of coverage and it was a little more solid -- pretty nice skiing. But there are a number of personal ice rinks on that end, so the skiing was fairly limited.
    Call me paranoid, but the 3-4" ice thickness on this lake didn't give me a good feeling. Ice depths can vary greatly, and are influence by a number of factors, including circulating water. Going out on ice in the metro area at this time of the year can be hazardous and generally not recommended! I'd say stick to the downhill areas for now, or at least until the ice gets a little thicker and we get another dusting.

    (Bruce Adelsman)
  • Dec 9 - Medicine Lake (Plymouth):

    Conditions: 1" plus crusty snow on top of 4 plus inches of lake ice. Good grip on crusty snow. Some places have 2-3 inches of blown snow. The wind blows the snow to the lakes perimeter so you have snow when everywhere else is brown. Safe skiing all the way around. Ice is bumpy in a few spots so use your rock skiis.
    I skied 15km perimeter loop on Sat. Great! you can start at French Park or city parks on lake. Look for the 2 eagles, beaver lodges.

    (Tom Meyer)
  • Dec 8 - Hyland Hills downhill area (Bloomington):

    The ski area today was alot less crowded than yesterday. There was alot more breathing room, and not as many near collisions. Snow was good.
    (Joe Gerard)
  • Dec 7 - Hyland Hills downhill area (Bloomington):

    Whoa -- now that's a lot of skiers! I got there right about 7 am to an extremely packed parking lot. There must have been 4-5 buses and more than half the lot full. I seriously thought maybe there was a snowboard sale or something going on. Nope. All nordic, big time. It was easily over 100 skiers, probably even over 150, possibly approaching 200? [Actually, counting the number of skiers in just one photo, I'm guessing I was way underestimating the numbers -- it was easily over 200!] Teams including Gustavus, St. Olaf, Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, Park Center, Edina, Wayzata, and I'm sure others I missed. Plus plenty of master skiers, etc.
    Surprisingly, even will that large a number, the skiing was pretty decent. The ski lanes formed pretty quickly. At times you were skiing with almost wall-to-wall skiers -- the only experience I could relate it to was being at the State Fair (same shuffling around, no one moving real fast but lots of people!).
    Snow conditions were good. No icy spots and most of it seemed to have been groomed that morning. Strangely, there was one thin spot along the flats on the north side. It almost looked like the groomer accidently went a little too deep and hit grass.

    (Bruce Adelsman)
  • Dec 6 - Hyland Hills downhill area (Bloomington):

    Conditions: Nice man-made snow--a little soft on the far right end of the base area, but certainly skiable with good skis. Maybe 1k roundtrip, with a couple of nice climbs so it's just fine for early-season.
    Be aware they're only open for us until 9am on Fridays, not 10.
    A good number of skiers out there this morning--it's a great way to start the day!

    (John Franklin)

Minnesota Northeast

  • Dec 15 - Little Alden Lake (Duluth):

    Conditions: Crusty snow on lake ice. The ice is 8" - 10" thick (even after all the warm temps) and there is a 1/2" - 1" crust of snow on top of that.
    It was great to get out and ski. The whole family kicked around for a while, then everyone else went in and I skied around the lake and a bit onto the Little Cloquet River. Classic was a little tougher than skating, but both were doable. Sharp pole-tips help a lot! With the lack of snow on the ground, the lakes are the best (only) trails out there. Have fun!

    (Bryan French)
  • Dec 15 - Mt. Itasca/Eagle Ridge Golf Course (Coleraine):

    Warm conditions on Sat followed by cold on Sunday meant slick, but skiable trails. Too slick for less experienced skiers who would have to snowplow and scrape off what little snow there was. So the hilly golf course just across the highway was perfect for adventure skiing. Some grass skiing to get from one good patch to another, but still nice to be out sliding on snow.
    Warm sunny days took some snow but there is still enough snow out there to get in early season work outs. Biathlon competition was held successfully at Mt Itasca.

    (Catherine McLynn)
  • Dec 15 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik):

    Skiing was remarkably good both days. I used an older pair of skis but some were using good skis. I skied almost all trails and had great fun. The snow was a little crusty on south facing slopes Sunday. One bad spot on the silver trail and leaves pine cones and needles were abundent on parts of the trail. Well worth the trip!
    (Mark Wilhelmson)
  • Dec 15 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik):

    Skied the Summit and the Silver Trail this morning. Mid 20s, cloudy and light breeze made for some fast conditions. Used Swix CH6 as it was somewhat crusty snow. Surprisingly, Saturdays sunny warm day didn't take much of the snow off the trails. Amazing. There were some classic tracks set on the Northern Lights loop. None elsewhere. Only a couple big rocks showing on the Silver trail. And some dirt in a couple spots on the Summit. Still a lot of fun for skaters though!
    (Ron Kutsi)
  • Dec 14 - Central Gunflint Trail System (Grand Marais):

    All trails packed about a week ago. The campground and summer home trails have been used by many. Only an 1 to 2 inch base rock skis recommended. Several people have been skating on the lake and having fun. Today is warm and sunny, snow in the forecast. We hope so!
    (Sue Mueller-O'Quinn, Bearskin Lodge)
  • Dec 14 - Ely area (Ely):

    On Saturday, the Marshall School of Duluth nordic ski team attended the Ely Classic at Hidden Valley. Experienced members of the team raced on the trails. New members of the team had a long workout and technique session on Johnson Lake just south of Ely. The conditions on Johnson Lake were excellent. Hard crusty snow that allowed you to ski anywhere with ease. Perfect conditions for learning the V2 and Openfield skate. The conditions were also quite fine at Hidden Valley. Roger and crew have worked some magic with about 4 inches of snow. The classic track was 99% covered only a few dirt spots. The skate lane was good with about 3-4 bare spots per kilometer that were very easy to ski around. A great day was had by all. [See photos and results in the High School section -- Ed.]
    (Dave Johnson)
  • Dec 13 - Central Gunflint Trail System (Grand Marais):

    Conditions: Packed, smooth, fast snow on campground loop and Summerhome Road. Great lake skiing into the BWCA.
    Bring your skis if you find yourself passing through on the Gunflint. The snow on the trail system is sparse, but the road and lake skiing are great. The campground in particular should hold up through protracted warm weather. I skied 2 hours each on both Wednesday and Friday, and had a blast.

    (Steve Casey)
  • Dec 13 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik):

    Skied the Summit and Bronze today. Temps in mid to high 30s. humid cloudy. Base was soft and is holding up so far. Some sticks, leaves, needles and a couple rocks. Skied with Butch Niska and we both recommend using rock skis if you have them. Bring your better ones with if you dare. Supposed to be in mid to upper 30s again on Saturday. So it will be melting some.
    (Ron Kutsi)
  • Dec 12 - Pincushion Mountain Trail (Grand Marais):

    Snow Depth in woods: low 2" - high 4", Compacted trail Base: low 1/2" - high 2", Km Skiable: About 7 km skating only, Conditions rated: poor (50%) to fair (50%). Snow Surface: variable spring like conditions including frozen granular. Occasional thin/bare spots and debris.
    The amazing thing is we have not had new snow in 3 weeks!! The snow base, what's there, is holding ok. Some of the thin spots are showing dirt more. Overall the melting is not bad unless we get rain or days of 40 degrees. Temps have held at mid 30's to keep things fairly frozen so far. I skated the main trails holding snow (5-7k) and things are holding up ok but fast as it hardens at dusk! The trail entrance looks blown out but the snow deepens at 200 meters into the woods. Skate the frozen grass works. Not for beginners till more snow and rock ski still a must. Snow flurries in the forecast. It's Northeastern Minnesota's turn to get a snowstorm!!

    (Scott Beattie)
  • Dec 12 - Mount Itasca (Coleraine):

    Mt Itasca Biathlon Association will be hosting the first biathlon races of the season at Mt. Itasca in Coleraine. The brand new snow making system has been operating for 4 days now, and the races will be run on a 1.7km man made loop. The trails were widened and extended this fall. (More details on the races at the Minnesota Biathlon web site.)
    Photos from John Connelly and Vladimir Cervenka.

    (Piotr Bednarski)
  • Dec 11 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik):

    Conditions: Gold was great.
    Definately worth my drive from Duluth. Gold loop was plenty for my season debut - I don't own rock skis and was hesitant - but had no trouble with coverage. My only mistake was trying to access Gold from the left side of timing shack - stay right (silver) side while approaching. They let me ski free so long as I signed a waiver - they're only open on weekends now.

    (Tom Maloney)
  • Dec 10 - Hidden Valley Ski Trails (Ely):

    I am attaching two pictures - one of an awesome lake ski we did last Saturday (Dec. 7) on Burntside Lake in Ely with some of the ski team kids and club members - and the other is of our current trail conditions at Hidden Valley ski area (still holding - but gosh, we need some cooler weather too!). Think Snow!
    (Heather Hohenstein)
  • Dec 10 - Hidden Valley Ski Trails (Ely):

    Conditions: The trails are holding up well, the skating is a little rocky in some parts, but there is a excellent classic track. We've been shoveling snow onto the track so there are hardly any rocks.
    Best classic skiing so far this week! The track is icy and fast.

    (Paula Anderson)
  • Dec 10 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik):

    The Gold was in very ski able condition. Felt like spring skiing with the temps in the low 30s in the afternoon. Just a couple spots on the south Hail Mary Corners where some grass is popping up. Did most of the Summit trail after that and it was in good shape as well. Amazing. If we get the warm weather they say we will then it will be definately rock ski terrain. Three skiers from Mora were out enjoying the day as well. Thanks to Phyllis for suggesting the Gold trail today. IT was worth it! Great to have a season's pass.
    (Ron Kutsi)
  • Dec 9 - Snowflake Nordic Ski Center (Duluth):

    The Duluth Central and Marshall nordic ski teams have been skiing on the 400 meter Snowflake oval for the past few days. The snow is a bit thin in spots and of course it is short, but it is skiing. I hope the snow survives the expected warm-up today and tomorrow. The ice is in excellent shape as the pictures show.
    (Dave Johnson)
  • Dec 8 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik):

    Did the Northern Lights loop and half of the Summit Trail with Donna from North Star ski club. She was very good company..Trails still had decent coverage. Only saw one rock. Good for skating. Got a late start so we couldn't explore any other trails. Only tracks for classic are in the stadium and Northern Lights. Used rock skis. But you possibly could get out on good ones. There was about a half inch of new powder Saturday night. Used F4 liquid wax and got decent glide out of it. Didn't want to put in lots of time waxing the rock skis. Single digits above zero , clear and calm made for a brisk ski! Feels good to be back out!!
    (Ron Kutsi)
  • Dec 8 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik):

    Conditions: Trail conditions are still fair to good. Picked up a trace of snow over the weekend. Summit trail and Gold loop are in good shape for skating. There seened to be about a 6 inch base. Stadium (man made snow) and most of the Northern Lights lighted loop are great for classic.
    Went there for MYSL coaches training. Marty Tabor and Lou Chounard gave lessons. It was a great program, and the skiing was terrific.

    (Bob Larson)
  • Dec 8 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik):

    Conditions: Pretty darned good for as little new snow as they have received. Skied Silver, Summit, parts of Gold and Cedar, etc. Most of the trails are still a little bumpy, but I skied good skis and found no rocks. Lots of leaves and pine cones on the trail, but John and his crew have done a great job with what they have. No bare spots, no icy spots. No classic tracks on most of the trails. Temperature Saturday in the teens, about 0 on Sunday.
    The MYSL Leader Training session at Giants Ridge was a success. The theme this year was 'Survivor Giants Ridge', complete with 'buffs', challenges, and odd foods to eat (canned oysters). Lou Choinard and Marty Tabor again served as our ace on-snow instruction team, with Alex Rykken and Rodie Lageson(sp?) proving their expertise as junior coaches teaching the adults how to play games on skis. Thanks to all that made this weekend a success (especially Anne Rykken and Barclay Kruse).

    (Marsh Jones)
  • Dec 7 - Rice Lake (Duluth):

    There is good skiing in Duluth!! Kelly Rogers, Rachel and I had a great skate ski around the perimeter of Rice Lake and there were two other ski tracks ahead of us. The snow cover was just enough to provide good edging for the skis, best right along the margin of the lake. The east side of the lake was a bit windblown with more patchy snow, but still very skiable. It is likely about 15 km to circumnavigate the lake, so worth the short drive out hwy 4. Another good lake to try is Fish Lake.
    (Abbigail May)
  • Dec 7 - Spirit Mountain downhill area (Duluth):

    Conditions: Very good snow for man made. Freshly groomed. No ice but get there early.
    Skiied this AM on the bottom of the downhill at Spirit (access from the parking lot off Grand Ave). Conditions were great till the out of control snow boarders arrived about 10am. The run to the right of the lift works well for a 30-40min work out. Until today, I skiied before the lifts opened to avoid complications with the down hillers.

    (Les Martin)
  • Dec 7 - Snowflake Nordic Ski Center (Duluth):

    We now have skate skiing available on the 400 meter ice skating oval at Snowflake Nordic Ski center. We have shoveled snow onto the outer half of the skating oval. The loop of course is flat and the snow a bit thin in places, but it is safe and it might be one of the few places that you can ski and your kids or friends could ice skate right beside you! It is ok to use good skis.
    The trails are also in excellent shape for trail running or walking. We will keep you informed as soon as more snow falls and we are able to expand our skiing.

    (Dave Johnson)
  • Dec 7 - Pincushion Mountain Trail (Grand Marais):

    Conditions: Snow Depth in woods: low 3" - high 5", Compacted trail Base: low 1/2" - high 3", Snow Surface: frozen granular, New Snow last 48 hrs: 0", New Snow last 7 days: trace", Total Groomed Trails Open: 9 km of 25 km (36 %), Groomed with classic tracks: 0, Groomed for skating: 9 km, Last grooming day: 12/05, Snowshoe trail: closed, Total snowfall this season: 11".
    Comments: This report is as honest as I can get. The trail is skiable and even a few nice sections. Better than not skiing at all for some of us. A couple of the upper sections are actually in fair shape (Canyon Curves and upper North Advanced). But overall, marginal/minimal conditions on thin base. Rock skis needed. The classic tracks have been removed as they were icy and full debris anyways. So now skating only. I will continue to scratch/renovate skating lanes for skating on West Overlook, North Advanced, Canyon Curves, Upper New Beginner and the Pincushion loop climb uphill to edge of canyon. Other trails are posted as closed as they need more snow on steep downhills. 36% of trails currently skiable for experienced skiers. Not recommended for beginner skiers since trail is fast with some debris, bare spots, dirt (snirt), sticks, roots and occassional rock. Things will improve quickly with a little new snow.

    (Scott Beattie)
  • Dec 6 - Bagley Park - Rock Pond (Duluth):

    On the pond, there was about 1.5" where the snow was untouched, and generally .5" where people have skied.
    This pond is behind UMD, and some people did a good job skiing it in yesterday. It is very small loop of about 100M, but it was some of the best skiing that I have done this winter.

    (Clayton Keim)
  • Dec 5 - Duluth area (Duluth):

    Conditions: Serious lack of snow in Duluth.
    So what is a die-hard x-c person to do? Spirit Mtn allows some nordic at base and top in off-hours, I don't know if they do days passes but a season pass gets you on the snow now, and on their x-c trails for the whole year when the real stuff arrives. Several HS teams out there. On Wednesday 12/4 I tried the little section of the 5k trail at Snowflake that I had skied 10 days ago. Uffda, there are still a couple of sections of a few hundred meters when you can give it a go with rock skis, but bring quick feet and tear-away pants. I tried the pond at Hartley park this noon (12/5). 1/2 cm of snow on the ice, but used my rock skate skis for an hour--the most fun I've had since making the trip to ABR last Saturday. Maybe if we got enough skiers out there on that 1/2 cm of snow, the snow gods would understand we appreciate everything they give!

    (Tim Holst)
  • Dec 5 - Pincushion Mountain Trail (Grand Marais):

    No new snow in about 2 weeks. Die hards are still able to get out each day and ski. All trails have now been cleared from last weekends big wind storm (45 mph winds). Still lots of little debris mixed into old snow. All trails have been graded wide with Tidd Tech renovator to level things out and grap snow on the edges. Packed trail depth of 1/2"-3". Occassional dirt, grass patches, bare spots. Rock skis a must till more snow. 12 k + Skating lanes open. Margional skating on lower trails near main entrance and margional to fair skating on upper trails on fast frozen granular surface with depth of 1/2"-3".
    (Scott Beattie)

Minnesota Northwest

  • Dec 13 - Rainbow Resort Trails (Waubun):

    Sending in some pictures of Lost Bobcat and Ridge Run. As you can see the trails still have a snow cover and most of our system looks the same. We have been fortunate this week by having temps in the mid thirties instead of the mid forties as they have predicted this past week.If you can call this crazy weather fortunate. We are hoping for that snow they are predicting this coming week because with a couple of inches of that white gold we will be able to have our 10k and 5k race on Dec.21.
    We completed our wax room last night. We have an iron and small selection of waxes along with two ski holders to wax.The room is heated,wired and well lit. Also we have our wax-o-meter outside the room.
    Also sent a picture of our large fish house. As you can see the lake also has a snow cover and we still are maintaining 10" of clear ice.

    (Doug Schumann, Rainbow Resort)
  • Dec 9 - Maplelag Resort (Callaway):

    Still skiing on the lake here at Maplelag. This past weekend we were hosts to the Mike Myers/Kim Mize wedding and a healthy number of guest skied loops around the lake. Most people reported good conditions and some happy just to be on snow the first time this year. I checked out the snow late this afternoon and it was still powdery. We will be making a decision on the Nikolai ski clinic on Wednesday night. If our snow holds out on the lake after this warm spell, I will take out the new Ginzu groomer on the lake and smooth the loop and try setting a track on the west side. The rest of the trails have 1-2" of snow cover. Maybe they will crust over and provide a base for the next snowfall this weekend?
    (Jay Richards, Maplelag Resort)

Minnesota Central

  • Dec 15 - Brainerd area (Brainerd):

    Conditions: Excellent crust skiing on Crosslake, part of the Whitefish chain over the weekend. There was a one inch snow cover in all the bays and inlets on the south end of Crosslake. A few oak leaves on the snow but not enough to slow you down. The ice had frozen smooth, with no ice ridges or bumps to hinder you. It was like the entire surface had been groomed. The big part of lake was wind blown and not as good unless you stayed real close to the shore.
    It was only lake skiing but at this stage of the winter any skiing is welcome. It wasn't crowded, butI wish there had been a few more hills.

    (Monte Miller)
  • Dec 12 - Brainerd area (Brainerd):

    Still skiing the lakes here as in other area's of the state. The ground snow has melted off in the recent warm weather, but the snow cover on the lakes is still good to excellent. We also have discovered a new type of skiing, known as 'crack skiing'. We have mainly been doing this on Gull lake where the ice cracks as its expanding and the water flows to each side of the crack three or so feet. This freezes completely smooth and you double pole along this 'highway' reaching speed of 25MPH and faster. Could be a new form of adventure skiing. When you want to slow down you just ease over into the snow cover. This will have to do till the snow comes next week.
    (John Taylor)
  • Dec 6 - Brainerd area (Brainerd):

    Yesterday we skied on Gull and Round and North Long Lakes north of Brainerd. I The snow (1/4") we had on the 4th is set up and the skiing was remarkably good. The only bad thing about lake skiing is those steep hills :) If your coming to area bring the skis and get out on the area lakes for some conditioning.
    Photo from December 8th.

    (John Taylor)

Minnesota Southern

  • Dec 10 - Ramsey Mill Pond (Austin):

    I went out this mourning and the skiing was great. That was then, now you’d have to use water skis. I guess its back to running and roller skiing.
    (Stephen Williams)
  • Dec 7 - Ramsey Mill Pond (Austin):

    Conditions: There is a thin layer of frost and snow, which is unbelievably good for skiing. Conditions have held up nicely since yesterday, and should continue go hold up well into the next week if the weather forecast is correct.
    Any skiers in the area should definitely come and give it a try.

    (Stephen Williams)
  • Dec 6 - Winona area (Winona):

    Conditions: 1-inch powder on ridge. Looks like excellent ice skating this weekend on the lake or backwaters.
    Really need snow, but we'll take nice ice.

    (Mike Werle)
  • Dec 6 - Winona area (Winona):

    Conditions: 1-inch powder on ridge. Looks like excellent ice skating this weekend on the lake or backwaters.
    Really need snow, but we'll take nice ice.

    (Mike Werle)
  • Dec 6 - Ramsey Mill Pond (Austin):

    I was able to ski in a 10km loop today on the Cedar River starting at the golf course on the southwest end of the Ramsey Mill Pond. The skiing was very good.
    (Stephen Williams)

Wisconsin Northwest

  • Dec 15 - Troll Hollow (Dresser):

    Conditions: Perfect grooming throughout Troll Hollow and it seemed to be done before we got started at 7 AM. This included a classic track to die for!
    The classic track at Troll Hollow was nothing short of wonderful at 7:00 AM on Sunday. Yes, for awhile we even had a whole train of classic skiers. By 9:00 AM our kick was gone, but the thrill lived on. The lack of kick by 9:00 AM was due to a combination of worn off wax, fatigue and and those forever warming temps. I'd like to thank all those Troll Groomers for getting going even before we left the cities! I didn't really expect to see a perfect classic track at 7:00 AM on Sunday morning, but there it was just waiting for us to get there!

    (Vern Winge)
  • Dec 15 - Telemark Resort Trails (Cable):

    Conditions: I was pleasantly surprised to find the new Ski Fever trail in very nice condition. Although I skated I plan to return this week to try the classic tracks as they looked fine too.
    I thought I would be bored skiing on a less than 2 k loop but actually found it ok as the trail is quite interesting, plenty of hills and turns. It was a nice change from the lakes we've been skiing on. The folks at Telemark say they will be making snow at every opportunity so it will only get better.

    (Irv Berlin)
  • Dec 15 - Telemark Resort Trails (Cable):

    Ski Conditions: Good to excellent. Rock skis are not necessary. Grooming: Skate lane and one classical track. Very good classic track all way around. Trails Open: XC Fever Trail 1.8 kilometer. Packed Snow Depth: 3 to 6 inches. 2 inches in a couple of spots. Man-made snow is holding up great. Trail Passes: Buy daily or annual trail passes at the Hytte (near west end of lodge) $9 daily. Forecast: Currently snowing lightly. No significant natural snow forecast.
    Tubing Hill: Significant snow has been made. Currently awaiting good snowmaking weather. Snowboarding Hill: Snowmaking has begun. Currently awaiting good snowmaking weather. Snowshoe Trails: Awaiting snow.
    Ski Trail Hours: 9 am to 4 pm daily. Ski & Snowshoe Trail Passes, Tubing & Snowboarding Passes, XC Ski, Ice Skate & Snowboard Available at the Hytte.
    Photos from Dec 14th.

    (Phil Van Valkenberg)
  • Dec 14 - Troll Hollow (Dresser):

    Rollie Westman wanted to get the word out: Troll Hollow will be hosting high school races from 3:30 - 7:00 pm Monday and 3:30-5:30 pm Tues-Thurs this week (Dec 16-19). With the large number of skiers involved, it's best to avoid heading out there during those hours. In fact, given the current snowless conditions around the metro area, it is probably safe to assume Troll Hollow will be pretty busy most late weekday afternoons.
    (Bruce Adelsman)
  • Dec 14 - Telemark Resort Trails (Cable):

    After skiing there Dec 7, we returned to the XC Fever Trail at Telemark again on Saturday Dec 14 and found vast improvement. Signs helped organize the flow of skiers and extended the distance of the loop considerably to approx 2-2.5ks. The woods make this a scenic trail, and the varied terrain makes gives it some difficulty. Unlike Troll Hollow, the Fever uphills are short but steep, and the downhills have more curves and turns. The snow surface and tracks were excellent. I recommend it.
    (Mike Clay)
  • Dec 10 - Troll Hollow (Dresser):

    Conditions: Very firm, fast.
    Got out there at 6:00 PM and found a bunch of High school skiers. By 6:45 there were 15 people at the most on the track. Snow was fast and firm. A very beautiful night.

    (Bill Stuber)
  • Dec 10 - Troll Hollow (Dresser):

    In spite of the weather report forecasting warm temps for the next few days, I found my spirits lifting as I pulled into the Trollhaugen lot and saw nordic skiers scooting around the precious snow-covered loop. It's hard to wait for the real stuff to give us access to our wealth of trails, but it still felt good to get in a few laps on man-made snow. The snow has held up quite well in spite of the high temps today, although it is certainly receding from the area immediately in front of the lodge. You have to go through a bit-o-mud to get to the snow pack, but nothing too serious yet. The main Troll Hollow loop and gradual climb section were groomed well and had really nice tracks set. The bumps had been smoothed out of the long downhill and it was easy to maneuver around oncoming traffic (both nordic and alpine). Probably the only tricky spot remains the turn back up to the Troll Hollow loop. It wasn't too icy today, but that section definitely gets snowplowed out, and you need to keep your eyes open for oncoming skiers. There were a number of high school teams hitting the snow as I was leaving, many enjoying their first chance to be on skis this season!
    (Margaret Adelsman)
  • Dec 10 - Telemark Resort Trails (Cable):

    Ski Conditions: Very Good to Excellent, Grooming: Skating Lane & Single Classical Track, Trails Open: XC Fever Trail 1 Kilometer (man-made snow), Packed Snow Depth: 3 to 6 inches
    Forecast: No significant natural snow. Too warm to make snow today. Hauling and pushing snow will allow additional sections of the XC Fever Trail to open by the weekend.

    (Phil Van Valkenberg)
  • Dec 9 - Montreal Trails (Montreal):

    Just got off the Montreal Trails, and thought I'd send in a conditions update. The trails are in fair condition... They were groomed for the first time of the season on Saturday the 7th. The big Redlight Rally for the snowmobilers was also this past weekend, so a couple tracks got chewed up. They're still skiable, though. Be careful... There's the odd water pocket on the lower trails. There's also a sanitation cut on one of the private properties. They're cleaning out the aspen that keep falling down on the trails. A couple of the interior trails might be impassable for a few weeks. I just did the outer loop in 50 minutes without any troubles. The weather report is for the high 30s and low 40s for a couple days this week. Plan for icier trails for the weekend of the 13th. After that, the trails will get better with every snowfall.
    The Uller Trails were also worked on for the first time last weekend. I hear they need a good deal more snow before they are ready. There are water pockets and rocks along most of the trails.
    This will be my only report until the new year... I'll be out of town for a couple weeks. Keep your eyes open for new maps with the new year, too.

    (Neil Martinko)
  • Dec 9 - Troll Hollow (Dresser):

    Five great reasons to get over to Troll Hollow this week:
    #5 You can ski together with buddies whose warm-up pace is the same as your race pace- just use the shortcuts in the loops
    #4 You don't have to spend any ski time checking trail maps - you can't get lost
    #3 The long hill provides a natural interval training opportunity that's hard to avoid
    #2 After the first loop you can stop looking at the scenery and concentrate on technique
    #1 It's really fun to be out skiing on freshly groomed corduroy trails!
    Very light traffic on Troll Hollow and on the Alpine hills this morning. We had a great time. Fast Wax Blue has been producing very good glide on the man-made snow: Deb Diggins, Rosie Meyer & Karen Johnson.

    (Deb Diggins)
  • Dec 8 - Telemark Resort Trails (Cable):

    We stopped at Telemark Sunday afternoon to check out the Fever trail. There was only about 1K or so open and it was hard packed and icy. I'm sure it was a lot better earlier in the weeked but we got on the trail late in the day and a lot of skiers had been packing it down. The Hastings ski team bus was pulling out as we pulled in.
    (Jim 'Ranger' Smith)
  • Dec 7 - Telemark Resort Trails (Cable):

    On Saturday December 7 I had the priviledge of trying out the NEW 2k Fever loop at Telemark that has freshly manmade snow on it. If you are in the area and want to ski definitely do it, however, it's still in the works and not worth a drive too far. It is a smaller loop with some nice hills and a bit of a flat in it, however, there are quite a few leaves on the trail in parts and many ice chunks from the snowmaking equipment in places. It was wonderful to ski on real snow on some real hills and it would have been even better if the ski team that was there was not sking 6 abreast in two directions!
    [ Note: Telemark's LMC groomer broke down on Friday night but should be back in operation on Monday -- Ed. ]

    (Eve Stein)
  • Dec 7 - Telemark Resort Trails (Cable):

    A few photos from the new Fever Trail today.
    (Phil Van Valkenberg)
  • Dec 6 - Troll Hollow (Dresser):

    Excellent trail conditions and an absolutely beautiful day to be skiing. Only a few folks on trails. Sure nice to get the ski legs ready for real snow.
    (Paulette Anderson)
  • Dec 5 - Troll Hollow (Dresser):

    Conditions: Good snow throughout the hollow and downhill areas. Snow temp hovering a few degrees above and below zero from 8-10 am this morning.
    There were only a couple of other nordic skiers out this morning in the cold temps. I experimented with the new Rex glide wax products: the Moly which they claim improves with colder temps, covered with the TK717 powder which is a fluor rated down to 1F. It did give very good glide in the frigid temps, slowing of course where fresh snow from snow guns had drifted onto the trail. It's great to have this nordic area available in times of no snow!

    (Bill Quinn)

Wisconsin Northeast

  • Dec 8 - Afterglow Lake Resort (Phelps):

    Conditions: Good! Classic track set on 2.5 miles. 5 miles open. Rock skis still recomened.
    I skied every trail twice with my good skate skis yesterday. I didn't hit anything but I know where the thin spots are. I am still suggesting rock skis. The weatherman says no snow in the next week. I take that as a good sign because the weatherman is always wrong. We are holding a free snowshoe event Dec 15. We will have hourly guided hikes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Atlas snowshoes will be provided for guided hikes and other brands will be available to demo. Thanks for skiing Afterglow.

    (Pete MEGADETH Moline)
  • Dec 7 - Afterglow Lake Resort (Phelps):

    Conditions: Rock ski conditions, but very skiable at that.
    Pete did the best he could have given the amt of snow (not much). Good grooming judgment. He won't groom the Phelps trail before another 6" or so.

    (Matt Zak)
  • Dec 5 - Sturgeon Bay area (Sturgeon Bay):

    Conditions: Snow is about 1 to 2 inches. Definately Rock Skis.
    The UWGB ski team traveled up to Sturgeon Bay the past two afternoons. The trails are flat and there is not much snow cover, but it is better than rollerskiing!

    (Tracy Reich)

Wisconsin Southeast

  • Dec 6 - Whitnall Park (Hales Corners):

    Did a 2 hour tour on waxless classic skis along the Root River starting at 76th street and looping through Whitnal Park. Good striding in the deeper grass. Decent glide on boot packed hiking trails in the woods, but watch for rocks! Whitnal Golf course should still good this weekend provided the sun stays away saturday. Difficult skating, but possible.
    (John Wilke)

Michigan Upper Peninsula

  • Dec 15 - Blueberry Ridge Trail (Sands):

    Conditions: Sunday PM: New snow 1".
    The recent thaw made everything sort of icy but it was dragged with the Tidd-Tech yesterday and the small amount of new snow today made both the classic tracks and skating fine. Overall good conditions. Still plenty of snow. Rarely rock or dirt that was pulled up by the tiller last week. Noquemanon trail is unskiiable (except back-country) because of bulldozer work and lack of snow.

    (Joe Jameson)
  • Dec 14 - Michigan Tech University Ski Trails (Houghton):

    Conditions: Icy except for the shaded loops on the green trail.
    Stopped on the way back south from Calumet and Swedetown. Nice trail system, probably a bit more technical than most with the hairpin turns on the red trails. Hard to get a rhythm going due to the icy conditions. Still was a nice ski. A couple of inches were falling Sunday and this was just what the groomer ordered.

    (Chris Sauer)
  • Dec 14 - Swedetown Trails (Calumet):

    Conditions: Old snow with some ice in the pines. A tad icy.
    Great ski on some great trails! Friday night my wife and I checked into the Laurium Manor B&B, jumped into our tights and rushed out to the Swedetown trails for a nighttime ski on our 13th anniversary. Well worth the trip from Iowa! The lighted trails were a bit crusty, as was our technique after a summer and fall of rollerskiing, but it was a peak experience. The hoot of an owl the rustle of pine needles and not one other skier on the trail for quite a long time. Saturday morning we skied the green, red and bear chase trails twice. Well the longer bear chase loop only once as the rocks and stumps were annoying. The conditions were spring-like and fast. I would recommend folks to try these trails out and afterward have a hot coco with Ed in the chalet to complete your weekend.

    (Chris Sauer)
  • Dec 14 - ABR (Ironwood):

    Conditions: Although it was around 34-36 degrees the trail conditions were very good considering the warm weather we were having as of late. Being a diagonal skier I found the tracks to be for the most part very good. Due to lack of snow there were leaves and needles from overhanging limbs. The long and short of it was...the conditions were better than I expected!
    Sunday the Wausau Nordic Skiers enjoyed a fun day at ABR. We have been coming up here, weather permitting, for around 6 or 7 years now. The Andersons are to be commended for the efforts they put in to make this a ski destination. Even though the weather was warm and tough on the tracks, I had no doubts in my mind that the conditions were the best they could be. Even though there was a race going on when we got there, Eric and his Dad greated us and made us feel welcome. We also arranged to have lunch delivered, and Eric's Mom and wife Angela took care of the inside activities to complete a perfect day! Rest assurd, we will be back!

    (Dennis Helke)
  • Dec 14 - Wolverine Ski Trail (Ironwood):

    Conditions: Pretty good. Only a few trails open, but good skating.
    Got pretty warm and real slushy as the day went on, but good to get out and blow the stink off.

    (Seth Adams)
  • Dec 13 - ABR (Ironwood):

    Conditions: Fair to good. They need more snow especially on the classic trails. The snow was a little icy and about 8-10 inches deep. 38 degrees.
    This is a great place to ski, but I would wait until they get a little fresh snow. We are classic skiers. I ski on wood skis. The classic trails were covered with leaves with bare spots. The river trail (for skaters and striders) was better, but the weather was so warm that skiing was difficult. Maybe the conditions for skaters were better. The classic trails were fair and the other trails good. It's been almost a week with no new snow and temps in the high 30's.
    Stop at the Deepwater Grille in Ashland. The food is great and the beer is even better. Also the Black Cat in Ashland! We stopped both places on the trip from Duluth. Skied with Steve O'Neil.

    (Angie Miller)
  • Dec 12 - ABR (Ironwood):

    I skied at ABR on Thursday morning. Conditions were still holding up. The skate lane was icy in some spots and a little soft in others. A few thin spots here and there but nothing to really worry about. It looks like the crew was out shoveling early this morning to cover up some thin areas. There were only a few people out today so it was nice to not have to contend with the typical weekend crowds. Hopefully we'll all get some real snow soon.
    (Matt Aro)
  • Dec 11 - ABR (Ironwood):

    We are holding up fine even after the warm temps today. I took some photos today of the River Trail, Easy Trail and Sunset Trail. We do have some thin areas that will be shoveled if our Lake Superior Snow Guns don't kick in by the weekend. Or grooming this midweek will be based on snow conservation. Ski late AM - mid day for the best conditions.
    (Eric Anderson, ABR Trails)
  • Dec 11 - Wolverine Ski Trail (Ironwood):

    We are reporting 9km open and groomed for skating and striding with a solid 6" base in most areas. Fresh striding tracks and skate lanes were laid down on Dec 10. This mornings temp was 28 at 6:00.
    (Dave Johnson)
  • Dec 9 - ABR (Ironwood):

    Now this is really skiing. Fantastic trails, lots of snow, moderate temps, fast skis, excellent grooming. John "big show" Hokanson was on cloud nine all day after he saw his picture on the front page of this morning.
    (Jim 'Ranger' Smith)
  • Dec 8 - Valley Spur (Munising):

    Conditions: Conditions: The trail base was 4-5 inches of freshly groomed snow. There's at least a foot of snow in the woods.
    Valley Spur officially opened on Dec. 7th. The following day when I skiied it the weather was cold (10 degrees) and snowy. About half the classical loops were groomed and two out of the three skating loops. I skiied three of classical loops and they were in good shape. It was snowing quite hard which made for slow skiing.

    (Charlie Simons)
  • Dec 8 - Marquette area (Marquette):

    Blueberry Ridge: very good morning skate over 1/3-1/2" freshly fallen nighttime snow. times like these it's hard not to envy the locals here w/ this foot+ of snow. it's not fair
    Kawbawgam trail: obscure but sensational single classical track, w/ very tricky hilly section along Lake LeVasseur, coincides w/ part of North Country N. S. Trail! spectacular views of the lake, etc. trail well tracked but overblown in some places, some flora still sticking thru. less snow than @ BBR (or ABR, for that matter). if u ever ski this place, DON'T take the named 'coward's cut-off.' do the 'most advanced' section; it's not that dangerous, why sell yourself short?
    Presque Isle Park trail: track skied in, also less snow than BBR, extremely cold, esp. w/ the wind chill (this really is essentially an island). nice lake views & one site overlooking cool cliffs, some hills, esp. in the inner section. the park itself has many beautiful trees. skating possible but on unpacked terrain, should still be good, though. don't blow this one off; it's gorgeous, not just some lame golf course or typical city park deal
    Saux Head trail: didn't get here in time to ski the whole thing. apparently new trail, the site of some 'preseason' race earlier today, I think. very good cond's & grooming, despite some leaf-strewn patches, skate lane & a diag. track. hopefully this quality grooming wasn't just for the race, but will hold up for the rest of the season, 'cuz i know i'm coming back here. the first challenge is finding this place, 2nd figuring out that you've actually made it, and 3rd where to 'park' once you've discovered you're here. good luck!!

    (Matt Zak)
  • Dec 8 - ABR (Ironwood):

    Conditions: Lots of Snow, with a dusting of new stuff! A few dirty spots on the classic only trails, but otherwise excellent. A bit cold on Sunday (8 degrees F), making the skating a bit slow.
    I made the trek to ABR for the weekend. The snow was better than at Silver Star, BC. Saturday was beautiful with temps in the 20's. The conditions were great for skating and classic. I ran into Al & Barb Limberg, who were up from Wausau. Al took me out for a few loops. It was a bit cold for skating on Sunday , but great for classic.

    (Peter Hanson)
  • Dec 8 - Wolverine Ski Trail (Ironwood):

    Conditions: I skied the Wolverine trails and the Powderhorn loop was every bit as good as it has been in mid January. The area has had 70 inches of snow. They said the Wolverine loop was not skiable after I had skied it. I hit no rocks and all the bogs seem to have frozen.
    They allow dogs which was great because I needed the help of a ski jorring dog to keep up with my buddy Fitz who lives up there. They just bought a Pisten Bully so things will get even bettter. let's help them out with trail fees and donations.

    (Frederick Hartray)
  • Dec 8 - ABR (Ironwood):

    Conditions: ABR has lots of snow. About 11" of the trails, and not sure about on the trails, but probably 6" on average. There are some sections where there are a lot of leaves on the classic trails. Only a few dirty spots. Since there isn't enought to groom with the Piston Bully, the trails are still bumpy for skating.
    This is the only place to ski right now. The trails are always fun and offer some awesome downhills. If they could pick up another 6", skiing would be excellent.

    (Clayton Keim)
  • Dec 8 - ABR (Ironwood):

    We had an ape visit us this conditions are very good the snow is holding up very well, we are now over the 4 foot snowfall mark.
    (Eric Anderson, ABR Trails)
  • Dec 7 - Wolverine Ski Trail (Ironwood):

    Conditions: very good.
    After skiing ABR all afternoon, stopped by Wolverine at dusk to see what's going on. Got here just in time to skate 24min & realize that although the gate's now open, the wolverine loop is still officially closed 'til further notice'. They're asking people to help clipping the protruding stems & other stuff. To that end, it helps to mow the trail before the 1st snowfall, but I suspect they couldn't because this section is private & possibly off limits til December even to the Wolverine trail hounds. This segment, I recall, starts out flat but then gets rolling & actually has 3 or 4 very nice hills that require some skill whichever direction you're traveling in.

    (Matt Zak)
  • Dec 5 - Swedetown Trails (Calumet):

    Conditions: 10-12" base with 99% of the sticks, rocks and other landmines covered on the lighted loops. Green trail and early season routing of the red trail are open with good snowpack also. It was snowing as it has for the past two weeks (gotta' love Lake Superior :). Cold temps (~18F) and ~4" of new powder since the trails were rolled earlier in the day, but it was still rocket fast. Trails still have some unevenness in spots since the groomer is still using snowmobile+roller.
    Skating was rocket fast tonight even with fresh snow and cool temperatures. Rex Blue (of course :). Another beautiful night-time ski. Getting ready for the Tuesday night town-races to start in January!

    (Michael Young)


  • Dec 15 - Stokely Creek (Goulais River):

    Conditions: 18-24 inches deep, some streams across the trails, due to the melt from 3 warm days.
    It was white, it was fun, it was spring like. Peterson trail was groomed for skating (some twigs and leaves). Blue Rex or CH6 with fluor corked in worked well.

    (Eric Scholz)
  • Dec 5 - Lappe Nordic Centre (Thunder Bay):

    4.6km in "good" condition, set as best-line due to lack of snow. An additional 2km has been opened for skilled skiers to Leena's Leap. Warm-up or rock skis still recommended. Won't be long til we have good snow.
    (Davis Viehbeck)

United States

  • Dec 9 - Los Alamos/Angel Fire/Red River (Los Alamos, NM):

    Conditions: Conditions: Mostly fair, some good, some sketchy. Snow depth varies from unpacked 8" to 26", packed from 0.5 to 7+". Thin spots with a few rocks, roots, etc. -- snow has debris from the grooming in spots.
    At least we're on snow. We're doing somewhat better than last year, but we haven't seen the usual late November, or early December "Motherlode" storm yet. We had some good early season (enough to start skiing!) stuff in late October/early November, and with a minor storm early last week, we were able to keep it going. El Nino is supposed to start kicking in very soon, so hopefully we'll have a 100" base soon. For now, we'll take the 8" - 26" base that we have...
    The enclosed photo is one of the better spots on the Pajarito Trails in Los Alamos at around 9,500 ft. elevation.

    (Clay Moseley)
  • Dec 7 - Sandy Hollow Golf Course (Rockford, IL):

    Conditions: 1-2 inches of fairly well packed snow. Some grass showing through.
    I skiied for about 45 min. on 1-2 of snow that was fairly well packed. To my suprise it was actually pretty nice. The temperature was about 30 degrees and the sun was shining. I was able to ski throughout the golf course. The grass was showing through in many areas, but I was able to get some decent glide. Was on classic waxless skiis. Not bad for Dec. 7. If it doesn't melt too bad today, I'll try again tomorrow.

    (David Oldenburg)