Duluth got an additional 15 inches of snow while I was in the cities this past weekend!!! The fresh, fluffy kind, not the rock hard cement stuff we got last Wednesday. With that in mind and the need to spend some time cross-country skiing before the temps warm up too much, I decided to take Monday off of work and spend the day alone in the woods on the north shore of Lake Superior. I live for days like this. There’s not too much that beats a fresh powder ski day up the shore. I haven’t spent much time by myself in the woods lately either, something that happens naturally while trail running, so yesterday was a much needed solo adventure.
I arrived at the Sugarbush Trails in Tofte with loose plans to ski as much as I could in one day. I also wanted to cover some trails that I had never skied before, specifically Homestead Loop. The temps were already climbing a little as I left the parking lot, but they seemed to hold over the course of the day. I pretty much had the entire place to myself, as I saw only three other skiers. Two right in the beginning and one at the very end. I saw the groomer guy, too, right after a complete yard sale on the bottom corner of a big hill. The skate lane was super soft and it just pulled me down. It was kind of fun to crash though, especially with all the fresh snow. Homestead Loop proved to be very scenic, but I think maybe I skied it the wrong direction. I felt like I was climbing almost the entire time. From certain points I could see Leveaux Mtn., Oberg Mtn., Lake Superior and even the ski hills at Lutsen. After Homestead, I skied Hogback Loop, a favorite at Sugarbush. I also skied up and down Bridge Run three times, a 1.5k downhill run that leaves your eyes watering and your heart soaring. It was in prime, speedy conditions and after three climbs of it I wished there was a tiny ski lift to bring me back to the top.
After skiing for a few hours, I made my way to the Coho Cafe for a delicious lunch and hot tea. I decided to stop by Temperance River State Park and take some shots of the lake on my way to Silver Bay where I would do some more skiing. The Silver Bay trails are some of my favorite in the area. It’s classic only and a little more secluded feeling, as the trails are fairly narrow and lined with snow-covered pines. There’s also another big hill in this system, Herringbone Hill; a steep, winding hill that you have to herringbone up. But the reward of this hill is so great. The down is an equally steep, but straight shot that makes me smile from ear to ear. I didn’t get a chance to ski here last year, because the conditions weren’t very ideal, so I was excited to be back. However, the trails weren’t marked, so I had to rely on my memory as to where each trail section led. The last 30 minutes of the ski were absolutely amazing. Giant snowflakes started floating gently from the sky, but it soon turned into a flurry of near white-out conditions. It was absolutely peaceful and beautiful.
All in all, I was so happy and lucky that I got to spend the day skiing in some of my favorite places (I ended up skiing close to 30k!). And although I was content to spend the day alone, another part of me wishes I would have had some company to share such a beautiful and perfect day with. Go out and get some skiing while it’s still good!