Sunday, January 9, 2011

Skiing at St. Mary's - January 9, 2011

Over the New Year's weekend we had a warm-up in the Midwest with rain and temperatures sometimes reaching into the 40's.  While we did not loose all of our snow it turned it very hard once the temperatures went back below freezing which made it difficult for skiing.  We have had a few more inches of snow but the skiing in La Crosse is still a bit challenging.  Saint Mary's University in Winona, however, has excellent grooming equipment and trails that are dedicated to skiing so they are not trampled over like the Hixon Forest trails.  This is quite a challenge to the volunteer Hixon Groomers here as there are a lot of walkers and snowshoeing.  The picture to the left is of St. Mary's in the distance taken from one of the trails.

 I was able to download the trail map off the St. Mary's website.  There are 16.7 kilometers of trails and what the map does not show is the elevation which is very nice as the trails are in the bluffs along the western side of the Mississippi River.   My Garmin map provides a much better map of the elevation.  My total distance was 14.62K.

It was not my best day today as I thought I was coming down with some type of stomach aliment last night but felt better in the morning.  I was very slow at first but picked up as I went along.  Also I had waxed for the high temperature of about -9 C but it did not warm up until much later.  When I started it was -14 C so I can use the excuse of my wax not being quite right too!

The picture to the left is of a nice wide section of the trail that has double tracks for classic and a nice wide area for skating.  Most of the trail system is single tracked with a skate lane but all of the trails are well groomed and taken care of which, with the hills, makes this a great spot to go for Birkie Training.  St. Mary's asks for a $2.00 donation which is very reasonable given the condition of the trail system.

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