Sunday, April 13, 2014

Last Days of Nordic Skiing for the 2013-2014 Season

It was a great year skiing here in the upper Midwest. My season lasted from early December 2013 through March 2014. In this post I will catch up on the times I skied since the American Birkebeiner in February. I thought it might be time since I put my skies away the first weekend in April and got my bike ready the second weekend. Except for a few lakes in southern Minnesota the lakes all still have ice on them. One of the later years for "ice out" in some time here in Minnesota.

The picture to the left was taken at Wirth Park in Minneapolis on March 29, 2014, which was the last day I went out skiing this season. It was the last weekend that Wirth was open and the conditions were very spring like.

On March 8, 2014 I went skiing with Brian Milavitz at the Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove, Minnesota. The conditions were darn near perfect with temps at -5C and the snow was in perfect condition. I did 9K on this sunny day.

Brian and I know each other from working on the Sponsorship Committee for the City of Lakes Loppet in Minneapolis. Brian and I are also Birchleggers through the Birchleggings Club with Brian finishing his 24th this year and the 27th for me. He is also a fellow healthcare administrator and has held various positions in the Twin Cities with the most recent at Fairview Health System.

Brian is also an excellent skier and on this particular day I was either coming down with something or just plain tired. Still a nice ski on beautiful sunny day.

What a difference a day makes! On March 9, 2014 I skied about 10K with Cynthia Ostreling and Mary Pekala at Wirth Park. Cynthia and I were introduced when she was working the City of Lakes Loppet booth and I was working the North Star Ski Touring Club booth next door at the Midwest Mountaineering Winter Outdoor Expo in November 2013. Cynthia has done several Birkie and City of Lakes Loppet races. Mary also is both a Birkie and Loppet veteran and she too volunteers for the City of Lakes Loppet. The temperature was about 5C with wet snow.

The weekend of March 15 and 16, 2014 I skied with my good friend and Birkie Buddy, Tim Burke. We spent Saturday at the After Hours Ski Trail in the Brule River State Forest in Brule, Wisconsin. Unfortunately the conditions were not very good as the temperature had dropped the night before and with wet snow and a warm up several days before, it was icy and stiff. We still had a nice time.

On Sunday we went over to the Snowflake Nordic Ski Center in Duluth. The temperature moderated and they had groomed the hard snow which made for some of the fastest conditions I skied in all winter. We skied a few loops for about 10K.

When we were getting ready to leave we ran into a new Birchlegger, who had finished his 20th race in February. The picture to the left is of Tim and I with Marty Mattes. He and his wife are from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and were also skiing at Snowflake for the day.

On Wednesday, March 26, 2014 I was asked to cover for a meeting for one of our Life Link III base managers. The meeting was the Lake Superior Regional Trauma Advisory Council and was held at the Hayward Area Hospital in Hayward, Wisconsin. I threw my skis in the car not knowing what time the meeting would end and what the conditions were going to be on the Birkie Trail. I got out of the meeting around 16:00 and stopped over at the New Moon Ski Shop where I got an excellent report on fresh grooming at Double OO in Seeley, Wisconsin. I drove up to Double OO and got into my ski gear and went out for what ended up to be the best ski of the season.

I felt like I was in the elite wave at the Birkie as the conditions were perfect. The temperature was 0C with no wind and a late afternoon and early evening sun.

I skied about 15K from Double OO to the Boedecker Road rest area and then back to Double OO on the Classic Trail. I also skied around the trails at Double OO.

The pictures to the left is one of several I took on the trail. It was so beautiful to see the trail in such incredible condition! The Birkie trail has inspired me for over 29 years now and is where I find inspiration and peace.

As noted above, I skied my last day on March 29, 2014 at Wirth Park. The conditions were not great but still nice to get out for some local skiing. I only skied about 6K and the temperature was about 7C and partially sunny.

I love this picture because you can see the Minneapolis skyline several times from Wirth Park. This particular shot was taken from the start area of the City of Lakes Loppet across Wirth Parkway.

On to bicycling season!