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Sisu Ski Fest, Jan 6-8, 2017

Trail Reports

These reports are maintained by readers like you. Let us know about the skiing conditions in your area via our Ski Trail Report form. If you'd like to send along some photos, please e-mail those as attachment and we'll plug them into your report.
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ABR Lodging

ABR has 70 km of groomed ski trails and another 10 km of separate snowshoe trails. There are five rustic (ski in) cabins and a trailside house.

Reports: 42  

Minnesota Metro Area


      Twin Cities area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 5 - University of Minnesota Golf Course (Falcon Heights): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Rock skis ]

      Took my old wide Peltonen no wax skis to check out the snow at the U of M golf course at sunrise this morning. Very good crust skiing throughout the course, if you are willing to pick your way across some thin areas. Skied for nearly 90 minutes and did not have to take off the skis at all. Today's warm up may be problematic, but it may be worth a look tomorrow morning again.
      (Doug Schumacher)
    • Dec 4 - Sunrise Middle School (White Bear Lake): 
      Firsthand 
      [ B skis ]

      Fun 3 plus inches, soft and wet. Great to be out there! Tested 3 pair of skis. Tested new boots. Pure joy!
      (Carrie Kostroski)
    • Dec 4 - Columbia Golf Course (Minneapolis): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Rock skis ]

      Not quite... Optimistically gave Columbia a try. No tracks or rolling and not quite enough snow to skate. The snow was very sticky and thin, I grounded and stopped short quite a few times. Needs another inch or two!
      (Mike Keyes)
    • Dec 3 - Hyland Lake Park Reserve (Bloomington): 
      Observation Secondhand 
      [ Trails: Closed ]

      Conditions: Not open but snow guns are ready to go.
      Snow guns are in place and park staff told me they will be blowing snow this Tuesday.
      Photos:  
      (Lee Goldstein)
    • Nov 27 - Theodore Wirth North (Minneapolis): 
      Observation 
      [ Trails: Closed ]

      Stopped by this afternoon. Snow is pretty much gone and there is a lot of grass peaking out. Doesn't look good until they start making snow.
      (Steve Anderson)
    • Nov 25 - Theodore Wirth North (Minneapolis): 
      Grooming 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      There will be no snowmaking at Wirth tonight. It's too warm and humid.
      (Isaac Kasper, Loppet Foundation)
    • Nov 25 - Columbia Golf Course (Minneapolis): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      Pretty much sucked. Lost too much of yesterday morning's snow, and what was left didn't freeze up overnight. Sunday morning roller skiing in Afton will be a lot better.
      (Dave Christopherson)

 

Minnesota Northeast


      Duluth area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 5 - Snowflake Nordic Ski Center (Duluth): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, Rock skis ]

      Skied the 5k this morning. Trails are ungroomed and covered in about 2-3 inches of snow. There are some exposed rocks, grassy spots and a few flooded out dips. Very skiable and fun to be on snow again but definitely rock skis only.
      (Jason Mozol)
    • Nov 28 - Snowflake Nordic Ski Center (Duluth): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, Rock skis ]

      Conditions: Wet and grassy with some snow.
      The rain last night really did a number on the trails. Ton of bare spots and puddles interrupted by intermittent snow patches. We got around the 5k once but I'd consider it unskiable at this point.
      (Jason Mozol)
    • Nov 26 - Jay Cooke State Park (Carlton): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, Rock skis ]

      Conditions: Scantily covered, not packed or groomed. One can kick a track in.
      Trails were not frequently mowed prior to this years seasons, so it will take a bit of coverage to make the trails ready for a track. The ravine on the far side of the 2012 flood wash-out area has a new Culvert and landscaping that finally puts it back on the trail system, yeh!
      (Ann Gustafson)
      Northshore/Gunflint area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 2 - Central Gunflint Trail System (Grand Marais): 
      Grooming 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, B skis ]

      Conditions: Good, but not as good as a few days ago.
      Groomed Summer Home and Campground trails today. Mostly good coverage, with a few thin spots. The track on Summer Home is better than in the campground. It's good skiing, but be mindful of a couple low snow spots. We have some snow in the forecast, and it won't take much to get the trail back in great shape.
      Photos:  
      (Quinn McCloughan, Bearskin Lodge)
    • Nov 26 - Central Gunflint Trail System (Grand Marais): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, B skis ]

      Conditions: Excellent grooming on campground loop and Summer home road for skate and classic. Skate deck firm and glide was fine in spite of temps just above freezing. Classic tracks were nicely set and waxless skis worked beutifiully.
      On Saturday afternoon, skied several runs down Summer Home and around campground using both skate and classic gear and loved both. Snow cover is adequate for good skis but I used B skis. Hope it lasts!
      (Tim Nelson)
    • Nov 25 - Sugarbush Trail System (Tofte): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, B skis ]

      Conditions: Onion river road, ungroomed with about 4 deadfalls across the road. Plenty of heavy wet snow that is skier tracked to the end. No rocks or wet spots.
      Skied the Onion River Road starting on skier made tracks for the first half and broke trail to the end of the road after the tracks stopped. Deadfalls have to be climbed over in spots and could scratch skis if not careful. But plenty of cover other that that. Used waxless skis and kick was great after the track was made.
      (Tim Nelson)
      Iron Range area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 5 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik): 
      Grooming 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      We received 3" of wet snow yesterday and will be packing trails today. More snow is needed to open the trails and there are many wet areas that should freeze later this week with the colder weather coming.
      (John Filander)
    • Dec 3 - Mount Itasca (Coleraine): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, B skis ]

      Decent skiing on the bunny hill plus 200 m on the top - 500 m one way. Making some snow as well.
      Photos:  
      (Vladimir Cervenka )
    • Dec 2 - Mount Itasca (Coleraine): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, B skis ]

      Conditions: Despite the rain that melted most of the natural snow, the base of man-made snow held up and now snowmaking is again underway.
      Grooming the new snow will not start until Saturday night at the earliest. Several skiers are climbing the north exposure Alpine Bunny Hill for a great aerobic workout. Coming down? Good luck! FAST!
      (Catherine McLynn)
    • Dec 1 - Cowhorn Lake (Grand Rapids): 
      Observation 
      [ Trails: Closed ]

      Conditions: Not able to ski.
      Loop 1 and loop 2 to Boomer Blue are clear of sticks and branches. Very wet. If going to clear more branches, focus on outer portion of loop 2 and loop 3.
      (Philip Imholte)
    • Nov 29 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails: Closed ]

      Continued thaw weather and drizzle have closed the cross country trails at Giants Ridge. There is still some base on the trails in the woods and with freezing and some natural snow, we are hoping to reopen the weekend of December 10-11. We would like to thank all of our cross country skiers that enjoyed the trails over the Thanksgiving weekend, and hope to see you back here when winter returns.
      (John Filander)
    • Nov 28 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik): 
      Scheduling 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      We are into a warm rainy week, and have closed the nordic trails until this coming weekend when it is supposed to cool off. It was a great opener last weekend with 40Km and lots of people enjoying the trails. Bring back the colder weather and some snow!
      (John Filander)
    • Nov 27 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      Conditions: Surprisingly nice Sunday morning ski. Trails did not ice up much, and a fresh grooming looks like it had been done over many of the trails. Again, the upper trails were much better than the lower ones along the golf course. Still a few places where you have to cross a bare strip, and rocks poke through here and there, but ski very good skiing conditions.
      Nice morning ski to wrap up the weekend. Lots of folks out on the course, including the College of St. Scholastica team with their new coach Maria Stuber. We skied the Gold, Cedar and Summit trails, all in pretty good shape, with the upper Gold trails in almost excellent shape. Very fun ski coming down from Emerald City on the Summit trail back to Northern Lights.
      Photos:  
      (Bruce Adelsman)
    • Nov 27 - Blueberry Hills (Deer River): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, Rock skis ]

      Conditions: Poor and very icy, with bare spots.
      Trails walked/skated out nearly completely. There's no obvious groomed tracks for classic.
      (Paul Berg)
    • Nov 26 - Mount Itasca (Coleraine): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      The trails were groomed this morning, despite the warm conditions they held up well all day.
      Scheduling: Mt. Itasca will be closed Monday and Tuesday, Nov 28-29, to help preserve the snow through the rain and warm weather forecast for those days.
      Photos:  
      (Vladimir Cervenka )
    • Nov 26 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      Conditions: Mix of conditions, some a bit thin and icy (mostly on trails next to golf course), and other sections like mid-winter (especially up on top, on the Gold trail and Summit). A few burn channels from run off water, and some melt spots, but we used good skis without an issue. I'd rate it B skis. I'm sure it was even better earlier in the week. Cleared off end of day, and temps dropping tonight -- expecting icy fast in the morning.
      Surprising amount of Twin Cities skiers up staying and skiing. Rarely saw them out on the trails, but great to see people out taking in the November snow. Nice day of skiing - but uffda, tired.
      Photos:  
      (Bruce Adelsman)
    • Nov 25 - Legion Trails (Grand Rapids): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      Conditions: Packed, with new wet snow on top. A bit of a slog on skate equipment, but totally worth it on traditional skis.
      Such a lovely gem for this community! Kudos to G-rap for their continued improvements and adding frisbee and mnt biking. Defintley one of our favorites!
      Photos:  
      (Annie Gustafson)
    • Nov 25 - Mount Itasca (Coleraine): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      Conditions: Good base, a few dirty spots which are easily avoided in most cases. Classic track set on much of the trail system.
      Skied late afternoon until sunset. Temperatures were just above freezing and while the trail still skied pretty fast, there was some brown spots from the warm ground. We even encountered a wood frog looking quite dazed on the trail (put him back under the snowpack). Had a nice first ski of the season, even ran into the NMU ski team with headlamps heading out for their second workout of the day as we wrapped up at sundown. Great ski for November!
      Photos:  
      (Bruce Adelsman)
    • Nov 25 - Giants Ridge (Biwabik): 
      Firsthand Secondhand 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      Conditions: 4" base, wet snow groomed Wednesday night.
      Groomed but variable conditions. Some small rocks/holes here and there but all in all good wet snow thats packed in early season skiing. Thanks for opening! Word is all will be groomed tonight. If Classic expect variable tracks.
      Photos:  
      (Kyia Anderson)
      Ely area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 1 - Hidden Valley Ski Trails (Ely): 
      Grooming 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, Rock skis ]

      I spent a few hours grooming Hidden Valley trails today. The above freezing temperatures and rain this past week wreaked havoc on our trails. We were fortunate that the trails went unused during the thaw/rain and what little base survived has now firmed up. Although the trails are somewhat usable, many bare spots and scratchy areas are present. Use of the trails will only lead to their further deterioration. I have no plans to groom until we receive at least 2" of new snow.
      (Wayne Pasmick)
    • Nov 26 - Hidden Valley Ski Trails (Ely): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Most, Good skis ]

      Conditions: Pretty good coverage for both skate and classic.
      Snow was getting squeezed by melting from the ground and the warm air. A little soft and grabby on the skate deck. Pretty good fun just the same.
      (Dan Murphy)
    • Nov 25 - Flathorn-Gegoka Trails (Isabella): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Partial, Rock skis ]

      Conditions: Ungroomed-some downed trees, Snow cover about 6 inches with the occasional rock peeking through.
      We skied the far east trail around the lake. One skier had broke trail a few days before us. We waddled around about a dozen downed trees. Saw one wolf on the way up and many animal tracks in the fresh snow.
      (Dan Murphy)

 

Minnesota Northwest


      Detroit Lakes area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 1 - Maplelag Resort (Callaway): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      Conditions: Trails closed. Light dusting of snow, 31 degrees.
      We woke up to winter wonderland conditions yesterday thanks to calm conditions and light fluffy snow clinging to everything. Warm ground and the nature of the snow resulted in most of the snow melting off. This morning we were on the trails clearing sticks and found just thin coverage. The temp is dropping which will be good to freeze down the trails before the next snowfall. It won't take much to get skiing again with the deck flat and compacted.
      Photos:  
      (Jay Richards, Maplelag Resort)

 

Minnesota Central


      Brainerd area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 1 - Larson Lake (Deerwood): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails: Closed ]

      Conditions: No snow...Its all gone! Take a look at the picture!
      That went really fast (the snow that is!) Will groom when 4 or more inches accumulate.
      Photos:  
      (Bryan Pike, Crow Wing County Parks)

 

Minnesota Southern


      Rochester area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Nov 27 - Honey Tree Farm (Austin): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      We had a beautiful morning for frost skiing, using a vintage pair Epoke 900s with a thick layer of DuPont Teflon Non Stick spray for glide. By 9:15 it was all over but it felt great to be on skis again.
      Photos:  
      (Steve Williams)

 

Wisconsin Northwest


      Other locations
    • Nov 30 - Willow River State Park (Hudson): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails: Closed ]

      Pre Season Trail Prep Saturday. There will be a large crew cutting dead buckthorn along the Blue trail. We will work between the culvert and the junction with the hill trail. You will hear us before you see us. We will idle it down to a dull roar as visitors pass by. Groomers Dave and Rita treated the buckthorn some time ago. They are on the crew. A small crew started this job last Saturday. Last week's results: the droopers are gone, we gained room for a wider skate deck, and clear poling for classic on this narrow two way stretch. Park staff does the wide cuts and rough cuts with the Bobcat. All the rest of the ski trail prep is done by volunteers.
      (Jeff Bolte)

 

Wisconsin Northeast


      Rhinelander/Eagle River area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 5 - McNaughton Lake Trail (Lake Tomahawk): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      We got 2 inches of snow overnight, kind of wet with temp at 33 when I skied. I skied the blue 4 mile loop and was very skiable, some sticky snow to bottom of skis, some rocks, and some very pretty flocked evergreens. Rock skis for sure, poor to fair but skiable, but hey I was kicking and gliding, weeee first ski of the year!
      Photos:  
      (Greg Dahl)

 

Wisconsin Southeast


      Milwaukee area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 4 - Whitnall Park (Hales Corners): 
      Firsthand 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      Welcome to the start of the ski season in Southeastern WI! Classical skiing today was fine especially for the first time out to get the muscles in shape. There was about 2" of heavy snow. With the packing snow, there was a bit of clumping on the bottom of the skis, however it was not too much of a hindrance. Glad to start the ski season!
      (Michelle Eul)

 

Michigan Upper Peninsula


      Ironwood area [ forecast/conditions ]
    • Dec 4 - ABR (Ironwood): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      We have been getting a light snow all day, Angela and I were out checking the trails tonight with Darla and we are seeing decent coverage.  We have a groom crew scheduled in the morning to pack the trails and we hope to re-open soon.
      Photos:  
      (Eric Anderson, ABR Trails)
    • Nov 27 - ABR (Ironwood): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails: Closed, Rock skis ]

      We closed today until we get more snow. The thin snow is not safe to ski on and grooming is not possible. We had a good week of early season skiing and had many happy customers. We hope to reopen Friday for skiing.
      (Eric Anderson, ABR Trails)
    • Nov 26 - ABR (Ironwood): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      The trail froze hard last night, down to 27F. We groomed last night as it was freezing and the trails froze up hard and fast. We regroomed about 1/3 of the trails this morning and waited for the sun to warm the rest up. By 10:30 some of the hills were still fast so we regroomed a few of the hills. The base is getting very thin with many bare spots ...but it is skiable. We are going out with three of us early in morning to regroom again Sunday morning. We expect conditions to be similar to this morning but we will try to make it a bit softer.
      We expect to close Sunday late afternoon as the temps warm up and the trail melts out and then we plan to reopen Thursday or Friday when more snow arrives.
      (Eric Anderson, ABR Trails)
    • Nov 25 - ABR (Ironwood): 
      Grooming Scheduling 
      [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

      Conditions: I am just coming in from scouting the trails and doing some preliminary grooming. The low areas were starting to show signs of wet, the up hills are getting chewed up a bit on Blueberry and the River Trail. Tonight's grooming smoothed these out and I expect them to freeze tonight. The bare spots 12 inch by 12 inch are more numerous...about 75 areas in the base 10 km loop....but they are small and you can ski around them easily. I think the skiing at 9 AM will be more favorable for the advanced skiers and the skiing later towards 11 AM  will be better for the recreational skiers. Tonight is forecast to freeze hard and we will lightly groom in the early morning to keep the base firm, it is flat from the grooming tonight and ruts are groomed out. We are grooming and skiing about 25 km for Saturday.
      Looking ahead I see that Sunday we are probably OK until early afternoon. We do not think we will be open Monday thru Wednesday based on the forecast.
      (Eric Anderson, ABR Trails)

 

United States


  • Dec 1 - Snow Mountain Ranch (Granby, CO): 
    Grooming 
    [ Trails Open: Most, Rock skis ]

    Conditions: We now have about 50K either packed and rolled or combed. About 20K has track set. The base is 3-6" and a little fresh has been falling every day. The conditions are considered good for early season. We are still recommending rock skis for the occasional dirt, but there is very little.
    Snow is in the forecast almost every day over the next week and temps are now winter. Night time in the single digits or lower and highs in the low 20's. Winter is here and we are open!
    Photos:  
    (Bill Pierce, Snow Mountain Ranch)
  • Nov 26 - Rendezvous Ski Trails (West Yellowstone, MT): 
    Firsthand 
    [ Trails Open: Most, B skis ]

    Dead Dog was freshly groomed this morning, along with Rendezvous and Deja View. Lots of fresh new classic tracks and corduroy! Doing pretty good up here with the minimal snow!
    Photos:  
    (Bill Oyler)
  • Nov 25 - Snow Mountain Ranch (Granby, CO): 
    Grooming 
    [ Trails Open: Most, Rock skis ]

    Conditions: Good early season skiing. We have been grooming for 8 days and have about 25K in good condition. We set classic track on about 10K this morning. The base is 3"-5" and there is the occasional dirt spot.
    We had an additional 2 new inches yesterday. We still recommend rock skis for the occasional dirt. The worst is the first K out of the Nordic Center and then it is awesome!
    Photos:  
    (Bill Pierce, Snow Mountain Ranch)

 


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