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| | |-+  December 27, 2008, Minnesota Dreamin'
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Author Topic: December 27, 2008, Minnesota Dreamin'  (Read 3282 times)

Posts: 2055

December 27, 2008, Minnesota Dreamin'
« on: 12/27/08, 09:56 PM »

The approach: cleats, ice skates, or full-body padding recommended.

The day after Christmas we left Seattle for our annual visit to my wife's family in Minneapolis. For weeks Minnesota has been shivering under single-digit (F) temperatures. This year there was plenty of snow for a change, so we paid extra to bring our cross-country skis on our flight. Unfortunately, the same day Seattle began thawing a warm front hit Minneapolis with temperatures to 41F and dense fog. Snow that had been recrystalized by the cold melted almost instantly.

The temperature began falling back to normal overnight and was in the mid-20s this morning. I headed for Columbia Golf Club, the nearest groomed skiing. The sledders seemed to be enjoying themselves. I watched people rocketing down a hill near the clubhouse covered with a thin veneer of ice. It looked terrifying to me.

My brother-in-law said the skiing has been wonderful for weeks, with cold, dry snow. But it's amazing what a single warm day can do. I found frozen ruts on the groomed trails, cohesionless sugar off-trail, and swampy water hazards in various states of re-freezing. I brought my 30-year-old classic-style (beater) XC skis. All my waxes were useless, so I waddled and poled around, doing some really inefficient skating that tired me out. (Between holiday meals I consider that a good thing).

The forecast for the remainder of the week is ambivalent about any new snow. Until it arrives, we'll be Minnesota dreaming ... on such a winter's day.

Upper-left: Urban skiing, Minneapolis style. Upper-right: "You should have been here the day before yesterday." Lower-left: Sugar snow, crust, refrozen swamps. Lower-right: Railroad line through Columbia Golf Club.

For a follow-up post, click here.
« Last Edit: 12/31/08, 08:52 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged

Posts: 523

Re: December 27, 2008, Minnesota Dreamin'
« Reply #1 on: 12/28/08, 12:04 AM »

Your photos accomplished what I thought impossible: I am a bit homesick for Minnesota even though it's flat and frigid. Minneapolis is really a fun city; too bad it's in the midwest. Thanks for the lovely pictures.


Posts: 926

Re: December 27, 2008, Minnesota Dreamin'
« Reply #2 on: 12/29/08, 10:45 AM »

The OTHER land of the Norse...Wink  Thanks for the pics!  And, for the sake of MN integrity - Giant's Ridge Ski Resort in northern MN has more vf drop than Snoqualmie Pass!

"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev
Amar Andalkar

Posts: 1200

Re: December 27, 2008, Minnesota Dreamin'
« Reply #3 on: 12/29/08, 02:35 PM »

Hi Lowell, noticed your Kahtoola Microspikes in the first photo.  How do you like them?  Have you used them on trails? On slick icy rocks?

I was considering getting those for early season (Oct-Nov) icy-trail approaches like Heliotrope Ridge, especially the sometimes very icy glacier-polished rocks above the Hogsback moraine. Even the trail from Paradise to Pebble Creek was really icy one of the times I went earlier this fall.

Also seems like they would have been perfect for walking up and down the steep icy streets of Seattle last week, although who knows it may be another decade before it gets like that again.



Posts: 2055

Re: December 27, 2008, Minnesota Dreamin'
« Reply #4 on: 12/30/08, 08:35 AM »

Hi Amar,

Yeah, the Kahtoolas were my Christmas present from my wife.  They work really well on icy roads and trails. I wished I had them when the snow first fell in Seattle a week and a half ago. I took a nasty fall on one of our neighborhood streets.

I tossed them in my ski bag for the trip to Minneapolis and found them almost essential for the 1-mile walk from my in-laws' house to the golf course. I think they'd be excellent for all the things you mentioned. I wouldn't recommend them for mountaineering though. If you used them on a sidehill, you'd need perfect flatfooting technique, since the spikes are in the center of your sole. That could get sketchy real fast.

So far, I'm giving them two thumbs up!
« Last Edit: 12/30/08, 02:14 PM by Lowell_Skoog » Logged
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