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So much snow, so much grooming

Lower Beaver Dam Trail

It’s snowed and snowed and snowed. The big snow last Wednesday and Thursday was a tough storm to recover from. It required several days of packing, grooming, and especially cutting out downed and bent trees, broken and contorted by the heavy snow. Our groomers had to jump out every few minutes (or seconds) and wade through waist-deep, unpacked snow to cut out the branches. It was exhausting. You’ll still see rainbow-shaped trees, heavy with snow, along all the trails. Trees are continuing to break from the snow’s weight, but we will keep after them. We had a storm 7 years ago that we call the “Bend-Down” (as opposed to the famous “Blow-Down” of 1999) that resulted in thousands of bent trees. When you look into the woods now, you still see hundreds of those bent trees from that storm — they just kept growing that way. This storm will probably leave its mark also.

We’re grooming trails daily now to get them in perfect condition. We groom responsively to snow conditions, not on a set schedule. We have snow in the forecast every night, so ask the front desks of both resorts to see what’s been groomed most recently.

There are a few trails that will be out of commission for a little longer yet, due to water problems. We’ve had a strange early winter, with lots of insulating snow and many warmish days. Nothing is as frozen as it should be by this date. Any trail crossing a lake is a mess now. We’re finding just a little ice with a foot or more of snow on top, and tons of slush. Very bad conditions. Just don’t try to go on the lake crossings at all until we have a longer run of cold weather.

Also, Oxcart and Poplar Creek have water problems. Poplar Creek is always late to open due to flowing water, so that’s no surprise. But this year Ox Cart has serious problems where it crosses the swamp. Bob was trying to pack it down a few days ago and went right through to his waist in cold water. Not fun. So we need that swamp to freeze more solidly before the rest of the trail can be accessed.

Season passes and daily ski tickets are available for sale at both Bearskin Lodge and Golden Eagle Lodge. Remember, this ski trail system gets no state aid so the Minnesota ski pass does not apply to these trails.