Saturday, February 28, 2009

Battle Creek

Just okay on the prairie, very excellent in the woods.

The winds have not been kind to part of Battle Creek. On the "easy" and "more difficult" portions of the trail—basically anything before or after the "big hill", there are bare and windblown spots. It's skiable, but with a lot of caution.

However, the rest of the course, once you get in the woods, is superb. The classic tracks are solid and mostly intact, and the skate lanes looked a little soft but excellent (I can't say if they were, I was striding). The only issues might be the top of the long climb on the back hills under the pines (as usual) and the top of the climb after that back to the top loop, which got windblown and drifted and, whilst now groomed, is thin.

With the sun setting around 6:00, it was splendid to ski through the woods as the sky turned pink behind the Saint Paul skyline and to later catch glimpses of a white Capitol and red "1" on the horizon. It was just superb. Battle Creek also marks the first repeat of a trail since Birkie (Lebanon, off, Battle Creek, Woodland, streets, Wirth, Murphy); it is always astounding how much good skiing there is within an hour of the Cities. With three hours of skiing (see Hanrahan, Murphy) today it has got to have been one of the best days of the year, time in Birkieland included.

I can only get to two trails at most, on a good day! Check out all the trail reports at

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