Saturday, March 28, 2009

One last ski? Giants Ridge

I thought it might be done for the season. Then I saw trail reports reporting good skiing at The Ridge. I put out an email to ski folks, who wanted to share a ride up. I really wasn't fancying driving heaps alone again. John Swain, a retired Colby skier, took the bait, and we headed up in the morning. I'd been running (a couple ten milers, including one down along Minnehaha Creek to the almost-flooded footbridge along the roiling Mississippi) and lifting some this week and was sore, but managed to have a great afternoon of skiing.

My trail report:

Giants Ridge was most definitely worth the drive. We hit clouds by about Rush City and flurries not far past Hinckley, although not much fell at the Ridge. We wound up skiing the Gold (most of it twice), the Bronze and the Silver. It was mostly skating with frozen corduroy, waxing for classic was tricky with variable track conditions.

Gold trail: Excellent with the the exception of the southeasterly section, which has a couple icy spots and is good. Much faster and more fun than last week, but still kicks your butt going up.

Silver: Officially closed, but about an inch of powder over crust. There are a couple thinner spots (most notably on a blind hill right after a "caution sign" but completely skiable, including the Toilet Bowl and The Pit.

Bronze: A fun ride down, with a couple spots where you have to jump little streams and a couple thinner sections down below.

Telemarking the green gravity ski trail: [redacted]

Actually, the downhill at the end was a lot of fun. We had skied up the brutal Gold Trail and meant for it to end our day, but as we went on the gravity ski trail to access the nice green downhill trail we saw a Pisten Bully and two guys on a sled shoveling around the top of a lift. We decided they'd probably yell at us for skiing down the downhill slope, and were about to turn and go screaming down the nordic trails (not a bad situation, of course) when they got on their machines and drove off. Nice! We skied through the woods and hit the trails, getting in some very nice turns, especially on the side of the trail that had been freshly groomed. Will my legs hurt in the morning? Probably.

The rest of the trails, as stated above, were splendid. Waxing in the morning was pretty futile, but once we had the skate boards on we were very happy. We mucked around a bit jumping the little streams that crossed the trail in places and had a blast on the ungroomed Silver Trail, and a nice, tiring day of skiing. And there might be more snow on the horizon!

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