If you received cross-country skis for Christmas, you needed to be patient to use them. It was foggy, 35 and a nice shade of brown in Minneapolis on what is normally a snowy day. While all the new road bike owners were logging miles on the dry streets, skiers were left wondering when they’ll be able to earn their own miles. Patience paid off on Saturday, when we awoke to six inches of powder.
Trail reports were popping up around the cities. Parks that make their own snow–Hyland, Elm Creek, etc.–were in the best shape. Our normal trails in Theo Wirth were in decent condition, though a few bare spots were reported online. Wirth makes snow for only a small trail loop, while miles of their other trails rely on Mother Nature. We chose to try out Hyland.
The place was packed. Overflow parking was nearing its limits, chalet ski racks were full and traffic on the easier trails resembled something you would see in Vail or Aspen. Ski instructors could be seen leading groups on classic and skate skis. This is what the sport needs. The more people we can get on skis, the better.
Hyland has 9.5 miles of groomed trails winding through oak forests, across grasslands, up and down rolling hills and around lakes. It is a beautiful place to ski. The park has a system of lights that illuminate trails until 10pm. When it gets dark at 5:00 p.m., it’s nice to see where you’re going, especially if you left your headlamp at home.
Trails powered by snow machines were groomed for skate and classic. They were icy in a few spots, but overall very nice. We skied a couple miles on that network before branching off to ski the lake loop, which has no snow machines. This trail was groomed for skate, but not for classic. After we get a few more inches, classic tracks will be added. Though we had to hop over branches and leaves, classic skiing the lake look was our best decision of the day. In the two miles or so around the lake, we saw only two skiers. It was perfection. We’ll definitely do this loop again.
More skiing is on the agenda for tomorrow.