Archived Story

Snowfall a boon for outdoors enthusiasts

Published 11:12am Tuesday, December 11, 2012

After enduring a snowless winter, skiers and snowmobilers are rejoicing after a December storm dumped up to 16 inches of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest, and 5 inches locally.

Trails are being groomed, and Spidahl Ski Gaard will open to the public Friday, said owner David Spidahl

“Not all of the trails will be open,” he said. “It will be based on what’s skiable.”

Snowmobilers were seen on Monday around Fergus Falls, which received 4 to 6 inches of snow over the weekend. However, while the snow was a good start, it wasn’t enough to allow the snowmobile trail groomers to operate, according to Rick Kraning, president of the Otter Country Trail Association.

“It’s definitely a great start compared to last year; we don’t normally get this much snow this early in December,” said Kraning, whose group maintains about 400 miles of area snowmobile trails. “We could use about 6 to 8 more inches to get the groomers going.”

Ande’s Tower Hills, a ski resort near Kensington, received 4 to 5 inches of snow, which, combined with ideal snowmaking conditions — temperatures in the teens and low humidity — means all the runs are open. Ande’s had been partially open since Thanksgiving.

“The snow was absolutely fabulous,” said Ande’s staff member Janet Novak. “We are now open, full bore.”

While wintry weather conditions brings fun in the snow, it also comes with some extra work. The Home Depot in Fergus Falls sold around 15 snow blowers Sunday, said employee Dan Adkins.

“We still have plenty in stock, but sales have increased quite a bit,” he said.

John Munger of Minneapolis says he took to Theodore Wirth Park to cross-country ski as the snow was falling Sunday. Munger heads a foundation dedicated to promoting cross-country skiing, and says it’s been a tough year-and-a-half for cross-country skiers without any snow.

At Lutsen (LOOT’-sehn) Mountains 90 miles northeast of Duluth, marketing director Jim Vick says you could “hear the hoots and hollers” as skiers went down the slopes.

AP and Daily Journal reports

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