Winter solstice on the north side classical trails

With temperatures at -5 deg F and about an inch of new snow, the remedial SCUM headed out toward the north side classical trails to do trail grooming the way it was done 40 years ago (i.e. skiing in the tracks). Here Mom, who remembers skiing in tracks, skis a more direct route than Ken had set before the snow.

Photo by Joanna Fox

It was almost sunrise as we skied through the birch and aspen:

Photo by Dan Johnson

Some trail sections were total spruce forests:

Photo by Joanna Fox

These spruce made us think of Christmas trees, which we’d later find totally trimmed for Santa’s visit.

Before seeing the decorated Christmas trees, we saw the bear skull on the trail:

Bear skull and Dan Johnson for size perspective–photo by Joanna Fox

and we got to the Really Steep Down HIll Bypass. But given the conditions, we could head straight down the RSDH:

Photo by Joanna Fox

Here is a clip of Dan Johnson on the RSDH:

And here is one of the two Christmas trees we found with cookies and candy canes decorating the branches:

We all agreed that skiing the Classical Bear, North Star, and Aurora Run was a great choice for a chilly, snowy morning near winter solstice.

Here’s a few parting shots:

Mom after a surprise run-in with Dan
Bernardo’s SCUMsicle after our leisurely ski–last 2 photos by Joanna Fox

Until the groomers get back out to the North Classical trails, we’ve skied them in for your enjoyment.

Glistening hoarfrost and perfect classical tracks

Although temperatures in town this morning were well below -30 deg F, the sun was out, skies were bluebird blue, and the temperature in the Birch Hill stadium was -16 to -18 deg F, depending on which thermometer you cared to believe. With days getting longer and the Sonot Kkaazoot just 11 weeks away, it definitely was a day to enjoy the enhanced sunlight of the South Side Classic Loops. However, to warm up, we skied the Relay and Tower Loops before heading down the White Cub and White Bear to SCUM corner where we assembled for a group photo before crossing Beacon Road over to Fort Wainwright.

2014 SCUM

Descending down the Sonot Connector, we skied past the Blackhawk Loop to the Chinook Loop that has bright southern exposure that warms a clear, chilly day.

White bear map_trimmed

Here Robert and Sam stop briefly to help the Sonot blogger demonstrate ski conditions.

Sam&Robert on Chinook_sm

We definitely saw more moose prints than skier face plants and had both trails entirely to ourselves. With blood and enthusiasm flowing even in distant appendages, we skied the Blackhawk and then headed back up the Sonot Connector:

Sam & Robert on Sonot Connector_sm

The overachieving SCUM went ahead and did the other White Bear Classical Trails, but the group gradually found their way back to the warming hut for coffee and conversation while cars and bodies warmed up again.