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Tour Duluth 2012: SKI THEM ALL - Best North Shore - Best North Shore

Tour Duluth 2012: SKI THEM ALL


Hans at Chester Bowl, Trail #5, 1:45 PM
Tour Duluth is the year-end celebration of Duluth’s great cross country ski trails. It’s organized by the Duluth Cross Country Ski Club, or DXC for short. Duluth has over 80 kilometers of groomed ski trails spread from far west to far east, and including both city trails, a private system, and the University’s nature area trail. 
Mark at the Magney Ski Trail trailhead. Trail #1, 8:30 AM
We were going to SKI THEM ALL. Some people try to ski all 80-plus kilometers in a day. Not me. It was quantity over quality for me. I was determined to ski at least two kilometers at each trail system. I called my friend Mark the day before and invited him and his skiing teenage son to join us  for the big day, and he was game. He brought Logan and another Denfeld skier, Kai.
Hanging over the whole plan was a forbidding weather forecast. Way too sunny and warm. While the day started at about 22 degrees, it was going to climb into the 50s by the afternoon. 50 degrees was going to turn our ample snow into slush. The 2012 cross country ski season was going to end this day, and we were going to take it out with a glorious bang.
We went roughly from east to west, following the schedule DXC had set up. At each of the trailheads in the morning, we’d see friends and colleagues. Some were out for the Tour. More were out for the glorious day. The city groomers had been out the day before and conditions were the best of the year. I called Sally and urged her to join us at Piedmont, our favorite local trail.

Sally at Piedmont, Trail #3, 10:45 AM

At Piedmont, we felt like champions as we skied past the casual crowd. Lunch was at the famous Snowflake Nordic, home of Olympians and state champions. All of a sudden, our little promenade of underachieving skiers seemed teeny, as fancy racers with expensive skis glided circles around us. But were any of them going to SKI THEM ALL? I don’t think so.

After Snowflake, it was about the pride. The next two trails had hardly been touched, even on busy Tour Duluth. Who could ever skip the roller coaster rides of Chester Park and Bagley Nature Area?! Obviously, some people just weren’t in the spirit.

Logan at Bagley, Trail #6, 2:30 PM

We took a short break in the afternoon. Hans had to get ready for a date, so we left Mark, Logan and Kai to finish the challenge. I went out again at 4:30, as the sun was headed to the horizon, and skied my last two trails.

Me at Lester Park, Trail #7, 5:00 PM.

Tired and proud, I made it to the year-end club potluck, turned in my form, and headed home. I put away my skis and took the ski box off the top of the car. Ski season is over.

At middle age, it’s hard to find those landmarks to check off as life passes by. Days turn into weeks turn into years. Suddenly our children are adults and my legs just aren’t as strong as they were. But this year, 2012, is the year that I SKIED THEM ALL.


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