Wisconsin Skis: Back on the Trails in 2017

I haven’t written a blog post since April.

I’ve been busy. I married my best friend, changed my name, hiked through Zion National Park, rode bikes with friends and ran with my lab. My full time job has kept on my toes and I’ve filled my free time with developer meet-ups and volunteer work. 

But now it’s ski season and I’m signed up for another Birkie. 

December blanketed Wisconsin with some early season snow and I’ve been lucky enough to get my skis on six times so far. I feel like my technique has improved a lot over the years, thanks in large part to lessons from the MadNorSki Club volunteers. Although the snow cover in Madison has mostly melted, the club has created some man-made snow at Elver Park this year which will really benefit local skiers.

Luckily, there is still some excellent snow cover in the Northwoods. On Friday, I traveled to Minocqua Winter Park and happily paid the $15 fee to ski their well-groomed, hilly trails. The lodge was packed with families on Winter break there to enjoy tubing hill as well as the ski trails. But once I got a few kilometers away from the lodge, the trails were serene and challenging. 

I have also gotten to ski a few times on the Moccasin Lake Ski Trail this year. This trail in Langlade County is close to my heart because it is the trail my father has groomed for many years. He trains for the Birkie almost exclusively on this trail and is an expert on its twists and turns. A portion of the trail (The Luge) is currently closed due to logging, but much of the trail is still in excellent shape. You can still ski down the Muskellunge and back up The Expressway to get a good, hilly workout.

The Moccasin Lake Ski Trail is challenging because the skate deck is not very wide in sections. The groomer also cannot break up the snow and lay it back down like some of the larger ski trails can with a PistenBully groomer. It actually makes for great training for the Birkie where you need to be prepared for all sorts of trail conditions and you may not be able to access your full extension due to the number of other skiers on the trail. 

This year, I feel strong. I have been working on keeping my skis flatter and having better weight transfer on each glide which has really helped my hill climbing technique. Now I just need to get my cardio up to the task of a 51K ski race from Cable to Hayward this February. 

Hopefully we will get more snow in Madison this year and I can write more about our local ski trails, but I also hope to spend more time visiting ski trails throughout Wisconsin this season.