Date: February 7, 2015
Total time: 2 hours 46 minutes
Distance: 13.1 Miles
Lapham Peak , located in the Kettle Moraine Forest just outside of Milwaukee, is a Nordic skier’s dream — as long as there is snow to ski on. The ski area is located in a state park, so you need both a vehicle sticker and a state trail pass to ski there. But hey — you need all that stuff anyway to enjoy the state parks and bike on the state trails, so why not purchase them early in the year during ski season.
Lapham Peak’s trail features:
The Evergreen Lodge — a cozy warming house with fireplace, bathrooms and water fountain (or bubbler if you prefer.)
A lit loop that features both hills and flat sections.
Man-made snow for emergencies.
A black loop that is basically 6.5 miles of hills.
On site rentals
A secondary lodge at the Homestead Parking trailhead
Also, the Lapham Peak ski trail is really well marked, despite having lots of options. I also love the way many of the trail features have names with great little signs, such as: Asthma Hill, Roller Coaster and The Splits.
If you park at the Evergreen Lodge, in the first mile of the black loop you have to tackle a serious climb. It’s not crazy steep, so it’s skatable, but it’s super long so you will find skiers taking a break at the top (or in the middle a couple of times.)
Then the trail a really fun downhill followed by some shorter rolling hills. After that, the trail just continues to be hilly. I think the hill by the fire tower is actually more challenging than the first hill, but that may be due to the fact that I’m completely wiped out by then.
I headed to Lapham Peak to try to get in as many hill miles as I can for peak training prior to the Birkie. The problem was that it was a very warm day — between 40-50 degrees. I waxed my skis the day before with HF7 (high fluoro) pink wax, which I was getting decent glide off of, but the snow was pretty warm, so it was a slow ski. I overheated during my first loop, so I spent some time in the lodge to cool down.
I dropped an upper layer and put my hair in a ponytail so I could ski without a hat on (yes, it was that kind of warm.) I had a flashback to the nordic ski racers at last year’s Olympics who were skiing in shorts and t-shirts.
I finished one more black loop and decided to call it a day. I didn’t get the mileage in that I was hoping for, but got plenty of hill work in less than optimal conditions.