After training to ski the Birkie, and eating a little extra during tapering, I was itching to get my skis on one more time this season. The snowstorm missed the Hayward/Cable area, but had dumped up to a foot in areas of Wisconsin.
I checked the snow depth reports and SkinnySki.com and determined that Tower Ridge in Eau Claire County was the best place to drown my tears in a pile-o-snow. I arrived to see a parking lot full of cars with Birkie and Korte stickers. There were so many skiers wearing the 2017 Birkie Participant hat — some were even wearing their race bibs.
It was a warm day for a ski, in the mid-30’s. The snow that had fallen had compacted a bit on the trail. It was the kind of snow that would make an excellent snowman. I wore my ski new boots purchased that weekend in Hayward and some light layers and joined the masses in wearing my Birkie hat.
There were lots of smiles on the trail. Lots of us gathered at intersections to try to figure out which direction to take — meaning there were lots of us first-timers. I chatted with people from Minneapolis and bumped into maybe 20 MadNorSki club members.
Tower Ridge is a beautiful trail high in the hills with views of beautiful forests below. I didn’t get to ski the whole trail — rumor was that the groomer had a break down — but I really enjoyed the blue and yellow loop portions that I skied. The course was fairly flat, but had a few nice hills. The layout was a bit confusing for my taste and it seemed like the whole trail was two-way traffic, which is probably fine when there are fewer skiers out there, but there were a few hill climbs where I hopped out of the way for skiers heading down.
I was so happy to spend some time on my skis this weekend and Tower Ridge was a great place to spend a couple of hours in the woods on my way home from the 2017 Birkie that wasn’t.