The first official day of cross country skiing here in Michigan’s was Saturday, November 6th. The best snow was of course on the local golf course – located high up in the hills and away from Lake Michigan.
Someone had actually beaten us to first tracks Saturday - logging a few miles of skating. Early season we opt for classic. Who else from the Glen Arbor/Empire area was going through ski withdrawal after a long summer as bad as we were? It must have been fellow snow addict Kevin Kelly or Mark Finstad?
It was a scramble to round up the ski gear. We never did find Keefer’s new Salomon Skiathlon Boots that we got from Big Bob at Cross Country Ski Headquarters after the Muffin Race. The skis had summer wax on them and needed a quick scrape and brush, but we did the best we could to hit the snow before it got to thin.
Hard to believe that 24 hours later we were Ski Walking (Nordic Walking) barefoot high up on the Sleeping Bear Dunes at Devils Hole. Barefoot and in tee shirts.
Traverse City was the first to have skiing in Michigan and the first to have ski racing in North America for the 2010-2011 season. A few weeks back thanks to the team at Brick Wheels, The VASA Ski Club and the snow/ski guru Eli Brown there was skiing in October. Eli brought skiing in October to Traverse City with a little help from the Zamboni at Howe Arena and a team of dedicated volunteers.
When it comes to early and late season cross country skiing the local golf course can be your best friend. Finding quality early and late season skiing is a huge gift. A few years back we were skiing mid/late April on the back fairway while golf poachers were sneaking in a few holes on some of the snowless fairways.
Please be sure to respect the golf course when skiing! NEVER ski on or near the tees and greens. And if the snow cover is thin ski on the edge of the fairways and not down the middle. If the snow pack is thin your skis will damage the grass and possibly get you and your fellow skiers banned from skiing on your local golf course.
Snow is in the forecast for next week.