Back in 1776, Thomas Paine wrote "These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
Paine was not thinking of treacherous icy cross country ski trails. But I was. If I am truly to be your loyal correspondent about North Shore trails and experiences, I must ski them. Shrink from the service of my readers? Nay.
A slight dusting of snow had fallen during the day. Would it be enough to turn the crusty remnants of ski trails in Duluth into something skiable, even fun? I went to the Spirit Mountain cross country trails to find out. The word on SkinnySki.com was that these trails still had 100% coverage. Yeah, of ice.
A few days back, Jena Ogsten posted on SkinnySki regarding the Piedmont ski trails, "These conditions are really only for those who must really love to nordic ski."
The Pete Fosseide 5K is one of my favorite trails in the area, and I hadn't skied it this year. It was the worst ski trip of the year. I bloodied myself (well, my knuckle, but it hurt!) as I fell on an ice flow. I had to pick my route through the ruts. The normally joyous downhills were minefields of ice and grass. It took me 40 minutes to "ski" the 5K loop, nearly twice as long as normal.
So now do I deserve "the love and thanks of man and woman?," as Paine suggested? No, I deserve to have my skis taken away and locked up for the season.