Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day One - Tofte to Lutsen (not quite)

Departed Mpls - 7am.
Sawtooth Outfitters in Tofte - 11am.

Owner, Jeff, Gave us some ideas feasibility of skiing from Onion River Road to Lutsen. "You may want some wider skis for that section".

Checking out Lake Superior
Heading up Tofte Trail
Kathy (Chief of Support) dropped us off at Bluefin Bay and drove to Onion River trail head where she skied westward along the Sugarbush Trails in hopes of meeting us. Tim and I hopped on the Tofte Trail and skied a long climb nearly to the top of Carlton Peak. We then headed east to meet Kathy.  The three of us skied the Northern section of Picnic Loop - which was spectacular. Hilly with views of Lake Superior to the South and a dramatic valley of Six Mile Creek to the North. Don't let me forget to tell you about the snow and the tracks. Six inches over the weekend and newly groomed trail gave us firm tracks for striding and soft snow for control on some exciting downhills. New snow on branches. See photos below.

It was getting late when we glided in to Onion River Trail Head where our van (The Beige Stallion) was waiting. The topo map posted at the trail head showed no easy want to cover the five kms to Lutsen Road. One map says "Back Country" but we are not sure we will find a path (with likely downed trees). So we put off this section for Thursday morning.

A stop at the Lutsen information desk supplied no additional information. We were hoping a route over the downhill area's Mystery Mountain - or something as fun.

Inflated by amazing conditions and scenery and deflated by this, seemingly impassable obstacle, we headed for our lodging at Cascade River. Limited web access there. So we are in Grand Marais, in our car, grabbing the internet from Sven and Ole's. Hopefully tomorrow will be as terrific as today.


North Shore Trek Product Review
Atomic SkinTec

Tim Crampton - my North Shore Ski Trek partner, picked up a pair of SkinTecs just a couple days before our departure. Tim had heard SkinTecs are a no-wax ski that gets a great kick in any condition and glides better than other no-wax skis. He was not ready for the performance he found on the North Shore's Picnic Loop. He raved. He was thrilled with the kick and he flew down the hills. Tim is a double-pole fiend and he loved how he could power his new skis on the flats.

I was impressed as I tried to keep up to Tim and his new SkiTecs.

I watched him stride up the long climbs on the Picnic Loop with solid kick and glide with terrific speeds down the winding track. Missing was the tell-tail singing and drag of fish scales. As an outside observer I can say the Atomic SkinTec lived up to the promises of performance no-wax ski that delivers both kick and glide.