A slightly out-of-focus Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II and the Grand Duchess Sonja pose for a photograph at Lapham Peak Nordic Ski Area yesterday.
Yesterday was an excellent skiing day! Out of the car, clipped into the ski bindings, and on the trails by 10:35 that morning. A foot of snow, temperatures in the mid-20s Fahrenheit, all trails open, deep tracks, occasional light snow, and not too many other skiers. Oh, and not too many falls either! I call falls "making snow angels with poles". Anyway, we got in almost three hours before lunch and then another two hours afterwards.
The best part of the day was during our final long descent at dusk, when they turn on the lights. For several hundred yards, you descend through a large grove of tall Fir and Hemlock trees as you approach the bottom of the run. It's like what I imagine skiing in parts of Austria or Southern Germany must be like. Amazing!
After changing into dry clothes, we headed to a nearby Greek/Latino quick-and-greasy diner that we like for a dinner of chicken kabobs and gyros sandwiches before the ride home, which was exciting to say the least. Once we crossed the state line just north of Rockford, Illinois, we drove into the front edge of a weather system that was the front edge of a blizzard out in Iowa. Not much additional snow, but frequent whiteout conditions thanks to high winds for about 100 miles along Interstate 39 south toward Bloomington.
At times, traffic was moving at about 20 mph, and all of us had our hazzard blinkers on, and we came to a full stop for several minutes at one point. For all that, we were only about an hour late arriving home and got here about 11:45pm, just in time for some more coffee, a few tangy Clementines, and another episode of Boston Legal (thanks to the arrival of a NetFlicks DVD in the mail yesterday) before drifting off to sleep at about 1am. It was a gloriously mispent Saturday!
Today, we are tired and stiff, but we are already planning our next skiing foray, which we will take right after the first of the year. Most likely we will head up to Houghton/Hancock Michigan, weather permitting, on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan -- actually the smaller Keewinaw Peninsula, which sticks out into Lake Superior like a little finger. When we camped up there during the summer of 2007, we discovered lots of Nordic skiing areas, including an impressive series of trails just off the campus of Michigan Tech, where the university's cross-country ski team trains each winter. Since the area is not too far from the lake, they get lots of snow up there during the winters. Needless to say, we are looking forward to the trip.