Caribou Highlands Blog

Ski Update: January 17

Current Conditions

On the morning of Monday, January 15, skiers were itching to get on the lifts to shred the 5-8 inches of gorgeous snow we had received inthe prior 24 hours. Powder was abundant and the mountain was generous enough to leave plenty of runs un-groomed so we could enjoy it. The tree runs on Eagle Mountain and Moose Mountain saw tons of use and Ullr Mountain had some wonderfully powdered runs, which allowed beginners to experience the feel of fresh snow underfoot.
On the frigid morning of Tuesday, January 16,  I made sure to wake up early and get the first chair on Moose Mountain to absolutely rip through the freshly groomed runs. With almost nobody else on the hill, I covered nearly 20 runs in a little over two hours. The snow is fast and awesome.

Where to get the most runs in.

As we move into prime season with great weather, the ideal way to avoid traffic is not to avoid a certain place but rather to avoid a certain time - weekends. If at all possible, try to come ski Monday-Thursday. You will often have entire runs to yourself and can enjoy the hills all day.

Best Run Right Now

Experts Cutoff is slightly tricky to find and even harder to successfully send (As the name implies, be careful). Onthe easier side, we have the mega long and mega gorgeous Caribou Curve which is a groomed run through the thick forests on the far side of Moose Mountain.

Best Hidden Gem Right Now

The fresh powder left some amazing snow between the trees on the Chalet-side of Moose Mountain so go get it while the conditions are still good!

Best Bet For Beginners

Ullr Montain has opened up the majority of it's runs and is an excellent beginner mountain. The lift is a short ride and has close proximity to shuttle drop off. The runs are not steep, fast, or skinny.

Best Bet For Intermediates

Rip down the groomers on the Chalet-side of Moose Mountain before taking an afternoon trip to the fun and windy runs of Mystery Mountain.

Best Bet For Experts

The Moguls are up on Hari Kari, did you keep your legs in shape enough to hit them?

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Ski Update: December 27

Current Conditions

More and more runs are opening up as we continue forward into prime season. Starting on Christmas Day, we were getting hit with a cold-freeze, which is still here and will last the next few days. Please don't ski without goggles and a face mask during these cold temperatures! We will be approaching temperatures up to negative 25 degrees where frostbite can take affect in under a half hour. Stay warm and see you out there!

Where to get the most runs in.

Moose Mountain is still the best bet to get the most runs in during a day. Bridge Chair got fairly crowded last weekend but that will change during busier days when 10th Mountain Chair opens up.

Best Run Right Now

Split Rock into Koo Koo into Raven. Or Split Rock into Hari Kari. Both options are incredibly fast when the cold snow is gripping like it is lately.

Best Hidden Gem Right Now

The first terrain park has been opened on the left side of Bridge Run.  Should be within sight of our condo buildings.

Best Bet For Beginners

Mogen and then follow it into either Lodge or Bridge run. These runs are very gradual and clear to follow, aren't steep, and have very beginner friendly terrain.

Best Bet For Intermediates

Any combination of runs on Moose Mountain will be perfect at this level. There are a lot of blue runs to follow.

Best Bet For Experts

More and more of the black diamonds on the back of Eagle Mountain are opening up and they are just plain awesome.

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Fat Tire Biking Up The Shore This Winter

If you are staying at Caribou Highlands and want to go fat tire biking, the Superior Cycling Association is there to help. They are working hard to make this section of the North Shore a winter fat tire mecca.

“The Superior Cycling Association is kind of the go to cycling organization in the county,” said Tim Kennedy of the Superior Cycling Association. “Last year we started opening trails at Pincushion Mountain for fat tire biking.”

The group is working to fill this need because they know there is a demand. Fat tire biking is growing fast in popularity, especially in the winter. The idea behind fat tires is simple; build a bike with really wide tires. Now people can cruise down winter trails that they couldn’t even bike at all before.

“There are so many more people who own fat bikes and know that winter riding is an alternative to putting the bike away for the winter,” said Tim.

The Superior Cycling Association gets permission from the US Forestry Department when making these trails. Last year the Forestry Department gave them permission to groom some trails for fat tire biking. But, they wanted the group to ease into this new venture and keep things low profile.

“This last year we groomed about 8 km but we weren’t really advertising it except through bike shops and word of mouth,” said Tim. “This year we will promote through the visitor centers that the trails are there.”

Besides the Pincushion Mountain endeavors, the association is working on adding many more miles to the sport of fat biking. They are currently working on a trail that will go from Cascade Lodge to Lutsen Ski Hill.

The Superior Cycling Association is about much more than just fat biking. They are working on building up to 120 miles of track in Cook County and they promote biking in general in the area. They just now have something to do in the winter.

The trails are not the only way to enjoy fat biking in the area, though probably this is the most accessible way of doing this. You can ride on city roads, where those big wide tires will help you when you hit a patch of ice or snow. Sometimes forest roads and logging roads are also suitable for fat biking. Occasionally, you can fat tire bike without any kind of manmade trails at all.

“Sometimes if the conditions are right and the snow firms up you can just go out anywhere,” said Tim. “Last year when we had all those icy conditions the crust on the snow got really heavy and you could go anywhere. It was like concrete on the top of the snowpack. People were just riding through the woods.”

What a rare treat that was to be able to go quickly into areas of the woods were people can’t usually go. You could go these places with snowshoes, but you would cover much less ground. In a sense the whole forest became a super highway.

The secret to success of the fat tire bikes is similar to that of skis and snowshoes. When you are riding on ice and snow it is good to spread your weight onto a larger surface area.

“That is the nature of fat biking, with the wide tires and the low pressure you can do things that you normally wouldn’t be able to do with a regular bike, ” said Tim.

People who just plain love biking will enjoy not having to switch gears when winter comes. They can leave the rack on the car and keep peddling. As a cycling enthusiast, Tim’s explanation for the popularity of fat bikes is simple.

“You get to ride in the wintertime,” said Tim. “You can keep biking.”

 

 

Photo credits

Fat Tire Biker by Visit Lakeland licensed under CC-BY-ND 2.0

Fat Tire Bike by Jereme Rauckman  licensed under CC BY 2.0

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