A chili day at Detroit Mountain: Nordic Ski club preps for a winter wonderland
The Detroit Lakes Area Nordic Ski Club held an informational meeting for new members on Dec. 4 at Detroit Mountain and there was plenty of chili. In only two years, the club has grown to more than 130 members and volunteers, which is the making of an amazing community centered on cross-country skiing and trail stewardship through Becker County's beautiful landscapes, said Lin Peterson, president of the club.
With members new and old eating bowls of chili and delicious desserts, the Detroit Lakes Nordic Ski Club kicked off its winter season with an informational meeting at Detroit Mountain on Saturday.
Dozens gathered Dec. 4 to hear about the club's upcoming events and volunteer opportunities associated with maintaining the more than 40 miles of Nordic ski trails in the Becker County area. Lin Peterson, president of the Nordic ski club, said they've grown to more than 130 members in only two years, which is the making of a strong cross-country skiing community in the area.
"It's a great outdoor recreation thing that you can do in the winter time," said Peterson. "You can just take your skis, throw them in the car, go for a great work out, be in woods, don't see anybody, it's quiet, it's peaceful and you're just outside."
Starting in 2019, Peterson said the club formed to coordinate the trail grooming between federal, state and local agencies because the trails are all located in wilderness preserves, state and county parks, and local business lands.
"The DNR doesn't have a groomer, the county doesn't have a groomer, the feds don't have a groomer, so we kind of put it all together," he said. "We found equipment, bought equipment if we needed it, and we just kind of became the coordinators for all of this grooming that's going on."
He also encouraged ski club members to adopt certain trails they enjoy to keep them ski worthy and free of debris.
The club owns snowmobiles with grooming attachments and the 40 miles of trails get groomed every week, he said. First, the groomer breaks up the hard pack snow and clears debris from the glide lane, then, a final device finishes the combing and also installs a dual-glide groove used in a specific type of Nordic skiing.
Trail updates, maps, events and current conditions can be found on the club's website or Facebook page , he added.
"We're trying to build a community of skiers," said Peterson. "The social stuff is what keeps the skiers glued together, working together. Because, when you think about it, this is a very individual sport."
The club is also building a cross-country equipment lodge on the Detroit Mountain property, which, he hopes, will entice some of the "ski-moms" at the mountain to try cross-country skiing while their kids are having fun on the downhill side of the facility.
Upcoming events hosted by the club are: Tamarac Ski Days on Jan. 30 and a 2022 Polar Fest event on Feb. 20.
"We're going to shuttle from the Tamarac parking lot … we're going to shuttle up to the trail head and then we'll ski it all the way back," he said. "That trail is about a six-mile trail, so it's pretty long, but it's easy. It's good for kids."
The group has an annual budget of $15,000, which breaks down to $5,000 from membership dues and donations, $5,000 from Becker County as reimbursement for trail grooming services, and $5,000 from corporate partners, said Peterson, during a new member presentation.
He said he also wants to educate non-Nordic skiers to try and stay off the dual-grooved ski trails when they are out hiking in the area's wilderness trails because skiers can lose control if the grooves are broken.
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