Four years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a few days over in Oberhof, Germany, spending a some time roller skiing on their ski trails. I was amazed by a number of things there, including the commitment to nordic skiing through out the year.
The ski trails were challenging by my standards, but very ski-able on roller skis or Skikes because of the high quality paved surface and their commitment to sweep the trails on a regular basis. It was nice going down a trail, knowing you were not going to find gravel, sticks, and other garbage that could cause a sudden stop of your rolling wheels.
More impressive though, was their obvious commitment to making snow during the winter months. I’ve Nordic skied a number of different areas, a couple with snow making, but never to the extent of Oberhof. I was amazed by the equipment along the trails and the infrastructure set up for putting down snow. It got me wondering if I would eventually see more of this in the United States.
The area where I have skied on the most that has man made snow is in Brighton, MI, on the outskirts of Metropolitan Detroit. Its location allows many people to have an extended Nordic ski season, and provides quality conditions for many others to learn on. It is always nice to plan on a ski outing and know there will be snow.
Huron Meadows Metropark creates the 1.5 mile loop by blowing a mountain of snow and then spreading it as needed though out the winter. I’m always amazed with the ribbon of snow through the woods, when you would think it would be impossible.
I’m excited about another area that is putting in a state of the art snow making system in Fredric, MI this summer. Forbush Corners, with a generous gift from longtime friend and skier, Frank Nizio is building the system this summer that will create a 2.5 kilometer loop, with an infrastructure that will allow them to quickly cover the trail with snow. It will be nice to be able to plan a ski trip to this area of Michigan, that has numerous quality Nordic ski trails, two that will now have snow making (Cross Country Ski HQ, in Roscommon, has had some snow making the past few seasons) knowing that there will be at least a few miles of trails that are snow covered in snow.