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Ryan McCracken photo
Ryan McCracken photo
Jean Champagne takes part in the Iron Horse Cross Country Ski Tour, hosted by the Lakeland Cross Country Ski Club, from St. Paul to St. Edouard, on Sunday morning.
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'Hardy souls' take on Iron Horse Cross Country Ski Tour

Feb 04, 2014 11:15 am | By Ryan McCracken | St. Paul Journal

Twelve “hardy souls” took on the Iron Horse Cross Country Ski Tour this weekend, a trek from St. Paul to St. Edouard, and Lakeland Cross Country Ski Club President Pierre Lamoureux said that despite the weather, the conditions were quite favorable.

“The conditions were far better than I had imagined they would be . . . A huge thanks to the Trail Grooming Society and the St. Paul Trailblazers, they really came through for us,” he said, adding a special thanks to Marvin Bjornstad, who organized the event. “When ski conditions are tough, the tough get going. It’s a cliché but it applies.”

Lamoureux said grooming crews did an amazing job with the trail conditions heading into the weekend, and that the farther skiers traveled, the better the conditions became.

“The snow conditions were hard packed. We were looking at them all week, and Danny Smyl and Jerry Bidulock of the Trail Grooming Society said that east of town where we were skiing wasn’t bad,” he said. “It was icy and hard packed where a lot of the snow machine traffic was from the staging area to Highway 29, but just east of there conditions improved dramatically.”

Lamoureux added that while in recent years, some skiers have managed to go all the way to Armistice and then back to St. Paul, the headwind traveling west was too hazardous this year.

“Last year a couple of us skied to Armistice and all the way back, which I believe would be 42 km. This year a few of us went to Armistice, some skied back, but I’ll tell you it was a chilly headwind even from Armistice back to St. Edouard,” said Lamoureux. “It was actually hazardous to ski into that headwind too long, but luckily it was a downhill ski with wind at our backs.”

The Lakeland Cross Country Ski Club will be hosting a Family Day Retro Ski Day on Feb. 17 at the Cooknell trails north of St. Paul, inviting members to bring out their wood skis for some fun on the trails.

The club will also be holding a classic ski workshop on Feb. 23 at the Ag. Corral, hosted by Vaughn Cooper, a coach with Vermilion Nordic. Lamoureux said the event is open for members and non-members of all skill levels, as long as they have their own skis.

“The plan will be to ski at the golf course. If for some reason the trails aren’t good there we’ll spend more time grooming at the Cooknell trails, but we’re going to try to keep it simple at the golf course,” he said. “(Cooper) brings a video camera, and it really does a good job of showing people their own technique.”

The cost of the workshop is $10 for members and $20 for non-members, to register contact Pierre Lamoureux at (780) 645 5202.

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