The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

Skating on Lakes

This has been a terrible winter so far – we’ve had almost no snow!

However, one of the few good things about not having much snow is that the lakes are good for skating and/or skiing. Down by the big lake, there is nothing. No snow at all – just dingy green grass. But go inland a ways and you’ll find that the lakes have a good 8+ inches of ice, and are mostly snow-covered.

On Little Alden Lake (about 5 miles due East of Boulder Lake), we went skiing all over the lake, down the Cloquet River, and over to Big Alden Lake. Most of the skiing was… decent. There were a few icy spots, and a few places where the water was seeping up through cracks or ice fishing holes. We felt safe the whole time, since we were generally following the tracks of snowmobiles.

For someone looking to ski, the inland lakes seem like the best bet right now.

For ice skating, there’s just a bit too much snow to make for smooth skating.

Unless you find a neighbor with a plow on their ATV.

We had clipped on our skates (Nordic skates, a blade that clips onto your XC ski boot – super comfy) and ventured out onto the snowy ice.

And didn’t get very far.

The snow was just deep enough to make skating not really feasible. Well, that’s okay – that’s what shovels are for! We cleared a four-foot wide and twenty foot long strip and were able to go back and forth, and we thought we were skatin’ in style.

That was when one of the lake neighbors came over and offered to use his ATV with plow attachment to clear off the ice. How could we say no? We didn’t.

Here he is, moving way more snow than we would have been able to move in an afternoon:


















And he kept going!

By the time he was done, he had made half a dozen passes around a quarter-mile loop on the lake, and then finished up with a little rink right off the beach. Here is a collection of pictures, stitched together into a single panorama of the finished product:

Several other neighbors came over to check out his work, and by the time we left, adults and little kids from all around the lake were skating and enjoying the beautiful day.

What a great example of how a generous person with the right tools can bring together a group of neighbors.


One response

  1. What a great story! Love the idea of folks coming out to skate the loop–a true-life if-you-build-it-they-will-come story!

    December 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

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