News & Stories
Anwatin Ski Team’s Winter Trip to Camp du Nord
This past weekend, 27 skiers from the Anwatin Ski Team took their annual winter skiing trip up to Camp du Nord near Ely, MN. We drove up Friday afternoon through brown highways into a promising northwoods evening scene of pine trees and fluffy white snow. We stopped at Hidden Valley Ski Trails in Ely and skied through the curving, hilly terrain into nightfall. The stillness of the woods and excitement of the playful trails were fulfilling enough, but some lucky kids even witnessed some wolves!
Later that evening, we arrived at our lodging for the weekend: three gorgeous wooden cabins right off of Lake Burntside. The kids immediately set about making themselves right at home, and we settled in for the first night’s sleep.
In the morning, we fueled up on some eggs and potatoes, and went out for a long ski on the adjacent North Arm Ski Trails. These trails are classic-only, which makes for an intimate proximity to surrounding trees and nature, and there are 42 kilometers of options that go in and out of the Boundary Waters Wilderness Area; it was like exploring a new playground! Trails called, “Hug-A-Tree” and bridges called “Troll’s Bridge” led us around to all sorts of delightful environments. “The Griz” was a hit, consisting of some major roller downhills, particularly exciting when it was a little icier in the morning. The trails were fast in the morning, and a little slushier in the afternoon, but the warm temperatures and adjusted understanding of what it meant to go “Spring Skiing” made for a fun time overall. We skied again that afternoon, and the sun was in fine form. Skiers lined up single-file along the trails, and wove their way through the trees. We were treated to a dinner made by the Camp Staff that evening, which was delicious and much appreciated, and later they stoked up the camp sauna for us. Nearly all of the kids came out to the sauna that evening, and as the sun went back down, every single kid who went into the sauna jumped into the hole in the lake outside. An impressive feat. Most of them went in multiple times, sometimes even multiple times per outing. That was a huge highlight.
The next morning, we took one more ski out into the North Arm trails, and tipped out hats (or lack of) to the red squirrels that seemed to run the forest, and started our cleaning up process. While a few of us put the final touches on the cabin cleaning, the kids were challenged to a snowman making contest, and we ended up with quite the army of snowmen: grumpy snowman, skiing snowman, self-portrait snowman, koala bear snowman…the list goes on.
We took the scenic route home, in hopes of stopping along the North Shore for a quick look-around. We ended up stopping just before Duluth at Brighton Beach, which was a perfect leg-stretch and one last soaking in the fresh air before it was back to the Cities.
The weekend went by quickly, as it always does, but the ritual spring snow melting, the smell of the soil coming out of hibernation, the continuous uproar of middle schoolers’ energy and laughter, the excitement of seeing new wildlife or seeing Lake Superior for the first time; those things will stick with us.