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The search for perfect snow


Fri, Feb 4th, 2005
Posted in Features

Judging by the meltdown from white to grizzle, this will be another imperfect winter. Warm temperatures, unseasonable rain, snowmobiles, 4-wheelers and skiers gobble up cross-country tracks. Ski enthusiasts are reminded that the search for perfect snow is futile. Some prefer backwoods trails blazed in sweat by skiers trudging down steep hills, through meandering valleys in State forests like Wet Bark, southwest of Houston. Others like groomed bike trails. Regardless, the quality of skiing depends largely on the quality of snow.

Remember when winter was winter, when fresh snow replenished ski trails, sledding hills and toboggan runs regularly between Thanksgiving and Easter? New snow on a compact base is good. But in the time the sun takes to poke through clouds, good snow can disappear. Anyone who skis on early-season snow gummy with leaves and grass, who braves the coldest, windiest days just to revel in the warm late-season, sleeves up, rocky slickspots everywhere, knows that perfect snow is a rare find.

For those who have never skied, there are few essentials: a pair of good cross-country skis, quick-release bindings, comfortable boots, sturdy poles. Cost of gear starts around $250, but under the spell of an outfitter who sizes skis to your weight and height, fits you with a proper boot and talks you through pole and binding choices, dont be surprised if you spend $500, or more.

Down south here in the border counties, bright Spandex bodysuits and crowd-pleasing accessories are optional. Like any winter activity, however, the right clothing is important. When you ski, know the temperature, the wind chill, the forecast, and dress in layers accordingly. Skiing is work. Wear a wind shell that can breathe. Underclothes of wicking fabric move sweat to the outer layers. You stay warm.

State land and trails in this area are seldom crowded with skiers. On a recent warm Sunday I counted a dozen skiers along the Root River near Whalan. The low ski turnout has clear advantages and disadvantages. Safety is the biggest issue for accomplished skiers and novices alike. Even on groomed tracks the Root River Trail is a relatively tame cross-country experience compared to backwoods skiing -- it is entirely possible to find yourself flat on your back miles from the next town, out of sight of the road and nearby houses. Always tell someone where you plan to ski, when youll be back. A .....
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Fillmore County District Court: Escapee returns to Fillmore County to face 1999 charges

Fri, Feb 4th, 2005
Posted in Features

Ronnie LeRoy Snyder, 38, Calmar, Iowa, was charged in Fillmore County District Court on Monday, January 31, 2005, with several felony charges dating back to 1999. Snyder, who was recently serving time in other states, was released to Fillmore County ..... 
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Commissioners endorse AMC transportation plan

Fri, Feb 4th, 2005
Posted in Features

The Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) has instituted a set of funding proposals for investment in rural and urban highways within the state. The county board passed a resolution in support of these proposals including a gas tax increase of five ..... 
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Bowling still strikes it big

Fri, Feb 4th, 2005
Posted in Features

Mention anything about bowling, and people will usually smile. Something about it is funny. Maybe its the simple action of a heavy ball rolling down a slick lane and crashing noisily into the white pins. Its the stuff a good old Tom & Jerry or Road ..... 
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Fillmore Central School Board: District allocates $25,000 for technology upgrades Central School Board

Fri, Jan 28th, 2005
Posted in Features

The following is a brief summary of the Falcons January school board meeting based on an interview with Supt. Myrna Luehmann.

The districts technology advisor, Jeff Thompson, presented a state of the district report on the scho ..... 
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Rushford City Council Report: Council puts confidence in Lebakken

Fri, Jan 28th, 2005
Posted in Features

At their regular city council meeting January 24, the Rushford City Council members authorized Mayor T.S. Roberton to spend up to $8,000 for the advice and services of Merle Lebakken of Lebakken Consulting regarding the backup generators and the powe ..... 
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EIS ordered on Heartland

Fri, Jan 28th, 2005
Posted in Features

Every once in awhile David gets lucky and beats Goliath. Such was the case Tuesday night in St. Paul when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Citizens Board rejected a PCA staff recommendation and ordered that an Environmental Impact Statement wa ..... 
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Courthouse remodel under budget

Fri, Jan 28th, 2005
Posted in Features

Dean Sand oversees construction and management of the county court house project and says that the project is in very good shape for coming in under budget. Chairman Chuck Amunrud inquired as to whether the county would recover the $300,000 plus le ..... 
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Whats next for Heartland?

Fri, Jan 28th, 2005
Posted in Features

When asked how she felt after the MPCA Citizens Board had voted 6 to 1 to require an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Heartland tire-burning plant, Fran Sauer, President of Southeastern Minnesotans for Environmental Protection, said, ..... 
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