Carleton College and the Northfield High School Nordic ski team are collaborating to provide improved grooming for cross-country skiing in the Cowling Arboretum. By working together, both groups hope to have improved skiing in the Arb, benefitting a wide range of skiers in our community.
A group of parents from the NHS Nordic team, along with Coach Dan Kust, have been meeting with arborteum director Nancy Braker in recent weeks to develop a creative plan to improve grooming in the Arb. “We’ve tried to develop a win-win solution for everyone involved—the Carleton community and its Nordic Club Team, the NHS Nordic Team, and skiers from the Northfield community,” notes Braker.
The first part of the solution involves a group of volunteer adults from the NHS team assisting Carleton with grooming the Upper Arb for skating and classic skiing as much as possible once the snow flies. Because the Upper Arb trails are used extensively by the NHS team for practice and meets, NHS Coach Kust says his group “will do whatever we can to improve skiing for all stakeholders in the Arb. We are very thankful for what Carleton has done for our team over the years.”
The second part of the solution includes posting signs on the groomed trails throughout the Arb to remind walkers to stay on the edge of the trail and to keep their dogs on leashes and their waste removed. Braker notes, “Many walkers are not aware that they are hiking on ski trails. Deep footprints from humans and dogs in the trail ruin the ski surface and can even make the trail unsafe if people catch their ski tips in the holes. Also, there has been a continuing problem of dog waste left on the trails.”
The improved trail grooming will also help the Northfield community. Ken Drivdahl, a world-ranked Nordic ski racer from Northfield says, “There is a sizable community of recreational and competitive Nordic skiers in Northfield, and many drive to the Twin Cities on a regular basis to find groomed trails. If this new system works, we can stay in town more often to ski.”
The NHS team has already raised funds to purchase their own used grooming snowmobile and will be raising additional funds to purchase grooming equipment. The team is also planning a “fun run” fundraiser to help with the final purchases of equipment.
In the mean time, we’re all looking forward to the snow!