Local (local ski information from MidwestWeekends.com)
Snow conditions: To see whether there’s enough snow for skiing, call the city hot line, 218-730-4321, or check the Skinnyski.com trail reports. Information: The Duluth XC Ski Club lists information about tours, clinics, races and grooming schedules. Maps: Duluth Parks and Recreation will send the current red-and-blue maps of each trail, 218-730-4300. Ski rental: The Ski Hut, which has locations near downtown and in West Duluth on Grand Avenue, rents cross-country skis.
Snowflake Nordic Center: Rentals are $10 per day. Hartley Nature Center and Spirit Mountain (see below) also rent skis.
Lester-Amity: This 15-kilometer trail, groomed for skating as well as striding, is the most popular trail in town, easily reached from East Superior Street at 61st Avenue. It’s first to be groomed, and its giant firs provide good protection from wind.
In early morning and evening, 5 kilometers are lighted. An adjoining 3-kilometer loop on the Lester Park Golf Course is good for beginners.
Hartley Park: These wooded loops, in a residential neighborhood, include 5 kilometers of double-tracked classical trails. There’s a hilly outer loop and a gentler inner loop, good for families and beginners.Hartley Nature Center rents skis and snowshoes.
You can also snowshoe on the Superior Hiking Trail, which cuts through the park. It’s just north of UMD, off Woodland Avenue; turn left after Fairmont Street.
Piedmont: This 5-kilometer trail in the hills near Enger Park, off U.S. 53/Piedmont Avenue, is double-tracked for classical skiing and includes an overlook of the St. Louis River valley. It’s not too hilly and is good for beginners and intermediates.
Magney-Snively: This hilly 14-kilometer trail has a classical track and a skating lane and is best for intermediate and advanced skiers. The trail winds from Snively Park to the city limits and adjoining Magney Park, each of which has a stunning overlook.
It’s two miles past Spirit Mountain on Skyline Parkway, just past the dragon’s-tooth stone bridge.
There are two tricky parts. A snowmobile trail cuts through the Ely Peak Loop, and the one-way ski trail looks as if it ends there, but it continues across the snowmobile trail and just to the right.
And at the end, there’s a steep downhill that ends in the road; beginners should take off their skis and walk.
Chester Park: This very hilly 3-kilometer trail, groomed for skating only, is tucked away near the College of St. Scholastica, off Skyline Parkway in a residential neighborhood.
The longtime hub of Duluth’s winter sports, the Bowl includes Big Chester, a 115-foot wooden ski jump that still has its 1926 steel scaffolding.
Snowflake Nordic Center: High above Duluth, this privately operated ski center has 15 kilometers of trails, groomed often. Striding tracks flank skating lanes, used by the many racers who frequent Snowflake, and classical skiers may feel squeezed at times.
There’s a convivial chalet with snack counter. A trail pass is $7, but skiers over 65 (and Olympians) ski free.
Spirit Mountain: Just across the road from the alpine slopes on Skyline Parkway, Spirit Mountain maintains 22 kilometers of double-tracked trails with skating lanes, groomed frequently.
A trail pass is $7, and equipment rental is $13. It also offers lessons, $12; reserve in advance.
Superior Municipal: Just across the St. Louis River, the Superior Parks and Recreation Department maintains 26 kilometers of ski trails in Superior Municipal Forest for all levels, groomed for skating and striding; the 10-kilometer Yellow Loop, for advanced skiers, is on the Dwight’s Point peninsula and is very scenic.
There’s a warming shelter at the trailhead, where the $5 daily trail pass is sold. To get there, head south on Tower Avenue/Wisconsin 35 to 28th Street and drive west to Wyoming Avenue.
The snow conditions hot line is 715-395-7299.
Up the Shore