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City provides place to ski

Requests for a place to cross-country ski locally were coming in so the Dickinson Parks and Recreation Department put together a makeshift groomer and created a trail near Patterson Lake.

If interest increases, the department may expand the approximate 1-mile trail and purchase proper grooming equipment for even more desirable trails.

Among those requesting a trail were Cheryl Kelly, Dickinson, who used to live in Canada and had cross-country skied since she was a child.

She has been in Dickinson for 12 years and says a lack of snow in the past kept her from skiing but the last two winters have produced.

"Now that we've got the snow, it's a great outdoor activity in the winter," she said.

The trail starts at the Lions Park boat ramp and heads east toward the disc golf course and circles back around.

She said the trail's location is wonderful and it's a beautiful place.

Kelly used to ski across the frozen lake and also goes to Medora, where there is a groomed trail at Bully Pulpit Golf Course.

"It's sunshine, fresh air and you can still get vitamin D in North Dakota," Kelly said with a laugh.

The department created a trail a few weeks into December, Parks Director James Kramer said.

"We are kind of experimenting here," he said. "In the past few years we've started to get requests from the public."

It's been 20-plus years since there were groomed trails in the city, he said, adding there were about a dozen faithful cross-country skiers that were really pushing for them.

"We don't have the equipment and we are using make-shift," Kramer said.

The department was using baseball drags to clear a 6-foot trail but as the snow deepened and blew in it wasgetting harder. Staff was looking for a snowmobile late last week, to no avail.

Kelly said the group she skis with hopes the department gets the proper equipment.

"It's great they've got the interest and the enthusiasm and it'll be wonderful when there is grooming equipment," Kelly said. While she and a group was at the lake, several people asked about cross-country skiing, she said, which was an encouraging sign.

"I see the trails moving onto the golf course which is a natural fit and done in other communities," Kramer said.

The trail has changed to accommodate wind and snow and is on its third revamp.

"We really are looking for comments and suggestions because we want to improve what we are doing," Kramer said.

Though the department has heard good feedback, "we know the trails we are establishing are by no means high-class," Kramer said, adding they will take it to the next level to provide the system people are interested in.

Let the department know what you think, by calling 701-456-2074.