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ABR Trails: Best Skiing in North America?

Fri, Nov  21, 2008 - By Patrick Cote, NENSA

Dear Members and Friends of NENSA,

Every year around this time I try to summarize what's out there for skiing.   For those ready to drop everything and head to snow, it helps with our trip planning; for those stuck somewhere without snow, it helps us dream of the upcoming winter!

The Best Skiing In North America (maybe…)
My research has concluded that ABR in Ironwood, Michigan is the place to go if you are part of the crowd that can and will drop everything and do anything to get good skiing now!  It sounds like 40K of skiing will be open for the weekend and the forecast calls for continued cold temperatures.   NENSA board member Stuart Stevens diverted a flight to the U.P. and may already be skiing at ABR.  I'll post an update if I hear from him.

Silver Star sounds pretty good.  The Canadian National Team is training there.  For those of you who have skied at Silver Star in the past, it is the trails on the actual mountain that are open.  I'd rate this option below ABR for a couple of reasons, first is that the terrain on the mountain trails at Silver Star can be pretty challenging for early season skiing, either all up or all down, and second, the altitude can make it pretty hard to keep on track with intensity workouts.

The Plateau in West Yellowstone is skiable.  I haven't seen a report that says its great, but at least it is skiable, so don't despair if you've already purchased tickets to Montana.  And Yellowstone seems pretty reliable at proving a snowstorm just when needed for Thanksgiving week.

One member reported that a local alpine hill was allowing xc skiers to be on a flat area of their mountain before lifts opened.  We are not allowed to advertise this, but it is a good reminder to give your local alpine area a look or call to see what might be available.

Foret Montmorency has a bit of natural snow on the ground, but not enough for skiing.   They are working to have a 500m snowmaking loop open for this weekend.   We have not been able to get official word on what will happen to the NorAm races if they don't get natural snow.  Those are the final weekend of Thanksgiving break, so my guess is that it will be a little while before we know.  Based on my personal experience, I don't have high hopes for their snowmaking efforts since I have never actually witnessed them using the system, even during snowless years in the past, but I am holding onto hope that they'll have something!

Inside information  tells me that there's a good chance of some xc skiing on artificial snow at a resort in New England next week.  We'll post information at as soon as we know.

Salmon Hills, NY. 
Lake effect snow has dropped about 10-12" on Salmon Hills.   Unofficial reports say  'Spring skiing' conditions because the ground was warm underneat. 80% coverage, but rolled only. Too soft for piston bulley just yet. 10-12" of snow fell.

If you are reading this and know of a place I forgot to mention, please get in touch right away. Photos are always welcome!

If you do venture out to go skiing anywhere in the next couple of weeks, please bring your digital camera, post them at and let me know so I can also post on the homepage of!

Sincerely and good luck finding the snow!

Pat Cote

NENSA Executive Director