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Shovel parties: Prep work begins on Tech Trails for regional races

Michigan Tech Nordic ski team coach Tom Monahan Smith gives instruction to the volunteers during a snow shoveling event Saturday at the Tech Trails in Houghton. (Tryg Solberg/For the Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Over 30 members of the local ski community showed up to help shovel snow onto the Michigan Tech Trails on Saturday morning.

Michigan Tech’s Nordic Ski Team is scheduled to host the NCAA Midwest Regional Skiing Championships on Feb. 24 and 25. Members of the MTU ski team, cross country team, and some of the race organization crew spent a couple hours trying to find clean snow from the woods to place onto the race course.

Although parts of Houghton County have received nearly 100″ of snow this season, the recent warmup has reduced the snow base down to bare ground in a few sections.

The crew of volunteers split into a few groups to put snow over bare spots that form on bumps and corners in the trail.

The 25 kilometers of ski trails typically see a trail base depth of well over a foot by this point in winter. Grooming has been put mostly on hold recently to conserve the limited snow that remains. Besides a few trail systems in the Upper Peninsula, the rest of the Midwest’s nordic ski trails are limited to those that make snow this winter.

Over 30 volunteers joined to assist in shoveling snow on Michigan Tech’s race course. (Tryg Solberg/For the Gazette)

With more warm weather forecasted for the next week, another “shoveling party” is planned at

the Michigan Tech Trail Wax Barn next Saturday at 9 a.m. There should be plenty of shovels available to borrow and any help is appreciated.

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