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Moorhead nordic ski team embracing snowless start to season

Not very often in the beginning of December is there no snow in this area. For the Moorhead Nordic Ski team, that means taking a different approach to keep its season going.

PIC: Detroit Mountain
Detroit Mountain hosts the Moorhead Nordic Ski Meet on Nov. 30th

DETROIT LAKES– The calendar may read December, but it looks and feels anything like that for area skiers.

“Today is just icing on the cake. We have this opportunity to be here and just enjoy a beautiful day,” said Moorhead Nordic Ski Coach, Dan Dooher.

“A lot of the other teams aren’t able to compete right now since there’s just no snow. It's very exciting. This is my second time on snow in like the last week and a half, so it’s different,” said Moorhead junior Zaine Braaten.

Luckily for the Moorhead Spuds, there’s Detroit Mountain.

“Usually it’s been pretty good. Last year, we didn’t have any snow until almost past Christmas break. So I guess I’m more used to it now. Last year I drove three and a half hours just to get on snow one weekend,” said Braaten.


“It will get better. We will get more snow on and on. Last year Covid pushed back our season and we had to stay positive through that especially with no season and no snow, it’s harder, so I’m just thankful that we get a season this year, whether there’s snow or not,” Braaten added.

Until real snow falls, the courses are covered in artificial flakes. It makes trails less packed, but also as icy.

“It’s fairly common, especially the past few years I’d say. So we really just try to come with the mindset that we’re going to make the most of the opportunities that we can,” said Dooher.

“Real snow would have a bit of an icy coat on top, especially in conditions like this. This turn right here where you’re coming off of a hill, real snow would get packed in and become extremely icy and dangerous, so you would have to go a lot slower. But on fake snow like this, it gets turned up and it can make it easier to take the turn at a faster rate,” said senior Siri Overturf.

“I’m like flopping around, it’s definitely not my best form. But it’s a meet and it’s snow, so I’ll take it,” said Braaten.

The Spuds can only make the hour-long drive to Detroit Lakes so often though. So when in Moorhead, they’ll ditch the snow skis, for roller skis.

“When we’re not out here, we’re on roller skis and that’s just a dry land training. We can do all the same workout and training we would do on snow as we can on roller skis and then when there’s a bit of ice on the ground, then we will be with our poles running or walking for our non runners,” said Overturf.


Whether pavement or fresh powder, nothing will stop these skiers from finding a way to compete.

“We’re fortunate to have a place where they’re making snow and we’re happy to be here,” said Dooher.

This week was also the first time several skiers were even on snow for the first time this year.

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