Twins ride for money

Word is, the Black Woods Blizzard Tour raised $760,000 to help provide treatment and care for people with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). (This is a preliminary number, as they still were tallying money brought in during the silent auction and banquet.)

The annual event included a three-day snowmobile ride through Northeastern Minnesota — and riders included Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who served as a tour host.

And the snowiest college campus is…

Here’s a bit of weather-cred to add to your resume, Bulldogs. recently listed the top 10 snowiest colleges in the United States based on annual snowfall. University of Minnesota Duluth landed at No. 5 — not as snowy as the No. 1 school, Michigan Tech in Houghton (almost 200 inches each year), but far snowier than University of Alaska Fairbanks (62 inches). UMD is listed as getting 86 inches a year. Other schools on the list, from snowiest to still snowy but not as snowy as the snowiest, include: Syracuse University, University of Rochester, University of Buffalo, University of Vermont, Southern New Hampshire University, Western Michigan University and Cornell University. BTW: According to the National Weather Service, Duluth has had 54.3 inches of snow this year through Thursday night.


A plow plundered

This time of year is known for bringing out the best in some, and for some, it’s a time they would rather forget about. But there are more shades of gray than the black and white examples given. There are some who are ambivalent about the season and don’t think with context, outside themselves.

It’s not a huge deal — not in the context of the world’s issues — but a hand plow was taken from a rink on the corner of Waverly Avenue and Hardy Street on Tuesday evening.

Bob Fryberger took over care of the unofficial public skating rink from his father, who started it in 1947. In those many years, there has been nary an incident where Bob felt compelled to ask the community to help. But since the specially made hand plow was taken, Bob reached out.

He doesn’t want warrants, arrests, persecution. He just wants the hand plow back, so he can clear the rink and flood it with water. He wants to use his time to give the people in his community a place to strap on skates and fly around the ice.

No questions will be asked of whoever returns it. It doesn’t work on concrete, anyway, Bob says. “It bites too sharp. It needs an ice surface to work.”

Happy trails for Northland snowmobilers

The C.J. Ramstad North Shore State Trail is in good shape for snowmobiling this weekend, said Joe Russell, area supervisor for the Department of Natural Resources parks and trails division.

“It’s 100 percent better this weekend than last weekend,” Russell said.
The trail is groomed from Duluth to Cook County and has from 18 to 36 inches of snow. The heavy snowfall brought down many trees on the trail, which had to be cleared before grooming could begin, Russell said.

“That sure tested our start-up,” he said.

For the latest conditions on the trail, call the North Shore Trail hotline at (218) 834-1439 or go to the DNR website,, and click “Snowmobiling” and “State Trails.”

Russell urged riders to use caution, keep right and ride safely.

Ice? Salt? Smarts?

Recently, a reader from Duluth, Erik Holmstrom, posed the question about what can be done about the icy roads besides using salt.

As it turns out, there are a couple things that can be done to make travel safer on Duluth’s icy roads.

There is a chemical that is sometimes used to melt the ice at temperatures lower than 15 degrees, roughly the coldest pure salt will work at. It’s called chloride (which covers sodium, calcium and magnesium) and this chemical can melt the snow even in 60-degree below zero weather. Sounds great, right? Sadly, no. Chlorides are harsh chemicals that can scorch the ice off the roads, but there are problems associated, not the least of which is cost. Some estimates put it at $10 to $18 per 5-10 pound container. The Environmental Protection Agency has guidelines for the other problems.

The EPA:
“Chlorides can cause serious problems. They can be detrimental to animals and plants, and they are corrosive. Site conditions, particularly where roads are immediate adjacent to streams, must be evaluated carefully if chlorides are being considered for use.”

With Lake Superior so close, and myriad rivers and creeks flowing into it, the use of chlorides, while not forbidden, is likely not the most environmentally conscious thing to dump on city streets. At least, not in the amounts needed to rid the city of its ice encrusted streets.

There is, however, another solution.

The awesome cognitive, mechanical and visual spatial skills necessary to obtain a driver’s license ensures that everyone is capable of recognizing slippery conditions and can plan accordingly. This includes not following too closely. Leave a few more car lengths between your car and the one you are following. Go slower in icy conditions. Don’t wait for others to learn to drive better, be the change you want to see in the world.

Stay home … for now

The Duluth Library Foundation has rescheduled its second annual “Libations at the Library” due to the snowfall.

The event will now be from 6:30-8 p.m. Dec. 11.

The fundraising event promises to be a glittering gala filled with books, flameless) candlelight, food and drink, with money raised to support the library.

The event is free, but the foundation is asking guests to RSVP by calling (218) 730-4262 or emailing

It’s snow time

The weather outside is getting frightful, which means it’s time to dust off the snow-mentality when it comes to driving.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation wants to remind all drivers of what it takes to drive safely in winter around the massive plows on Minnesota highways, byways and roads.

* Check road conditions: Call 511 or go to to see what road conditions are like along your route.

* Stay back: MnDOT asks that motorists stay five car lengths behind plows.

* Stay alert: Snow plows might turn or exit the roadway with little warning

* Slow down: Drive at a speed safe for road conditions; allow plenty of time to reach your destination

* Avoid travel when conditions become poor or hazardous, do not travel unnecessarily

For more information, visit or follow #mnstorm on Twitter.

Say it ain’t snow

After a record-setting snowy April, Duluth fell behind the frozen precipitation curve in the month of May.

The airport has seen just a trace of snow this month. In a typical May, we see four-tenths of an inch of accumulation, according to the National Weather Service.

Duluth received 129.4 inches of snow for the season, and a record 50.8 inches in April alone. May snow or not, this past winter will be talked about for a long time to come.

Boarders shred in Duluth

How good is the urban snowboarding in Duluth?

Good enough to help a crew of local snowboarders advance to the finals of the Arnette Crew Clash, a snowboard video editing competition at

Footage includes Dan Spooner, Danny Kiolbasa, Brian Wilson and Hunter Gulan riding rails snowboarding in spots in the Central Hillside (including Cascade Park), and at Enger Tower and the University of Minnesota Duluth.

The two-plus-minute video helped the Hill City Squad advance to the finals. Last week they were flown out to Mt. Bachelor in Oregon for more snowboarding and more video making. They’re up against a crew from Colorado for the big prize: $1,000.

Go to to vote in the Arnette Crew Clash 3 final. Voting is open through Monday.

Duluth snowstorm stats

We at Eh? love numbers and stats, and the Department of Public Safety provided us with some about Saturday’s snowstorm. These stats pertain only to the Minnesota State Patrol for the Duluth District and are courtesy of Sgt. Curt S. Mowers.

  • 49 — number of vehicles reported off the road
  • 16 — number of crashes that resulted in property damage
  • 6 — number of miscellaneous assists
  • 3 — number of DWIs
  • 1 — number of injuries from crashes