There was a time years ago when cross-country skiers could head to Perham Lakeside Golf Club for a day of fun in the snow. Now, a local outdoor recreation business is working with the golf club to bring that tradition back.
Paul Kloster and Shane Hoefs, of MN Tru North in Perham, recently announced a plan to create a nordic ski trail at the golf course.
"(We asked), what can we do to get people in the town in winter time and go to restaurants and stores, to create more revenue?" Kloster said. "A lot of people don't realize what (Perham has) to offer. We want them to come and see what we've got."
He thinks a cross-country ski trail will help bring more people in.
Kloster, the manager at MN Tru North, and Hoefs, who's a co-owner along with his wife, Becky, have already surveyed the course in order to map out the trail. They said the planned path will be a side-by-side, so skiers can go in pairs. It includes some basic loops, the main one being a bit over one mile long, and there will be a halfway point where skiers can exit the trail to go to the club house, where they can warm up with some food and drinks.
"Basically, (the trail) is in its infancy," Kloster said. "Here's a loop. Here's a loop. Give it a try… If interest grows, we're going to grow with it."
If the trail proves popular, Kloster said MN Tru North might add additional trails, most likely around another area of the golf course and at the Pioneer Grounds. They have already spoken with Lakeside about these possible additions.
Kloster said bringing the trails to Perham isn't about a "rebirth" of cross-country skiing; it's about keeping people in Perham year-round with winter activities.
"(Cross-country skiing) is a low-impact sport; it gets you out in the fresh air," Kloster said. "The thing is, it's awfully peaceful, and it's not just about the workout. It's about getting out, and — especially on the calm days — it can be gorgeous outside… It gives you something to do besides going out to shovel your sidewalk."
MN Tru North will be grooming the trails, and will offer sales and rentals of cross-country ski equipment throughout the winter. They hope to have all the necessary equipment in stock by Thanksgiving, provided there are no shipping delays. The city of Perham will provide trail maps to those interested.
The trail itself will be ready once the snow is deep enough, hopefully soon after Christmas.
"We need a significant amount of snow to get on the golf course," Kloster said. "We don't want to damage the grass."
With questions about the trail, contact MN Tru North at 218-346-5253 or mntrunorth.com.