The die-hards around here know that the best time of year starts after most of us have shoved our skis in the basement closet. Its called crust-skiing, and I was fortunate to get an invite to make a loop across several lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area along the US-Canadian border near Ely. Over a smooth layer of packed snow, it was a day of fast, blissful, wide-open skiing, with occasional stops for photos, portages (we had to walk them), and snacks.
A cool rock on Moose Lake.
Elton, the speck on the shoreline, making a run (er, ski) for the border.
Some rapids along one of our several portages...walk across this log and you're in Canada.
Refueling stop, somewhere on Basswood Lake. 30-something degrees and sunny...what a way to cap off the 2009 ski season!