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Winter Posts

The Start of the Great Thaw of 2019

Dennis O’Hara presents the new Canal Cam capturing the March 12 sunrise, the beginning of the meltdown before the rain storm.

Glamourous Duluth

Duluth’s Ashley Sullivan, sporting a Duluth Cider hat, is part of a feature in the online women’s magazine Glamour titled “Insanely cold polar vortex temperatures are literally freezing people’s eyelashes.” The article refers to a social media trend of people “posting commentary and photos of themselves turning into Elsa from Frozen simply by going about their lives in a polar vortex.”

“Depending on how cold it is, you can feel them freeze right away,” Sullivan told Glamour reporter Abby Gardner. “It doesn’t hurt and doesn’t affect your eyesight, but by the end of a hike, you get the pretty frost. The aftermath isn’t so pretty as the ice melts and mascara runs down your face. But it’s like Mother Nature’s art on while you’re outside, if you think about it. It’s like you’re your own snowflake with the frost vibrating to your own energy.”

Video: Duluth Sea Smoke

Video by Twin Cities-based Sky Candy Studios.

Instagrammed: Duluth Polar Vortex 2019

Hiki Hut: Duluth’s little blue sauna on a trailer

Whitney & Kelby Sundquist - Photo by Lissa Maki

Whitney & Kelby Sundquist – Photo by Lissa Maki

A little blue sauna on a trailer began popping up around Duluth late last year. The Hiki Hut has licensing similar to a food truck, but instead of food it’s serving up nourishing doses of heat and steam. Owners Whitney and Kelby Sundquist aim to encourage sauna appreciation as well as cultivate community.

Minnesota Winter Evenings

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Some winter evenings I stand on a lake’s edge under bright-black Iron Range sky wondering about walking across that ice, over the train tracks along the far shore, into those woods, and away. What if I wandered until weary, laid down under a pine tree, then breathed easy until one by one my atoms drifted off into moonlight and air? Could I become birch smoke? Would a resting black bear or hunting fox know me among everything else it inhales? Most often on those nights I just look at the outside from inside, through my mother-in-law’s living room window after everyone else has gone to bed. When the TV and lights are off I can see down her back yard and past the dock we pulled out of Colby Lake in October and will push back into it come late May or early June. Snow on lake ice glows blue-gray under black pine silhouettes. Sky glows black. Abashed by comfort and warmth, I tell myself to get dressed and ski out the eastern end of Colby into the Partridge River. Or ride fat tires across Whitewater Lake or along the Bird Lake Trail or up and down the Moose Line Road. Then I admit my lack of will. Then I stand there for a couple more minutes, trying to make sure I can remember what that outside looks and feels like so my brain can reproduce the sensation long after the last time I’ve seen it. Then I go to bed and struggle to sleep.

Selective Focus: Snizzle Storm 2018

List of Duluth Winters and what they are Remembered For

Although Duluth is known for — and by some feared — for its winters, they tend to run together in our memories. Everyone who experienced it recalls the Mega Storm of 1991 and there was a long cold snap a few years ago, but by and large the various storms and other winter climate events are forgotten or the memories get mashed together.

So, in an effort to sort them out I tossed together a brief and somewhat vague list of some winter moments that have been marked on Perfect Duluth Day in the past (with links) or have been loosely referenced on the web as having been more wintery than other winters. (As the comments have come in I’ve added a few more links from Zenith City Online and notes regarding conditions of some years.)

Mammoth Saloon

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Back in the day it was sometimes tough work just to get a drink. Above is an undated stereoview reproduction from an 1875 McKenzie original. The reverse reads: “Duluth, Minn. in 1875. Mammoth Saloon, Jake Liedel, Prop. Lake Ave 2 blocks north of canal.”

Great Lakes Trader arrives coated in ice

The ice-coated Great Lakes Trader floated steamed into Duluth at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 13 to load iron pellets. Video by Dennis O’Hara.

Dance Attic – “Startin’ a Fire with You”

Happy holidays! Jimi Cooper and Suzi Ludwig of Dance Attic bring the holiday cheer for this year’s PDD Christmas video. The song is from the band’s first album, tentatively scheduled for release in April.

A big thank you to the Homegrown Music Festival for sponsoring the video. Band registration is happening now, the Homegrown Winter Fiasco is Jan. 13, and the full-on eight-day extravaganza happens April 30 to May 7.

A big tip of the western hat also goes out to Darryn Wallace, who made Dance Attic’s snappy outfits.

Visit the PDD Holiday Video Showcase to view a collection of clips featuring the ghosts of Christmas’ past.

Spirit Mountain Winter Downhill Fatbiking

Last weekend Spirit Mountain became (as far as we know) the first ski resort in North America to offer lift access fat-tire biking. Break out the fatbikes this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and come ride with us!

Video by Max Fierek.

Presenting the 2014 edition of cars sliding down a Duluth avenue

This video is from the Nov. 10 snow/ice storm. It’s not as good as the original (which is nearing a million views) but still … everyone loves a good car-sliding montage.

The Figures

Happy Homegrown Duluth!  I had to send a contribution from afar. I wanted to premiere my first short film on PDD. It’s a spooky little thing filmed in Duluth during a brief visit I made in 2014. The soundtrack is by myself and Eric Lyman, we record as Pale Wall. This film may be best viewed around 3 a.m. with a warm blanket. Cheers.

If you want this in your collection I have artfully packaged DVDs available. Contact jhuntzinger @ gmail.com

Winter Ruled

Highlight reel of sights and sounds from extreme winter 2014.