At last, the Norse gods were on our side this winter and granted us the conditions for a true Nordic experience – great snow and deep cold! Advanced forecasts predicted wind chills of – 30 degrees for the evening of February 2nd. The day before the event, we debated cancellation out of concern for the Park staff and Friends volunteers who would be outside from 2:30 until 9:00 p.m. preparing the trail and overseeing the ski and hike.
Amazingly, Saturday dawned with sunny skies and no wind, with temperatures climbing into the teens. We were a go! By 2:30 the Friends were setting out the luminaries while Fuzzy Sunstrom and Jeff Pfeiffer, our volunteer groomers, put their finishing touch on the trails. As our parking crew assembled in Lot 5, and the hot cider, cocoa and cookies were being set out in the shelter building, we doubted that many participants would brave the ten degree temperature.
At dusk, as we heard the fireworks from the Fish Creek Winter Festival, cars began rolling into the parking lot and hearty skiers and hikers eagerly headed out onto the candlelit trail. With stars overhead and several hundred luminaries lighting the way, they were experiencing a truly magical evening.
We heard nothing but compliments and thanks for hosting the event. Most of the estimated 300 adults and kids who took part expressed enthusiasm for the warmth of the bonfire at the shelter and the fire ring set out at the trail’s halfway point. (Our cold toes were worth every minute of it.)