One of the joys of living in a world-class outdoor city is the people you meet along the trails. I had the privilege of meeting cross-country skiing trail pioneer Glen Nelson some time ago. He agreed to share his story on camera, which meant I got to ski Peidmont Trail with one of its founders.
Before I go further, Glen wants EVERYONE to know he wasn’t the original trail visionary. That belongs to his friend and trail building buddy Jerry Nowak.
Glen met Jerry in the early 60’s, and learned about a fledgling trail that could serve the high school ski team he was coaching. The rest is local lore that showcases the best of volunteerism in our beloved city. Now, Piedmont Trail is the centerpiece of a year-round trail destination for biking, XC skiing, hiking, trail running, birding, family picnics and array of other activities. The dedication and innovation of Jerry and Glen is but another expression of love for the outdoors coupled with a pioneering spirit that continues to inspire the creation of new trail experiences. These trails (The Superior Hiking Trail, COGGS Duluth Traverse, and Snowflake to name a few) attract people from all over the world to come here and venture outwards.
I hope you enjoy the accompanying short film of my time spent with Glen. It puts a grin on my face every time I watch it. In fact, I’m headed back to Peidmont for another spring ski when I finish this story.