About the Abbey Arboretum Ski Trails
Parking is available near the Durenberger Athletic fields. You are otherwise welcome to park in other official university parking lots (Science Lots, Palaestra, etc). Groomed trails are easily accessed from the athletic fields, or after a short walk to the Old Entrance Road. View a SJU Campus Map for parking options.
Ski Trail Descriptions (updated Dec 2013)
Durenberger Athletic Fields Parking:
Park between the woods and the soccer field. A single trail will lead you into the trail system. Please do not ski or walk on the soccer fields. Also be aware that due to construction on the baseball field all winter, no vehicles (or skiers) are allowed through the fenced area even if the gate is open. This parking allows easy access to the Pine Knob and Trinity Loops and all their connectors.
Prep School Parking:
Park in any open spaces near the Prep School. Walk to the gate of the Old Entrance Road. Please do not park near the gate or along the road edges as we need access for forest use and potential emergencies. This parking area allows easy access to the Old Entrance Road and the Stone Gate Loop and can also be used to access the Pine Knob trail.
Trail Skill Level Ratings
All ski areas rate their trails relative to their area. For example, since our elevation change is quite small compared to a mountain ski area, our intermediate skiing might be beginner at a mountain area.
Old Entrance Road (3K - round trip)
Beginner. Groomed for skating and classic.
The Old Entrance Road loop is a two directional down and back loop on the western edge of the old entrance road. It begins at the main gate and goes all the way down to the footbridge over the interstate. It has both a skating and classic track and the round trip uses the same track. It is quite flat and good for beginners and is easy to see oncoming skiers. The eastern edge of the road is plowed for runners, walkers, and driving access to the sugar shack, forest, and radio tower.
Stone Gate Loop (3.7 K)
Beginner - Intermediate. Groomed for skating and classic for the area near Tower Field. The majority is classic only.
Stone Gate is a loop on the east side of the Old Entrance Road and begins by the Stone Arch. It is one-way except for the first hundred yards. You can use it to access the Tower Fields where the Prep School has a practice loop. That section of the trail is both skating and classic.
The classic only segments are in a lovely forest. The loop follows parts of the Hillary trail, Logging Road, and St. Joannis Trail. It is a fairly gentle loop with some occasional hills that give it the intermediate rating.
Note that to get back to the Durenberger parking area, you should cross the Old Entrance Road at the Stone Gate and go left up the Pine Knob trail (2-way here) and then stay left all the way taking the one-way "Down Home" trail back to the parking area.
Pine Knob Trail (4.6K)
Intermediate. Groomed for skating and classic.
The Pine Knob was established by the monks long ago as a forest access trail and mostly follows a summer trail of the same name. The trail is a mix of easier and intermediate skill segments. One of the first segments (from Durenberger parking) is a steep uphill called "Miserere nobis" (Have mercy on us). After that 100 foot climb to 1250 feet, much of rest of the trail feels downhill.
It is intended to be skied in a counter clockwise direction. Pine Knob shares a relatively short and easy area with the Trinity Loop. It is also a good access to the Stone Gate trails.
From Pine Knob, you can take the "Langlauf" trail which is for classic only and has a more challenging downhill through the pines. (Langlauf is German for classic skiing.)
Zicke-Zacke Trail (1.7K)
Intermediate - Advanced. Groomed for skating only.
This trail has can be accessed from the Pine Knob Trail and ends back on the Pine Knob trail. The first segment (Zicke) is intermediate and you can get back to Pine Knob without doing the second segment (Zacke). Zacke has a challenging downhill and is rated advanced. You will work a little. (The term "Zicke-Zacke" is from the last line of a famous German beer drinking song.)
Trinity loop (4.3K)
Advanced. Groomed for mostly skating
This is a very challenging course that twists, climbs, and falls "inside" the Pine Knob loop. Starting from the Durenberger Fields parking, you enter the woods and go north. (That will also access the CSB/SJU practice loop on the intramural field.) Then it heads into the woods to climb the namesake big uphill called the Trinity hill. There are some fast downhill bowls in this area. You can also use the "Toboggan Run" (or even the Pine Knob trail) to go up to the high point. All these trails join near the high point and you can head back to the start on "Down Home" or try your skills on the "Spitze."
Spitze (German for "peak" and also slang for "really cool") is at 1,260 feet and drops off in a winding left turn into a bowl. Note that you can alternatively stay on the Pine Knob for a hundred feet and then drop into the bowl from below the peak (Unterspitze) and avoid the left turn.
Trinity continues on to the old ski hill called Mt. Carmel. Then it offers several choices to ski back to the start including a link over to the Pine Knob and Zicke-Zacke trails.