Duluth Snocross is a go with enough snow

For anybody who lives in Duluth and knows Spirit Mountain's ability to make snow, the questions posed to Gene Shaw the past couple weeks were no brainers.

Snocross set for Friday
The 22nd annual Amsoil Duluth National Snocross is Friday through Sunday at Spirit Mountain. (News Tribune file photo)

For anybody who lives in Duluth and knows Spirit Mountain's ability to make snow, the questions posed to Gene Shaw the past couple weeks were no brainers.

"Everybody always asks, 'Is there snow?' Even people from the Twin Cities," Shaw said. "If they don't see snow in their backyard, they start to wonder."

Rest assured, snowmobile racing fans, there will be plenty of snow for the 22nd annual Amsoil Duluth National Snocross Friday through Sunday at Spirit Mountain.

How much snow? As much to make the track as big as it's ever been, according to the event's sanctioning body, the International Series of Champions.

ISOC president and race director Carl Schubitzke, who grew up near Saginaw and now resides in Minneapolis, said ISOC workers arrived at Spirit Mountain on Sunday, liked what they saw and told Denny Munson and his crew at Spirit Mountain that they had everything they needed for race weekend. The snow guns were promptly removed from the track area and are now being used to get more trails ready for the downhill skiing season.


"I haven't seen this much snow in Duluth in a looooong time," said the 32-year-old Schubitzke, who raced snocross for 18 years, including 12 professionally. "It looks great. With Thanksgiving being a week back this year and that recent cold front, it's really good snow conditions. Really good."

And with a little warm-up expected for the weekend, it could be really good viewing conditions as well.

Schubitzke was at Spirit Mountain finishing up on Tuesday night and said the temperature was 9 degrees.

"A little warmer would be nice for everyone," Schubitzke said. "The wind has been blowing all day out here. After a while, it kind of hits you in the face."

Highs for the weekend are expected to hit 32, but if the forecast temperatures climb any higher, snocross fans could be dialing up and asking if Duluth will have any snow left by Sunday.

"Those people are going to call no matter what," Schubitzke said with a laugh.

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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