Skiing the North ShoreBy Andrew Slade
There & Back Books, $16If there’s a better guide to cross-country skiing the North Shore, we haven’t seen it yet. Duluth resident Andrew Slade provides the skinny on 35 skinny-ski jewels along Minnesota’s ersatz coast—from urban skiing on lighted trails along the Lester River to remote destinations along the Gunflint, where hard-core adventurers on the Banadad Trail can overnight in a yurt. In addition to maps, trail-access information, and difficulty ratings, this easy-to-navigate guide includes Slade’s top picks for trails that have the “best grooming,” trails that are “absolutely free,” and—our favorite—“trails my mother would like.” —JOEL HOEKSTRA
Gopher GoldBy Tim Brady
MHS Press, $25If you think a new stadium will turn U of M football from terrible into trophy-winning, a review of the 1924 season might give you hope. It was the first year in Memorial Stadium, but the new digs hadn’t helped: Facing Illinois in mid-November, the Gophers were winless in Big Ten play, and when the opposition scored in the opening minutes, things looked grim. As Minnesota Monthly contributor Tim Brady notes in this entertaining overview of the U’s roots, faculty, and oddball traditions, it was yet another moment when success looked unlikely. But as with several tales recounted here, Minnesota triumphed, besting the Illini 20-7. —J.H.
The Ghost and the Hired GunThe Alarmists
Instrument Control Records“Hired Gun,” a song from the Alarmists’ debut LP, is one of those tunes that hides in your head, making occasional surprise guest appearances. It’s the most assertive song on the album, starting tamely, quickly building, then tumbling between bouts of crooning and rocking out. Too bad the band hasn’t channeled this playful, reckless spirit into more of their songs. Overall, their music feels restrained and careful. The Alarmists have an enthusiastic following, though, matched by an earnest, energetic performance. The next time they’re onstage, pay the five bucks and check them out live. —JESSICA CHAPMAN
* Click here to visit our Music Clips page and listen to a song by The Alarmists.