Midwest gets first big snowstorm of warm winter

By Carrie Antlfinger

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Jan. 12 2012 5:31 p.m. MST

The ice and snow may have caused headaches for travelers, but 44-year-old Mike Norman, of Evanston, Ill., said it's about time. Norman co-founded Chicago Endurance Sports, which offers a Winter Warriors program to help runners stay committed to their training and teach them about the right gear for winter. But he said because of the unseasonably warm weather — temperatures exceeded 50 degrees on Wednesday — the program hasn't really geared up.

"It's one of my favorite times of year to run. It's clean. It's crisp. It's quiet," Norman said. "It's fun to put footsteps in the fresh snow."

Lisa Taylor, the director of the North American Vasa cross-country ski race near Traverse City, Mich., said the storm, which hadn't reached the area yet, would help reinforce the thick base of snow on the rolling trails that they needed for races.

"There's been a great feeling of confidence that we'd get some good snow," Taylor said. "Up in the hilly areas where the trails are, there's already more snow than you'd think."

Associated Press writers Jim Salter in St. Louis, Chris Carola in Albany, N.Y., Carla K. Johnson and Caryn Rousseau in Chicago, Tom Coyne in South Bend, Ind., Carrie Schedler in Indianapolis, John Flesher in Traverse City, Mich., Roger Schneider in Milwaukee and Melanie Welte in Des Moines, Iowa contributed to this report.

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