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Published December 10 2012

Recent snowfall a dream for Minn. outdoors fans

MINNEAPOLIS – After enduring last year’s snowless winter, skiers and snowmobilers may have despaired of ever seeing a decent snowfall again.

But fans of the wintry outdoors got their wish this weekend when a slow-moving storm dumped up to 16 inches of snow on parts of the Upper Midwest.

“With global warming in the back of your mind, you think, ‘Jeez, is it ever going to snow again?’ ” John Munger, of Minneapolis, said Monday after a morning of cross-country skiing in a western Twin Cities park.

The Twin Cities saw only meager bursts of snow this season before the weekend storm, and the Twin Cities’ heaviest snowfall last winter was 4.2 inches on Dec. 3.

But with the fresh blast, “I think people are pretty excited,” he said.

At Lutsen Mountains 90 miles northeast of Duluth, marketing director Jim Vick said you could “hear the hoots and hollers” as skiers took to the slopes amid the falling snow. The ski resort got up to 8 inches Sunday.

Mike Frattallone, co-owner of a Twin Cities hardware store chain, said Monday his 18 stores have sold a lot of snow shovels, ice melt and snowblowers since Sunday’s snow.

The system dropped 10.6 inches of snow at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and up to 14 inches on parts of the Twin Cities on Sunday, Minneapolis’ heaviest snow since 11.8 inches on Feb. 20, 2011.

The Minnesota State Patrol reported more than 600 crashes by Monday morning, and at least 1,140 spinouts. One person was killed Sunday in a crash involving a semi near Red Wing.

And in New Prague, school officials said a 54-year-old social studies teacher at the middle school died while shoveling snow at his home Sunday, KSTP-TV reported.

In southern Oklahoma, a Dallas man was killed early Monday when he lost control of his sport utility vehicle on an icy bridge on Interstate 35, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said.

Authorities in Kansas said freezing overnight temperatures may have contributed to the death of a 30-year-old woman whose body was found in a field early Monday.

Even Texas got a taste of winter, as an arctic blast dumped up to 5 inches of snow in parts of West Texas and dropped temperatures into the teens in part of the Panhandle. Strong winds cut electricity to about 3,000 homes and businesses in Austin, but Austin Energy reports all but a handful of customers had power restored by midday Monday.