Thank you to everyone who supported BSF's Community Trails Program this past year through your donations, volunteer trail work, and purchase of Community Nordic Trails passes! We are also grateful to our many community partners that allow us to groom on their land. Even though snowfall in Bozeman this winter was about the same as 2011-12, we were able to provide better groomed skiing at more venues thanks to our awesome new groomer plus a combination of better timing and slightly colder temperatures. Sourdough Canyon was again our longest season at about 115 days, but we had good skiing at Lindley Park for 96 days. Last year there was virtually no skiing at Bridger Creek Golf Course and the new East Highland Trails, but this year both these venues had about 90 days of good skiing. We groomed 45 times at Sourdough and Lindley and almost as much at the other two in-town venues. We also groomed twice at Hyalite to help the Forest Service.
Our big trails news this year was the addition of a new PistenBully 100 Nordic Groomer. We sold our old Bombardier groomer to purchase this new smaller, lighter, more versatile groomer, and purchased a trailer to transport it between our venues. We used past savings and donations in addition to the funds from the sale of the old groomer to purchase it. We hope you noticed the difference in quality of groomed skiing when we were able to use it. The snowmobile/ginzu groomers are still key to our operations, especially early-season until we get a good enough base to use the PB. Once we have a solid base, the PistenBully allows use to keep it good for skiing longer without it becoming icy and too hard in freeze/thaw conditions. Also, on those few occasions when we get big dumps of snow, the PistenBully is much better at providing a perfect trail with a lot less work.
Community Trails Passes
Our Trails pass sales were about the same as last year, but not as good as 2010-11. We sold 177 individual passes and 166 family passes, so had about 500 people contributing toward our expenses for grooming. We believe this is a small portion of the people who use the groomed trails for skiing, running, dog walking, and even biking. Trails Pass revenue does not cover the cost of our grooming operations, but fortunately we have received Trails Grants from Fish, Wildlife, and Parks each year, which are funded by the Federal Recreational Trails Program through a transportation bill. This grant is uncertain for the future, so we hope you continue helping us cover our costs.
Again this year, Bangtail, Northern Lights, REI, and Nordic Ski Source sold Trails Passes for Bridger Ski Foundation. We hope you will thank them with your words and your spending to help keep them viable providers of equipment and services for our community. As you may know, Nordic Ski Source closed this spring. They were a very professional and a wonderful addition to the Nordic Community, and we are sad to see them go.
Volunteer help from many of you contributed more than 500 hours of trail maintenance in 2012! Our first volunteer trails work opportunity this year will be on June 1, National Trails Day. In conjunction with Gallatin Valley Land Trust, we hope you will join us to work on new trails GVLT is developing for summer hiking and biking on the Hospital Land to the east of Highland, where we have been skiing the past few winters. Bozeman Deaconess Hospital has agreed to let GVLT develop summer trails there and to put in some culverts at three stream crossings, which we will also use to expand the winter groomed trails there. Your help with these trails will help us enhance this beautiful resource for the community for both summer and winter recreation. Also that day, Wilderness & Recreation Partnership will be doing trails work at the NW end of Hyalite Reservoir, which will enhance both summer and winter trails.
Community Trails Partners
Please join us in thanking our trails venue partners for allowing us to use their land for winter groomed trails skiing. The Bozeman Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service partners with us to groom trails at Hyalite and Bozeman Creek. Brian McNeil and Lisa Stoeffler are key supporters of these venues. The City of Bozeman and the Cemetery Board allow us to groom the Lindley Cemetery land. Tom White and Mitch Overton from the Bozeman Parks department have been great partners at this venue. Bozeman Deaconess Hospital started allowing us to use their land east of the Hospital in 2010. We appreciate the support from the Bozeman Deaconess Board of Directors and Hospital management including Cheryl Ridgely, who is our primary contact. Bridger Creek Golf Course Partners allows us to groom trails at Bridger Creek Golf Course each year and Jack Schunke has been our key supporter. Use of these wonderful trails would not happen without the support of these people and their organizations, so please let them know your appreciation if you have the opportunity.
We do our best to keep costs down so that we can provide maximum product for minimum cost. One example of how the Community helps in this effort is the gracious support of Janet and John Bartow, who allow us to store our equipment in their barn each year during the off season. This saves BSF well over a thousand dollars each year.