The skiing is great but we have a couple important reminders.
Now that we are running the Pisten Bully in town, all of you early morning and late night skiers need to be heads up for machinery. It is very hard to see beyond the headlights, especially when the tiller is up and we are backing up, which have to do frequently at Highlan Glen. There is a lot to pay attention to simply operating the machine and we dont need skiers darting around us. So, if you are out early or late and it looks like the machine is still out, please head elsewhere for your ski, generally this just means going to the other side of the road at the Sunset Hills/Highland Glen complex. This also gives the trail more time to set up which means better skiing for everyone. While that fresh cord is tempting, please be patient and let us finish our work if you can.
It is never ok to ski behind the PB or to try to pass it without the permission of the operator.
At Highland Glen, there are only several legal access points: the trailhead at the corner of Highland and Ellis (Softball Fields Complex), the Painted Hills gate off of Kagy Ave, and in the middle of the west side of the area from the "tree streets".
Access through the old homestead is trespassing (it is clearly signed as private property). All of Highland Glen is private property owned by Bozeman Health and we operate under a winter user agreement (the summer trails are operated by GVLT under a similar user agreement. There is not an easement on the Highland Glen property, so please respect private property and associated signage. There are lots of ski tracks going to and from the homestead this winter and that needs to stop.
Enjoy the great skiing an the sun!
While it is still a warm winter, we are at least getting snow now. In the last week, the town trails have picked up around a foot of nice, moisture dense snow that is packing down into a fantastic base for our trails. Higher up, Sourdough and Hyalite recieved significantly more! The Forest Service got out and groomed a portion of the Hyalite trails but between down trees and wallowing through the deep snow, they could not get to the whole thing. Friday night, the BSF crew took the Pisten Bully up Sourdough and groomed to Mystic Lake and the Moser Trailhead, so everything is now wide and flat though it will be a little soft. The lower miles have excellent coverage and all of the last rocks are buried.
On the town trails, Sunset Hills and Highland Glen are now being groomed with the Pisten Bully and are both in very good shape. Bridger Creek is only snowmobile groomed, so there has been a lot of work with the roller out there to get everything packed down. We will get out and do a proper grooming with set tracks for the weekend but expect skiing at Bridger Creek to be the softest of all of our trails.
General reminder: there are no dogs allowed on any of the in town ski trails; only Sourdough and Hyalite allow dogs. Among the many reasons for this, dogs increase the wear and tear on trails, similar to foot traffic. Being community trails funded by what are effectively donations, we cannot afford to groom every night, so if you are taking your dog for a ski at Sunset Hills or Highland Glen, that is a bit of an irresponsible trail use and makes things harder for the rest of us. We know it is a bummer that none of the in town trails allow dogs but please, help us out and save the dog skiing for either off trail town adventures or Sourdough and Hyalite. Hopefully in the near future we can figure out some in town, dog friendly skiing.
All of the trails in town are in very good shape. Sunset Hills and Highland Glen got a touch up the night of 2/4 and it was starting to snow already by the time I finished up. With some serious snow fall on the way Wednesday night through to Friday, we may end up not grooming Wednesday morning and saving our efforts for Thursday, Friday, and into the weekend. We just went from not having very much grooming work to likely having a lot; its a good problem to have but definitely serves as a reminder to buy your trails pass or make a donation so we can keep grooming a lot!
Sourdough is just the Moser side for now; as snow develops in the next few days we will at least pack to the bridge and then will try to shape things up with the PB for the weekend. We are generally sticking to 3, maybe 4 days a week of grooming at Sourdough which works well until you get a lot of snow at once; every full grooming of Sourdough is 28 miles and on a snowmobile, that may take 2 machines 2 or 3 laps to get into good skiing shape. With the town trails getting snow now too we are running the PB there a lot so it might take us a little longer to get back to Sourdough with it, so please be patient.
The Hyalite Road has been plowed but the trails have not been groomed since before the last snow.
After nearly losing all of our in town trails to the hot wind on Saturday, winter is back again today. If you drove past the town trails yesterday afternoon, you probably noticed that in many places, they were down to ice, so with that in mind, our grooming plan is to let this snow pile up through the day (and hopefully into tonight) before we get out and groom either Sunday night or Monday morning. This will also give time for all the accumulated melt water from Friday and Saturday to drain out and refreeze. Stay tuned for updates, expect town trails to be gotten to first; between heavy snow and down trees, Sourdough will be a bit of a project on Monday. Stay tuned!
The snow trickle has provided and conditions in town are currently about the best we have had so far. At Sunset Hills we finally set a classic track this week and cover is excellent all the way around with packed powder conditions. Highland Glen likewise finally has a classic track though it is on the thin side. The trail platform at Highland has smoothed out remarkably and there is very little grass showing except for at the tops of the south facing hills where there is no snow. These spots are easy to get around, fortunately and the overall conditions are packed powder on an increasingly level base. Bridger Creek is still just the lower loops and it is thin in a few spots but skiable. There is still not a classic track at Bridger Creek but dont let that stop you from enjoying a nice ski.
Sourdough has enough snow that we can finally set a track all the way to the trail head and the rocks are now all covered. The first 2 miles are seeing a lot of walker traffic and are bumpy and crusty in places. Please gently remind walkers to not walk on the classic tracks if they are doing so and to give skiers some space. We all need to share the trail up there as there are lots of people on a narrow, often slick trail. Skiers, please take the first two miles carefully and walkers, if you read this, please allow space for skiers by not taking up the entire width of the trail with your groups (walk as close to single file as you can). Above mile 2, the skiing is outstanding and the trail is groomed to both Mystic Lake and Moser Divide.
General reminders: No foot traffic on the in town ski trails, no bikes on any of the groomed ski trails. Please help us out by being ambassadors if you see this activity. In addition, please keep dogs off of the in town ski trails and if you are skiing off trail around town with a dog, such as in the fields at Highland Glen, dogs are required to be on a leash (City Ordinance).
We have warm, windy weather coming for the next couple days so think good thoughts for our snowpack and hopefully things will turn around again.
The snow Sunday night into Monday morning was just what we needed; moisture dense and enough to cover up the thin spots. All of the major trails (Bridger Creek, Highland, Sunset Hills, Sourdough) saw some roller action Monday morning. At noon on Monday, the skiing at Sunset Hills was quite nice though definitely a hair soft. In the evening, groomers got back out on all of Sourdough, Sunset Hills, and Highland Glen. The south exposed hills at Highland are definetly still thin and you will probably want to side step down them, but the rest of the trails are holding up. In particular, the Kagy Loop looked quite nice; basically anything that is sheltered somewhat will be holding some decent (for how thin it is) skiing. At Sunset Hills, we were finally able to set a classic track all the way around! It is a little thin in some places but overall it turned out nicely! Sourdough was good skiing before this snow and after setting up over night, Tuesday will be very good skiing!
We will keep at grooming as snow trickles in this week, then we will see what the weekend and next week bring. We are not pulling your leg about the skiing in town; it is actually quite good. Sourdough as well. Remember also, grooming is a lot of work and costs a good deal of money. If you have not purchased a voluntary trail pass, please consider doing so or making a donation to help keep our grooming going!
Yes, we got rained on today. Its a bummer but it wasnt that much rain and after skiing this afternoon, things are holding up well. That being said, as soon as the sun went down, the groomed trails began to crust up and get very fast. We will try to do some grooming where we have smoother trails with decent coverage still (Sunset Hills) and Sourdough will get a touch up. Expect Sourdough to be getting quite icy so please be very, very careful up there. We are going to groom with a snowmobile on Friday morning and we are planning to get the PB over there for the weekend. We will also try to run the PB around Sunset Hills; the rain really helped firm things up so even though it is thin, we should be able to get around without hitting grass. Things are likely so soften up quickly during the day so keep that in mind as you plan your ski.
We've got a warm forecast ahead of us which means grooming wise, we are going to continue to do as little as possible work on our trails. That being said, the town skiing is currently decent (I feel like I say that a lot). Sunset Hills is by far the best of the town skiing with only a little bit of grass showing and the trail surface is not yet crusty. There are some thin spots on sun exposed hills; as noted above, please helps us out and avoid snow plowing down the hills as much as possible. The trails are not directional and you are welcome to ski around these hills if you don't feel comfortable with them. Snowplowing, while effective at controlling speed, scrapes needed snow away and will accelerate our melt out.
Bridger Creek and Highland are ski-able but will have much more variable snow. The lower loops at Bridger creek are mostly fine but there are a couple large thin spots underneath the trees. Highland will have decent skiing in shaded, wind protected spots. Sunny slopes will be very thin and grassy and there are a couple spots that get wind scoured that will be thin too.
Again, with the warm weather ahead and our thin trail base, it is more important than ever that foot traffic please stay off of the in town ski trails. After seeing foot prints all over Sunset Hills this morning, apparently we can't repeat this enough. Having high quality in town skiing is a very unique and with the weather, fleeting thing. Especially this year, there are so many more places to walk and run. So skiers, if you feel comfortable with it, please help us out on this one and if you see people walking or running on the in town ski trails, please ask them to go else where. Foot traffic leaves deep holes and accelerates transformation of the snow into ice (just look at Sourdough). Multi use winter trails like Sourdough therefore require lots of grooming to maintain a good ski surface. With thin snow in town, we cannot do a lot of grooming and foot traffic will rapidly and heavily degrade the ski trail. As I've said before, BSF staff cannot be everywhere all the time so we need the community's help with this outreach!
And on the note of Sourdough; the lower mile or so is still thin but above that the skiing is excellent. The whole system was groomed Monday night and access from Moser on the Hyalite side is still in good shape so get out and enjoy it!
While we did get some snow from this latest storm, the pattern of little more than dustings in town continues. That said, the town trails are all skiing well. Sunset Hills will be the most consistent and best skiing in town right now. Please try to limit how much snow plowing you do on the downhills though, there are a few spots that are getting very scraped off. The trails are not directional so if you dont feel comfortable with the downs, ski the loop in the other direction. It looks like a warm week ahead and the more snow we can keep in those couple spots, the better!
Highland Glen is grassy and bumpy but the skiing is surprisingly good! I skied there a couple times this week and was pleasantly surprised both times. We smoothed it out again Friday night. There are some thin spots on the south facing hills to watch out for.
Bridger Creek has some thin spots under the trees but is otherwise skiing well. We dont have enough snow to groom the loops above the clubhouse though. If you are looking for a nice, mellow ski, the lower loops at Bridger Creek will be the ticket.
On Friday night, we took the Pisten Bully up Sourdough and groomed everything, including the last mile down to the Moser Trailhead in Hyalite. The trail is now level, wide, and has good classic tracks. Please use caution on the lower miles; cover is still thin, the trail is narrow, and there will likely be lots of people out for the weekend. The ski from the Moser Trailhead to Mystic Lake is arguably one of the best around; give that a shot and help ease the pressure at the Bozeman Creek Trailhead.
A final note for town skiers: for Sunset Hills skiing, please park at the softball fields! The city asks that skiers not park at Lindley Center. Further, BSF and the cemetery ask that skiers not park around the gate where the grooming trucks are. The groomers occasionally park there when we are using the trucks and sometimes we find that people have parked us in. It is never OK to block a gate and this spot is in clear sight of the softball fields parking lot! Crossing Highland Ave has never been easier thanks to the new traffic light and crossing signal!
The snow trickle has turned back on and conditions are finally improving, bit by bit. All of Sourdough was groomed Friday night. Expect skiing to be on the softer side, especially above the bridge. Coverage is much better in the lower miles but please use caution and watch for and leave space for other trail users. The same can be said for the walkers and runners; give skiers space and watch for traffic.
The lower loops at Bridger Creek have been rolled and are looking much better but there are several areas that are very, very thin still so keep an eye out for those spots but it will be possible to get some decent, continuous skiing here.
Highland is skiable but we havent gotten quite enough new snow to groom it again. It is very close though and there will be some stretches of decent skiing so dont let the lack of grooming stop you!
Sunset Hills has been groomed and is looking (and skiing) much better than it was. There are still some thin spots to watch out for but they are generally limited to sunny spots along the south end of the area. Now, there have been some ongoing issues at Sunset Hills that are worth mentioning. It's not many people, but there having been people regularly running some of this trail system and Friday night while grooming, there were foot and dog prints that went most of the way around the loop in the middle of the trail. If you feel comfortable with it, please help us out and act as an ambassador in these situations: there are lots of other places nearby to run and walk dogs and comparatively little groomed skiing, even on a good snow year. BSF has an agreement with the city to set up a ski trail here, not a multi use trail. In addition, there has been a lot of sledding on the trail coming out of Lindley Center. Again, this is clearly signed; skiers to one side of the fence, sledders to the other. Part of this is for safety so that a skier coming up the hill is bowled over by a sledder, part of this is to help protect the snow on that slope, which is sun exposed and always thin. Again, if you feel comfortable with it, please politely remind any sledders that the ski trail is not for sledding and why it is that way. BSF personnel are not able to be out monitoring these trails all the time; we are a small non-profit, not a ski area, so that is why we ask for the help of the community on things like this. The vast majority of people in Bozeman dont seem to have issues around seasonal trail changes and if we can all act as ambassadors from time to time, we can help educate users who simply dont know and hopefully make recreation around town better for everyone.