Whew! That was a LONG grooming season. November 3rd to March 31st. We hope you enjoyed the trails.
Because it takes a village to keep these community ski trails going ...
This crew worked long, often cold hours and took great pride in providing some of the best in-town skiing in the country. Thanks, guys!
Bridger Creek Golf Course, Bozeman Health, Montana State University, Custer-Gallatin National Forest, Gallatin Valley Land Trust, City of Bozeman Parks & Recreation, BSF, Run Dog Run, Sacajawea Middle School, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
Excel Physical Therapy, Yellowstone Bank, Barnard Construction, First Security Bank, Alpine Surveying and Engineering, George L. Ohrstrom Jr. Foundation, Bozeman Area Community Foundation, Elite Physical Therapy, and Split Rock Foundation.
Bangtail, Chalet Sports, Roundhouse Sports, BSF office.
The only way BSF has the funding to groom is through donations, trail pass sales, and grants. YOU make it happen. Thank you!
Looking at the weather and trail usage patterns, the plan as of now will be to groom Sourdough Wednesday night and again on Friday night/ Saturday morning. If it seems worth while, I may do some quick snowmobile grooming Wednesday morning but with snow showers forecast through the morning hours, it looks like night grooming will be the most productive, especially with Wednesday and Friday nights looking to be the coldest of the week. Check back for updates.
There is still slushy skiing around town if you are looking for something closer by.
SUNDAY UPDATE: Even before the snowfall Saturday morning, Sourdough was in very good shape. Water Ice was limited to a couple spots in the first half mile or so and rather than bare patches, the trail had simply gotten narrow in the sun exposed areas. The whole trail (including down the to the Moser TH in Hyalite) was graded and leveled with the Pisten Bully and it looks like we will have good skiing for the last week we are allowed to groom Sourdough. Our contract with the Forest Service shuts down on March 31st. Pretty cool that we are making it all the way to the end!
What a season it has been! We had good skiing in town for 2 weeks in November, then after a short melt, December all the way to this week near the end of March. Thats a first since I have been here. It didnt take long to confirm my suspicions that the warm nights, warm days, and rain had done in the town trails. Sunset hills is rapidly turning to water (there are ponds and rivers of it) and mud. Highland Glen looked thin when it was last groomed and though I was able to patch some thin spots, theres not much you can do against the warmth. Bridger Creek likewise has bare patches and ice and the clubhouse loops are down to soft water ice. So, it is looking like we are done with grooming at our in town venues for the season.
Sourdough has a mix of ice and snow in the first mile and likely some rapidly growing bare patches. We'll give it a go with the Pisten Bully tonight as I'm sure most of the trail has plenty of snow cover. The plan is to groom the whole thing, including from Moser Divide down to the Moser Trailhead, which likely has some bare and icy patches too. After that, the PB is staying on the trailer and we are likely calling it a season. Thanks for all of the support and for getting the most out of an awesome winter! Bozeman has an incredible ski community and all of us on the BSF grooming crew are happy to be a part of it. It was a lot of work this winter (though the grooming crew had a good time with it) so if you know any of the groomers or see them out and about somewhere, give them a big thank you.
While our trails continue to hold together, we are backing off the grooming throttle a touch. The trails typically soften very quickly once the sun is up with the warm days and by afternoon they are nearly slush. The skiing has been quite good though lately though. So with that in mind, our plan this week is to groom Sunset Hills/ Highland Glen Tuesday and Thursday and do big grooming of all of our venues for the weekend. Sourdough may get some mid-week attention around Wednesday.
Bridger Creek and Highland Glen continue to have the best quality snow for in town skiing. Bridger creek is staying very smooth and coverage is outstanding. The upper parts of Sourdough are more wintery still but the ice patches are growing every day. Sunset Hills has good cover but is likewise growing some large water ice patches.
Thank you again to every one who came out for the Hyalite Classic on Sunday, both racers and volunteers! We had a good time grooming for it despite the variable snow and man is that one sweet, old school classic ski course. There are definitely some "sporty" parts so work on your agility and come do it again next year and bring some friends along too!
Looking to the next couple days, we will put in some effort to get our trails in shape for the weekend. The warm and the wet have made a mess and in areas where we use snowmobiles, we may not be able to do much. Bridger Creek appears to be relatively intact and not have too much water ice but the spring season bare patches are showing up and spreading. Highland Glen is in remarkably good shape in terms of coverage; the first stretch from the trail head is the only real trouble spot. I did not notice any water ice and the south slopes are holding snow. So, Highland will get a good effort tomorrow and again Saturday for weekend skiing. If we get a good freeze, it should be decent spring skiing.
Sunset Hills on the other hand, has several large slush swamps and a couple significant ice patches. We will give it a stab Friday morning and there will be some decent skiing there but it is a bit ugly.
The lower part of Sourdough likewise got quite slushy with several inches of wet snow and lots of walker traffic. Joel took the roller to Mystic Lake this morning and there was plenty of fresh snow up there, its just getting through the rough miles lower down. bare patches are forming in the usual spots where the trail crosses steep hillsides and there has been persistent spring rock fall as well. We will be out in sourdough tomorrow morning trying to get the first few miles into passable shape. We will re-evaluate our next move there after completion of the morning work.
Lastly, the Forest Service is planning to groom all of the Hyalite trails tomorrow, check back for an update on how that goes. BSF is planning to host the first ever Hyalite Classic on Sunday starting at 10AM. It is a 15km race around the Reservior starting from the big day use parking area by the dam. We will re-groom our race loop, probably very early Sunday morning. I do not know the current condition of the road but my guess is there is still ice.
What a season, our trails in town still have good coverage! Things are certainly getting crusty and Sunset Hills is developing quite a bit of water ice as it warms up. From what I have seen, Highland Glen looks to be the best skiing in town right now (after you get over the first 200m of trail which gets a lot of grit from the road) and mid morning skiing should be nice over there. Sourdough is developing some bare patches around mile 4 and is getting icy in the first mile so we will plan to run the Pisten Bully down to the Moser Trailhead again soon to provide that access point. It looks like some precipitation on the way, if its snow, we will be out grooming it!
We've had a great run with the cold and snow this year and it seems like that has finally turned around. It gets hard to keep up with the changing snow; we w ont be grooming every day but will be out enough to hopefully keep some decent trail surfaces. Mornings will be crusty, afternoons will be getting slushier. I skied most of the way to Mystic Lake from the Moser Trailhead in Hyalite yesterday and overall the skiing is very good but the snow changes rapidly along that route. In some places it is still powder, in others it is crusted over, and in others it is slush. Please use caution when skiing down any hills that get sun exposure or that are getting crusty and icy, such as the hill down to the Moser Trailhead or the steeper hills near the bottom of Sourdough.
This morning, we will be out at Sunset Hills, Highland Glen, Bridger Creek, and Sourdough. The classic tracks on the Sourdough Trail have held up very nicely from the Pisten Bully a few days ago so we will just be grooming the skate platform. Bridger Creek is likely too hard to make a classic track right now without fresh snow, so that will just be skate grooming as well. We will try to set new tracks at Sunset Hills and Highland Glen.
Next weekend, on Sunday the 18th, we are planning to host a classic race up on the Hyalite ski trails, following a roughly 15km course around the reservoir. Im sure it will be spring skiing but it should be a good time, come check it out if you are around and use it to shake your legs out after the Run to the Pub!
The skiing continues to be very good but the weather has taken a decided turn towards spring, which I myself have no complaint with. Spring skiing is a blast. Anyway, we will do what we can to keep up with freeze/thaws, particularly at Sunset Hills which can really turn into an ice block.
The plan for the next couple days is to take the PB to Sourdough tonight, including going all the way to the Moser Trailhead in Hyalite Canyon. Bridger Creek, Sunset Hills, and Highland Glen, will get a touch up tomorrow morning.
If you havent spotted it yet, we did build a skier cross course at Sunset Hills (it does not overlap any of the regular trails) so if you are feeling sendy, give it a whirl. The older snow that was used in it is quite a bit icier, so mid day is probably the best time to try it; the sun works wonders to soften it a hair.
This is the first time since I have been in Bozeman that we look to have good skiing through March, in town! We will be out and about this morning getting everything cleaned up and good to go again, the skiing should be wonderful with all of the fresh snow.
We will get to the small loops (Sac, MSU, Dog loop) when we have time. Hopefully no later than Tuesday
Sunday morning update: Snow! We had less than an inch of snow when we started grooming Sunset Hills this morning, but it was snowing hard by the time we finished. Expect soft conditions today. Grooming crew will plan to hit everything on Sunday night.
There is snow on the way for Sunday, the bulk of it looks to be during the morning hours, so there may not be much grooming until snowfall tapers off in the afternoon and evening.
Welcome to March! At this time last year, we were done grooming in town. I dont see our trails disappearing anytime soon. After skiing Sunset Hills and Highland Glen this evening, I noticed very little in the way of transformed snow. The trails are in good, mid-winter form right now and there isn't a need to groom Thursday night/Friday morning. All of our venues were groomed Wednesday night or Thursday morning (Sourdough). Friday looks to be warm, we will have everything groomed again for Saturday. Sunday may bring some snow, we will have some grooming, likely Sunset Hills, Highland Glen, and part of Sourdough, for some Sunday Skiing. Check back for updates