It is looking like we have a stretch of warmer, more "seasonal" weather ahead, so enjoy the in town skiing while we have it! If we do get any more snow we will get out and pack it down and do what we can to keep things going. With the thin snow and soft, warm ground, I expect things are going to melt over the next few days. Not grooming limits the spread of dirt and will hopefully help things last a little longer (you always loose some snow when you groom by virtue of breaking it up mechanically). We will get the rest of trails marked over the next week or so, so that next time winter shows up, we will be ready to groom most of our trails.
In the meantime, consider purchasing a community trails pass; a larger portion of our funding is from the sale of these (which are not required, just encouraged). You get a lot of skiing season long for not that much money.
Mark your calendars for Wednesday, November 13th, we will be selling trail passes and socializing at Lockhorn Cider House through the evening!
I know the snow and cold weather has people eager to get out and ski all of the trails they can but please, do not ski at Bridger Creek Golf Course until we start grooming there. This request is coming from golf course. They are still in the process of winterizing and there will be machinery out on the course still and the less people there are out there, the easier that task is. Further, the ground is still soft and the cover is thin, which means it is easy to damage the golf course. Since BSF does not own any land, we rely on people and groups who do for our ski trails and we need to respect the wishes of those land owners. Give it some time, you will know when we start grooming over there.
In the mean time, we did some more drift smoothing at Sunset Hills and things are looking very good for October and early November skiing. Cover is thin, so be ready for grass.
Lots of folks got out to ski today and from the sounds of things, its pretty dang good for only being October. Enjoy it for the novelty of it alone!
Anyway, on the note of it being only October, there is one more Cyclo Cross Race at Lindley this coming Wednesday. Remember that most of the ski trails are in the middle of the field and do not cross the cyclo cross track, so I am confident that there wont be too much impact on the skiing (and besides, it is early to have groomed skiing, we might loose it by next week, who knows?). The Cyclo Cross folks have a use agreement with the city for their series (just like we do) so please respect them being out there for one last weekik and cheer them on! Some snowy bike racing could be pretty entertaining!
It sounds like more snow on the way tomorrow, we will pack that down again, then wait and see what we get. We will mark the Highland Trails this week but I am not sure if we will try packing anything over there yet. Remember, it is only October.
With our mowing done, snowmobiles out and running, and some prolonged cold this week, we have started in on packing trails at Sunset Hills! While the ground is still quite soft and there is a considerable wet layer at the base of the snow, enough of it fell to make taking a snowmobile out worthwhile. Last night, I track packed the main Sunset Hills loop and this morning am planning to take a roller out and pack some more. While it will be skiable, remember, the ground is soft, so poles may bring up mud, and we are just trying to build a trail base right now, not groom to perfection. Check back for updates. I do know that people have been out on skis already and they had a pretty good time!
A couple of notes for today: BSF will be out skiing around 9AM for 2 hours or so, so plan around that if you dont want a crowd of kids. Also, the grooming crew will be marking trails and setting out fences through the day so expect to see snowmobiles out and about.
There are not yet any signs up but remember, there is no foot traffic, dogs, or sledding (the big hill near Lindley Center, for example) on the groomed ski trails in town.
Lastly, please do not ski at the golf course yet, we'd like to help them protect their course while the ground is still so soft.
In the last week, we have made some good progress in getting our trails ready for winter; Highland Glen is mowed (thanks to Bret Pearson, who also mows Rendezvous Trails in West Yellowstone) and today, the city mowed Sunset Hills (thanks, Todd!). This past Thursday, the BSF nordic team did some hand tool finish work on our new hill at Sunset Hills, so thanks to them for pitching in on that for an hour!
We are still on for our volunteer work day at Sourdough tomorrow, 10/19, starting at 10AM. We have a number of loppers/hand trimmers from GVLT and the Forest Service said they can bring some more but those tools will be limited. If you have hand saws or clippers, please bring them (no power tools, please). We do have shovels and rakes to clean up some of the dirt sloughs that come down off of the steep road cuts too. Come prepared for weather and bring snacks, water, and gloves. If you want to bring a bike to facilitate getting further up the trail, please do! We'll plan to work for 2 hours or so and are planning to have coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies for volunteers. See you there!
Well, for today and the next, it feels more like winter than fall. An early to mid October snowfall seems to be the case most years and it always seems to come right as we are planning to mow all of our in town trails (we at least got to the upper part of Sourdough back in August!). So, over the next few weeks, we will be getting our mowing done (once this snow melts), marking out trails, and getting machinery ready to go. In case you were wondering, we will not be doing any grooming for this current storm (October 9th, 2019); the ground is still very warm and all of your favorite groomers are still working full-time summer jobs. In the meantime, enjoy this snow while it lasts and consider buying a trail pass to support your community nordic trails!
Some reminders and upcoming events
-While it is tempting, please do not ski on Bridger Creek Golf Course right now. With the soft, wet ground and thin snow cover, skiing is likely to damage the golf course (think holes from poles). It is early October and they are hoping this will melt so they can get a few more rounds in before winter really gets here.
-As of now, the Hyalite Cleanup is still on for the afternoon of Saturday 10/12. See the Friends of Hyalite website for details.
-We are putting on a volunteer work day at Sourdough on Saturday, October 19th, starting at 8:30AM. The focus will be on trimming brush and cleaning up trash between the trail head and the bridge. The Forest Service and GVLT will provide some tools and we plan to work for 2-3 hours.
-There are two upcoming pint nights to benefit community trails; the first at Lockhorn Cider on Wednesday, November 13th, the next at Bozone Brewing on Sunday, December 8th. Come out and have a pint to support our trails!
Lastly, we have built a new hill at Sunset Hills! The cemetery had a mountain of dirt to get rid of and after some false starts, it was moved to a location on the ski trails (near george bush) during the summer. Over the last weekend, Greg Johnson brought an excavator over and shaped the pile into a nice, steep hill. So, big thanks to the City, the Cemetery, and Greg for getting it done!
UPDATE: Highland Glen in particular is in very good shape and I think we easily have another week of skiing there!
We are already at the last weekend of March and we still have skiing in town! Grooming work is primarily to smooth things out periodically; the snow is softening quickly most days and is typically getting slushy towards the afternoon. Today, we will get out at Sunset Hills and Highland Glen, potentially grooming again Saturday night/Sunday morning. Sunset Hills has some large slush patches which will only get bigger. We are also planning to smooth out the lower loops at Bridger Creek, which mostly have good coverage still. The slush is taking over the low spots and some of the upper loops have melted out, so this will be the last weekend for grooming at Bridger Creek. We will keep an eye on Sunset Hills and Highland Glen but this may well be the last weekend for them as well.
As for Sourdough, I went and took a look at conditions the other day and found the trail surface holding up surprisingly well; coverage is excellent and there is not a lot of water ice yet. However, the avalanche debris is a problem. While it is surely possible to get a snowmobile past it, any mistake would put the machine in the creek bottom. With this weekend being the last we are allowed to groom there, warm temperatures up into the mountains, and good skiing in town, we wont be getting the Pisten Bully over there (the parking lot is quite the slush pit too). Based on the weekend forecast, mid day-afternoon skiing at Sourdough should be nice spring skiing (call it sun grooming).
So, enjoy the skiing we have left, thank you everyone for an incredible season, and keep at it while the snow lasts!
On another note, as things start to melt out, keep in mind that summer trails, such as those at Highland Glen, will be extremely muddy and wet. Please use good judgement and stay off of the trails for a bit while the dry out. Highland Glen is private land and we are lucky to have year round trails there. However, it will be quite some time before any of those summer trails even show up, there is still a lot of snow! Runners, hikers, dog walkers, please be patient, there are lots of other places to go. Foot prints in the ski trail are deep this time of year and can be difficult to erase, even with the Pisten Bully, so please stay off of the ski trails for a bit longer.
First off, thanks to everyone who came out for the Hyalite Classic on Saturday! The conditions were variable, as expected, but that didnt stop people from smiling! There was some exciting, icy skiing up there but someone, there werent any injuries. So, thanks for coming out and rallying!
Now, we are getting rain and maybe a touch of snow before a couple more warm days, so not good news for trails. The slush lakes are getting a little bigger every day and there is not much we can do with the saturated snow unless it freezes. So, stay tuned, we will probably get out a time or two still, but for now the weather has us shut down.
That doesnt mean stop skiing though! Id expect decent crust cruising here in town early in the mornings!
Well, it got warm and the snow melt is going strong. We will try to keep grooming every other day or so, but we need the snow to crust over and firm up before doing so. Everyday, more slush patches are showing up at our venues. Highland Glen has a rather large slush patch that we have already had to build a snow road over once and I am not sure that will last much longer, if it hasnt failed already. In addition to the slush and water ice development, there has been at least one wet slab avalanche in Sourdough (yes, you read correctly, wet slab avalanche) so please be careful. Avalanches are not something we normally think about nordic skiing but this year, stay heads up and I would recommend staying clear of Sourdough during the afternoon when the sun is strong on those exposed slopes. Rock fall is typically a spring concern at Sourdough as well, keep an eye out!
Tomorrow is the last community race event, the Hyalite Classic and I expect conditions to be, well, interesting. It is going to be very hard to set a track an unless we get a little shot of snow tonight/tomorrow morning (there is a chance of that, actually) we will most likely not bother with tracks an simply smooth the trail and try to make for safe conditions. It should be a fun event, so come join us for the close out of the season!
It sure is starting to feel like spring. The cool nights are definitely saving our trails but the warm afternoons (getting increasingly warm through the week) will take a toll. For now, we are sticking to an every other day or so grooming as long as we get a freeze overnight. This means most of our work will now be in the early morning hours so that the snow can dry sufficiently before we till it up. We are mainly trying to smooth things out. Expect crusty, fast skiing early in the day that softens quickly in the sun. Afternoon skiing will start to get slow and sticky. Watch for grooming updates at Bridger Creek, Sourdough, Sunset Hills, and Highland Glen. We are done grooming the small loops now that is spring break and the melt season has begun. Sourdough was groomed last night/this morning up to the Bridge. The lower section will be getting icy and firm, especially where it is in the sun, so please be extremely careful on the way down. We have also groomed to the Moser Trailhead as an alternate access. The Hyalite Road is passable but be prepared for ice and drive slow. No word on whether the Forest Service has been around the ski trails up there yet. Town trails were groomed Saturday morning and are in good shape. Highland Glen does have a large slush patch forming and Im afraid this is just the beginning of the spring mess. For now, the skiing is great, so get out and enjoy!