Want to cruise around Sunset Hills this weekend? Try out BSF's virtual FUNSKI series.
This weekend is the Sunset Hills World Cup. We'll have a 2.5km loop marked both Saturday and Sunday. Sign up online, time yourself, and submit your time. Go fast, or take it slow; it's a FUNSKI either way.
1 lap = 2.5 km
2 laps = 5 km
4 laps = 10 km
BONUS challenge: take a photo (or video) of your best xc ski trick. We'll have prizes and raffles at the end of the series.
Signup and learn more at https://www.bridgerskifoundation.org/events/funski
HEAD'S UP: The BSF junior teams will be zipping around the marked course from 9 am - 11 am on Saturday.
Last week was a nice glimpse of winter and it was great to see so many folks out skiing, having fun & keeping their distance. This Wednesday's wind event brought the warmest temperatures of the week along with it (plus a little rain), and did a number to the thin snowpack at most in-town venues. Sunset Hills remains the go-to with the Outer Snowmaking Loop getting groomed regularly, and the inner loops holding on for some added variety.
There's a silver lining to this week's weather: The snow pack has mostly remained, and set up into a frozen base that will pay dividends toward better skiing the next time it snows.
In Sourdough, the BSF trails crew removed numerous large trees and tree clusters that had fallen overnight Wednesday. We'll be back up there on Friday afternoon with the Pisten Bully to help groom the harder snowpack and level things out up high. Stay tuned.
A friendly reminder that there are no dogs, bikes, or walking/running allowed on any of the in-town ski venues: Bridger Creek Golf Course, Highland Glen, Sunset Hills, and the SMS & MSU small loops.
Thursday's storm was a nice surprise, with a forecasted 1" turning into more than 5" falling in town. Most of the venues were either groomed or packed today. The forecast looking forward into next week is warm, and the natural snowpack is very thin. But, colder night time temps will help & with any luck, it might stick around. We're also going to take advantage of the next few colder nights to continue to make snow at Sunset Hills.
Higher up, things have been getting better as well. Sourdough is looking good, with the crew out grooming again tonight. Should be a great weekend to get out skiing.
Better than expected conditions making snow earlier this week. We stretched things, just a little, in order to complete the outer loop at Sunset Hills, but the loop is connected! The past couple of nights were warmer and produced a little wetter snow. The downhill by the pump house is going to set-up very hard, and is narrower than other areas- we'll hopefully get some natural snow to till-in and help soften the track.
HUGE thanks to everyone supporting the Community Nordic Trails! We'll continue to add more skiing as temps and natural snowfall allow. To a Happy 2021!!!
The Wishbone "loop" at Sunset Hills is up to 1.5k and growing. We'll continue to add segments with snowmaking as conditions allow, or better, if we get significant natural snowfall.
The last round of snowfall on Tuesday brought Hyalite into the mix. Our friends at the US Forest Service groomed on Wednesday. Big thanks to them, as well as Friends of Hyalite & Gallatin County for plowing the road.
Some sections with denser canopy are still thin and need extra caution, but otherwise the skiing is beautiful.
In Sourdough, the higher elevations received similar amounts to Hyalite, but it's a rock-dodge for the first few miles getting there. We did get things packed out in both directions and should be in good shape if & when another 6-8" falls lower down in the canyon.
*Update 12/27: re-packed to Mystic only, after Saturday's snowfall.
With warmer temps this week, we've been in a holding pattern for making snow at Sunset Hills. It's looking like maybe next week things will cool off again, and as long as we don't get natural snow to do the job, we'll keep working on widening and extending the gully spur towards the softball field parking. Efforts moving forward will be to improve on what we have, fill in any thin areas, and continue to work towards offering safe, distanced and fun skiing to all. Keep up those snow dances!
Gallatin county plowed the Hyalite road yesterday morning, and we're planning to send a crew up Moser to Mystic on Friday to have a look at things, remove any downed trees, and at least give us an idea of what more we'll need to try and get things going higher up. The Lick Creek Snotel is reading only 7", so it's still thin at best.
With falling temperatures, we started making snow again last night.
The good news is that the manmade snowpack held up well with the warmer temps and sun this past week. We have 10+ inches, and that did not budge with the warm temps. As long as things stay cold enough and as long as we don't have any natural snow to help, we'll continue to make snow for the foreseeable future.
Lastnight, we hit the area in front of Lindley Center with some new splitters that will allow two snowmaking guns to run on one hydrant. We'll try to fill things in, then head south toward the softball fields lot with snowmaking, hopefully making ski access easier from that location.
Today, a portable toilet will get dropped off at the Softball parking lot.
Thanks to all the skiers out there: folks are maintaining their distance on the trail and keeping it friendly! Keep it up!
A few reminders:
Please stay to the right and keep speed in check on the downhills- there is a "Screaming Left" at the bottom, where people might be entering. Those just arriving will need to be equally considerate and aware of the in-run to the sledding hill.
Park at the softball fields (not at Lindley Center) and follow signs on the bike path for snow access.
This year, we're trying to post the times that the BSF teams will be practicing, so you know which trails may be busiest and when.
Be safe, keep your distance, & enjoy!!
While the skiing is free, if you can, please get a voluntary trail pass and/or make a donation to the BSF trails program. That's how you fund the grooming and the snowmaking!
TRAIL PASSES & DONATIONS
As of this morning, our nearly 1k "loop" is groomed and skiing well. Early morning and late afternoon/evening conditions will potentially be on the icier side as the snowpack transitions with temperatures and sun exposure.
Please stay to the right and keep speed in check on the downhills- there is a "Screaming Left" at the bottom, where people might be entering. Those just getting here will need to be equally considerate and aware of the in-run to the sledding hill.
We'll continue to take advantage of any cold nights ahead for making snow, and keep working to expand skiable terrain.
Park at the softball fields (not at Lindley Center) and follow signs on the bike path for snow access
Be safe, keep your distance, & enjoy!!
Since last Friday, we've linked together all possible windows of opportunity to make snow at Sunset Hills. Some have been great, others marginal, but we've made great progress from the pump house to the bottom of the sledding hill. The forecast ahead will limit snowmaking shifts to the early morning only- too warm in the evenings, and the morning shifts may drop off as well by the end of the weekend if things aren't cold enough overnight.
The next 3-4 days will still be primarily geared toward snowmaking operations. Our focus has shifted away from connecting to Lindley center toward making the available snow as complete of a loop as it can be for safe, distanced, and fun skiing & training.
Our goal is to have things up and running by Sunday, after some pinch points and thin areas are addressed with more artificial snow.
If that can happen, parking will still need to be at the softball complex, with snow access at the gully area near the bottom of the sledding hill. From the softball complex, skiers will need to cross Highland Boulevard, and follow the paved bike path downhill (to the north) and cut in toward the bottom of the sledding hill on the footpath. It will be wet and muddy in that area- While less than ideal, it's the best option right now. Please give us a few more days to fill in the gaps, and once on snow, pay special attention to avoid tracking mud and dirt onto the groomed snowpack.
Keep in mind this is a very dry start to our ski season this year. See the Montana Snow Survey to see where we are for the season thus far. (The Lick Creek Snotel, near Sourdough, only has 4 in. of snow--46% of the median snow for this time of year.) Do your snow dances! We will begin grooming at other venues when we have an adequate base.
As always, thank you for supporting the Community Nordic Trails Program, and snowmaking efforts at Sunset Hills! Stay tuned for further updates.
Snowmaking efforts resumed this morning. We will try to work with the colder, drier overnight forecast ahead into next week and operations will be limited primarily to early morning shifts when the temps, relative humidity and wind are lower. To be efficient, we need at least low 20's F and relative humidity below 80.
Crews will be working from the pump house toward the sledding hill and Lindley Center to try and get enough base down (10-12" minimum) that the Pisten Bully can work on. From there, absent more natural snowfall, we will continue to work around the perimeter loop and connect past the softball complex back to the pump house.
Without consistent cold, dry daytime temps (or enough natural snowfall), it will take a considerable amount of time before grooming can begin.
Beautiful, warmer days are forecasted ahead... Sunset Hills will see some foot traffic.
PLEASE avoid walking/tracking mud onto the man-made snow piles... it will remain in the snowpack and get tilled-up by the groomer, as well as accelerate melting on sunny days.
Thanks for supporting the Community Nordic Trails!! (and keep up those snow dances!!)