Well, winter weather is back and we are getting a nice refresh of the ski trails. For this morning, we will get out on Sunset Hills and maybe Highland, as well as to the bridge in Sourdough. We will get back out again tonight on pretty much everything. It looks like more snow on the way Wednesday as well.
Expect soft but good skiing at all of our venues!
General reminder to everyone at Sourdough and Hyalite; the government shut down does not mean the rules shut down as well. Sourdough is a busy enough place as it is and ignoring the rules only makes it worse for everyone. Please, clean up after your dog, keep your dog close, and be mindful of other people, whether they are walking or skiing or running. Skiers slow down a bit and give other users plenty of space when passing (and mind your dogs as well). Sourdough is a busy place and only getting busier; everyone out there needs to treat it as such. Our friends at Run Dog Run have been taking care of the dog waste station, so a big thank you to them for that volunteer work!
The skiing in town has been in great shape over the last week, hopefully people have been getting out and enjoying it! Hopefully we will pick up some snow in town, it would be really nice to see some fresh. Regardless, we will get out and give Sunset Hills and Highland Glen a touch up, as well as groom Sourdough to the bridge on Friday morning. For the weekend we will make sure everything is in good shape and ready to go. We have been trying to keep the Moser trailhead groomed in order to alleviate some of the pressure on the Bozeman Creek trailhead. The skiing has been decent up there but it does get a lot of afternoon sun and can get quite crusty. Highland Glen has some thin spots on some of the steep, south facing hills but overall is in very good shape. Bridger Creek is skiable but very thin and we really just have to wait for snow...unfortunate but thats the reality. The good news is there are lots of shady spots that have not crusted over and still have decent tracks, all things considered.
Hyalite is skiable but getting crustier. The Sac loop and MSU loop are both thin but in decent shape.
The skiing has been outstanding for the last couple days and promises to continue that way through the weekend! Between Friday night and Saturday morning, we will get all of the major areas groomed up, including a portion of the Hyalite Trails. On Friday, BSF groomed the west shore trail, sleeping giant to Palisades, and a loop through the Hood Creek area at Hyalite. Meanwhile, Sourdough will be groomed to Mystic Lake and the Moser Trailhead. We are leaving the old classic tracks as they are in decent shape still. There are occasional icy patches at Sourdough but overall, the snow is very good. The trails in town have all stayed dry and cool through the warm up and have been as good as ever, so get out for a nice ski this weekend! On Monday, Map Brewing is hosting a pint night for our trails program with a portion of the nights sales going to the Community Trails Program, so ski a bunch this weekend, then come have a beer or two with us on Monday!
With the cold nights and high pressure, we will groom enough to keep the skiing good, but our snowpack is still very thin and the less we can do the better. As long as there is little change in the snow, which the cold nights help a lot with, we will likely groom every other day or so.
Just a couple updates. Trails are in great shape right now. There are some thin spots here and there still (we really dont have much snow) but overall the skiing is incredible! Starting this week, we are grooming a short loop at MSU for their Outdoor Rec Program. This is located off of Lincoln St and is open to the public but there is not much in the way of public parking. This is our second year doing this and the MSU ORP plans to use the loop for teaching skiing and educating students about xc ski trails. It also provides a quick escape to exercise for anyone in the MSU part of town.
For upcoming events, the next one is a community trails pint night at Map Brewing on Monday, January 14th. Come join us and help support our community ski trail system!
Some other happenings; the outhouse at the Softball fields was trashed recently and we were billed for extra cleaning (yes, BSF pays for the outhouses at the town ski venues too) so it will now be locked at night and opened sometime during the morning hours. Unfortunate, but its our best solution right now.
General reminders: there are still people running on Sunset Hills and Highland Glen, if you see them, please help us out and be an ambassador and remind them that they have a plethora of trail options nearby that are not groomed for skiing. Bridger Creek has been seeing some walkers too, which is also not allowed.
Despite the warm days, our trails are all holding on as packed powder and the skiing should be quite good. Coverage at all of our venues is now in mid winter form, including at Bridger Creek. The other night at Sourdough, we did groom down to the Moser Trail head with the snowmobiles, so that is a good access point for the upper reaches of the Sourdough System for those who want to skip the lower miles. The road has been plowed to Hyalite and it is in good shape. With little change in the snow anywhere, we have not been back up to Hyalite since the 31st but I expect that the trail is holding up and skiing well.
Evening Update 12/31: The road to Hyalite is plowed and is easy driving! Great news for the Hyalite tour. We got a lot groomed: the west shore trail, sleeping giant, palisades, wildhorse/lick creek, and across the road and back up to the big day use parking lot. The skiing should be good, get out the green kick wax and tar wax and go for a nice cruise!
We got quite a bit of snow and enough wind to get it moving around over the last 24 hours. With the Hyalite Tour coming up tomorrow, that will be our main focus for the day. We will work on our town trails so that there is something for the town skier as well but don't expect all of it to get done immediately. We got out and knocked down drifts at Sunset Hills and Highland last night, hopefully that will help speed things along today. Sourdough will take some slow, chipping away at as well, the crew got out there last night to knock things down as well and reported a lot of snow and a huge drift across the trail at Mystic Lake. So, in Sourdough, we will at least get a roller to the bridge and have that stretch of trail packed down for now, we'll chip away at the rest after the Hyalite Tour. Given the heavy snowfall and not having the help of the Forest Service this year, we will do what we can at Hyalite. I expect we will have to track pack everything first before we can set a good classic track. With this in mind, we will probably focus on the gentler trail options (which really is everything except sleeping giant) and go for quality over quantity. Also, I don't expect the road will get plowed until after new years, so please be prepared for snowy driving and carpool with people who have all wheel/4 wheel drive and snow tires (and/or chains) for the Hyalite Tour.
Stay tuned for more updates, thanks for bearing with us.
Apologies for the lack of more detailed updates lately, times have been busy. Fortunately, the skiing has been about as good as it gets. Highland, Sunset Hills, and Sourdough are all in excellent mid winter condition right now and are a joy to ski. In Sourdough we did groom all the way to the Moser Trailhead in Hyalite, so that is an alternative access point for those who prefer to skip the lower section from the Bozeman Creek trailhead. On Saturday, we had a crew out packing and clearing the Hyalite Trails and we will get back out there on Monday to set tracks for the Hyalite Tour on Tuesday. The Hyalite Tour is simply a show up and ski low key event. BSF will be set up in the big day use parking lot by the dam along with Friends of Hyalite. The Forest Service would've joined us if it werent for the shut down.
Conditions at Bridger Creek continue to improve and we are probably to the point where we can have regular grooming there rather than just when it snows. The upper loops, particularly the outer one, have a lot of sunny aspect on them and have taken a long time to gather snow.
For today, Sunday, Highland and Sunset Hills will get a morning touch up to clean up drifts from the wind overnight, then we will be waiting on the weather; forecast says 1-3 inches and then COLD, so we will try to get out just as the snow ends and before the deep freeze hits. Our PB is down for repairs this week but we will keep at it on snowmobiles.
First off, thanks to everyone who's purchased a trails pass so far.
Bozeman is fortunate. This is a community where people come together to support nonprofits. You help us keep 70+ km of trails groomed. You make a voluntary trail pass system work so that anyone can ski on these trails, no matter what their financial situation is. THANK YOU. #OnlyInBozeman
TRAIL PASS SALES TO DATE: $25,350
TRAIL PASS GOAL FOR SEASON: $40,000
Yes, BSF trail passes are voluntary. But the catch is that BSF has to sell at least $40,000 of trail passes each year to fund grooming on Community Nordic Trails. It's costs more than $70,000 each year to run the trail grooming program.
(Trail passes can be purchased online or in person at Bangtail, Chalet Sports, or Round House Sports.)
Yesterday afternoon the snow finally transformed a bit and by evening, the in town trails had gotten quite crusty. Temperatures just made it back to freezing this morning and will soon rebound. This morning, we will try to smooth things/break up the crust a bit at Highland Glen and Sourdough. We are staying off of Sunset Hills until we start grooming for the JNQ races this weekend, either Thursday night or Friday morning. It is still fine to ski there but expect it to be a bit crusty.
Stay tuned and think snow!
I skied both Sunset Hills and Highland Glen yesterday and the skiing is excellent! Despite the warm weather, the trails have held up well and the snow is staying dry with only a minimal crust and have not seen significant melting. In order to protect our thin snowpack in town, we did no in town grooming last night. Skiers can expect a slightly crusted snow in the morning, which should soon soften pleasantly to nice skiing by mid day. Dont let the warm weather discourage you, the skiing is excellent!
Sourdough got a touch up to the Bridge last night and I expect some of the lower sections may be getting a bit icy. The mountains south of town have seen some wilder temperatures and anything exposed to the sun will be crusty.
As you may have noticed, there has been a lot of shovel and snow moving activity at Sunset Hills lately. This is because BSF is hosting the first of our regions Junior National Qualifiers this coming Friday through Sunday. There will be kids from Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming in town this weekend and we want to make sure our trails are in good shape, so we have been padding up the sun-exposed spots and adding extra snow where we can to shore things up. If the snow does soften significantly and your skis are sinking in, please head elswhere to ski, in light of the races. I dont think this is likely to happen but keep it in mind. We want to avoid leaving deep ruts in the thin base.
For the weekend, Sunset Hills will be closed for races and we recommend finding elsewhere to ski. We will be sure to have Sourdough and Highland skiing nicely for the weekend.
If we get some snow, we will be sure to have Bridger Creek groomed up as well. Cover is extremely thin there right now.