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!
currently, we have great skiing at all of our venues. Sourdough picked up a little bit more snow this morning after we groomed to the Moser trailhead, but I can say (from having skied it all) that it had little impact on the skiing. Everything is skiing very well right now with perfect coverage and a firm base. The classic tracks lower down in Sourdough are getting a bit glazed or washed out in places, but that is only for the first 2 miles. We are planning to get out and touch everything up Friday night and may do a little bit again on Saturday night. Warm weather is on the way and with the season winding down, we will likely stick to an every other day or so quick grooming at our main venues. Morning skiing is likely to be a bit crusty and fast if we havent groomed and afternoons will start getting soft and maybe even slushy. For now though, it sure feels like winter, so enjoy it while it lasts!
Next Saturday is the Hyalite Classic Race, the last of our citizen race series (see the citizen race series page for more info). The gist of it is a classic race on a fun, narrow trail around Hyalite Reservoir. Expect a laid back, more rustic experience! Last year was the first time we hosted this event and it was a blast so lets hope for nice weather and we can all finish out the season in good style up there! Day of race registration and race start is at the big day use parking lot just before the dam. We also need some volunteers for the event, so if want to help, just let us know!
Well, the skiing is outstanding across the board right now. Sourdough turned out much firmer than expected, as did Bridger Creek. We re-groomed to Moser Divide tonight so Sunday should be excellent skate and classic skiing there. Sunset Hills got a quick evening lap with PB and the upper cemetery loop is now groomed as well. Highland Is in great shape and now Sac and MSU have been groomed too. So, get out and enjoy while we have a ton of snow!
Well, the calendar says March but it remains deep winter. Currently, we are in our weekly dose of east wind which means that Sunset Hills and Highland Glen will drift in badly. The Pisten Bully will be out in the morning hours cleaning things up. The end result will be very good skiing but know that grooming is going to take a while. If you see the PB, please keep your distance, it can be very hard to see and when we are doing blade work, there is a lot to pay attention to and we dont need skiers popping up behind us.
Bridger Creek will get groomed in the morning and should be good skiing. Sourdough will get rolled to Moser divide again and will get a good track put in to the bridge.
The east winds tends to make a mess of the Sac School loop and with the volume of soft snow out there (we have not had the snow crusted by warm weather in a long time), it is going to take the PB to clean things up there. This will likely wait until the weekend as we have another potentially potent snow storm on the way for Friday.
Keep up the skiing, maybe one day there will be some sun and warmer temperatures.
Huge thanks to Cross Cut Mountain Sports Center and their groomer, Scott Schmidt (aka, Schmidty) for helping us pull our cat out of the ditch in Sourdough yesterday. It was a long day of trailering back and forth from town, to Cross Cut, to Sourdough, back to Cross Cut, then back to Sourdough, but having a second cat on hand to give a strong pull made life significantly easier for us. This all goes to show what an awesome ski community we have here in Bozeman. Cross country grooming operations are small and do not have the resources that alpine areas have (i.e. a fleet of snow cats) to deal with mishaps and breakdowns, which makes working together on problems vital to our success. The BSF trail crew wont hesitate to lend a hand when we get a call for help from Cross Cut (it really is a when, not if scenario, just the nature of running heavy machinery). So, thank you again to Schmidty and the whole Cross Cut crew for your time, help, and your PB100. Its good having you guys right up the road! Also, big thanks to the folks (Eric and Sarah) who intereupted their ski to go and get a snowmobile and shorten the walk out for Rich and I on Friday night. Getting out even just a little earlier helped get a good crew lined up to get that machine out in a timely manner. Cheers to all who helped!
UPDATE 3/2: Our cat is out of the ditch, huge thanks to all who helped (Scott Schmidt, Eric Trinward, Rich Hayes, and Ben Listovitch). However, the cold has taken a toll; we have two snowmobiles not running right now and we are putting the PB in a garage to thaw out for a day or two. It is going to be cold the next couple days and classic skiing will be good, but our machines need a breather from the cold and the ice build up. We will get back out again by Monday/Tuesday. Stay Warm!
Well, still a bit in disbelief that I am writing this, but I got the snowcat stuck in Sourdough last night. Fortunately, the only injury is to pride. So, what this means is the trail is only groomed to about mile 5.5 on the Mystic side and we will be out there with another cat today to pull it out, hopefully. So, I apoligize, this will have an impact on our grooming while we get things sorted out. Please give us space to work up there.
The east wind came up last night, again, so the town trails that were skiing beautifully will now have some drifting. Sheltered areas should be quite nice skiing still though.
UPDATE 2/26: Between flat tires, a clogged air filter, and difficulty starting, even the Pisten Bully is down now. We hope to get this all resolved later today and will be out clearing drifts as soon as we can!
We are back to the deep freeze with lots of wind and snow. So for today (Monday) we are just out in the Pisten Bully trying to knock drifts down. We are holding off on snowmbiles, partially because they will be very difficult to start, partially because there is a high misery factor today to the point where safety becomes a concern (imagine trying to sort out a break down at Mystic Lake in this weather...). So, if you can find shelter, there will be good skiing at Highland Glen and Sunset Hills, otherwise, go ski some powder and stay tuned for updates.