Friday, December 28, 2007

SWNSC Ski Clinic & "Fun" Race Events

The Southwest Nordic Ski Club ( will be hosting its annual ski instructional clinic on Saturday, January 5th, at 10am at the end of the Ski Pajarito parking lot.

This clinic is also in conjuction with the Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon ( & Chama Chili Classic ( clinics, both sponsored by Sportz Outdoor in Albuquerque.

The clinics will be run by members of the SWNSC, including PSIA-certified instructors Jessica Kisiel (Kisiel Koaching: and Ken Kisiel.

The clinics will be broken into different ski ability levels and disciplines (skate and/or classic styles).

If you're around on Sunday morning, we might be holding a very informal training time trial (a la Tuesday night time trial format) -- freestyle. We’ll start early…meet at 8:30am at the end of the Ski Pajarito parking lot for a group warmup and course inspection. We’ll try to get going around 9:30am.

Help us spread the word.

Time to get those xc skis out and get used to breathing hard again!

Trail Report 12/28/07

Trail received 1" to 2", depending on where it was measured. It was tough to tell, since the wind blew hard last night. The meadow trails are all drifted from the small amount of snow.

The new snow made for nice skiing in the woods, however, and since the lower road was bladed, it was nice skiing too. The classic track was best there, amazingly.

It was -13*F in the ski area parking lot this morning. Pretty much anything worked for kick (Swix green or blue). Classic track is rough around the edges, but holding; it's all drifted in open areas.

Trails will need to be regroomed soon from lots of skier traffic, but are OK for now.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Trail Report 12/27/07

I got up to the trails last evening to see for myself what the conditions were. Things were a bit rough from all of the skier, snowshoer, dog and foot traffic, so I ran the snomo with the blades on everything to freshen up the skate lane and grind up some of the considerable tree trash that always seems to be prevalent on these trails.

The classic track seemed to be in surprisingly good condition, albeit a little washed out in spots and with very wide tracks from the skier traffic. It looks like a little bit of blue klister mixed in with a hard wax would would quite well if it doesn't snow much....otherwise just a cold wax would work. They're not glazed over just yet, but quite firm.

It was snowing lightly and cold up there this morning, so we'll have to see if it amounts enough to regroom with the Tidd groomers.

In general it is still quite good in most locations. The meadow is still very bumpy and you need to use caution and keep your eyes peeled for the occasional rock or log hiding just beneath the top surface.

Thanks goes out to Paul Graham, who has tirelessly shoveled the thin spots on the early part of the trail, the bumpy spots on several other areas, and who has continued to trim troublesome branches on many areas of the trail. It is utterly amazing what a difference that has made. Thanks Paul!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Trail Conditions 12/26/07

Word is that the snow is holding up well in the cool temperatures and things are still good. The trail hasn't been regroomed in several days, but really doesn't need it due to the unchanging status in the past few days. The classical track is a bit washed out in many locations, but is still holding and in good shape for training.

The trail system will mostly likely be regroomed for the weekend, or if it snows tomorrow. We'll hold off on regrooming it until then, to avoid unecessary wear and tear on the equipment.

The meadow trail loop was worked and flattened and a classic track was set there. Snow depth is still not covering everything out there, so be careful.

Remember, the club will be having its clinic on January 5, with perhaps a club "fun" time trial early on the 6th. Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Photos and Trail report 12/22/2007

As of this afternoon (sat 12/22) 2" of powder on top of groomed trails in the woods Very skatable. Meadow in spectacular freshly groomed shape thanks to Ken. Watch out for stumps and rocks buried flush with surface. A beautiful day, should be just as good Sunday.

Donna and me in the lower woods

Lots of folks out on the trails today including the now regular visiting from ABQ nob hill bike contingent. Lots of club members out, Paul, Joe, Jess, Ken, Donna, Me, John, a few others I am forgetting.

Donna? talking to Joe? or other tiny far away people talking

Paul and John talking at the top of the loop

See the rest of my photos from today here

Monday, December 17, 2007

Post weekend trail report (12/17/07)

Wow, what a great weekend of skiing on the SWNSC trails! Thanks to everyone who has put in so much time making things get to this point, and thanks to all of the SWNSC supporters. It really can't happen without the support.

Skiing was simply fantastic this weekend. Thanks go out to Ken Kisiel who got up early and despite having some initial machinery setbacks, got out and bladed the whole trail system multiple times to flatten out all of the wobbles that are prevalent this time of the year. It really made things nice and set up the trail for Dave Wykoff, who brought up the revamped Kermit with new tracks and did the final grooming work and set the track. All that work made the trails look completely professionally groomed by much more expensive equipment.

Also, a big thank you goes out to Paul Graham and his peeps, Carl Hagelburg and Joe Baehr, for getting out there and working on resetting the fencing (no small effort, that's for sure) and cutting out literally thousands of aspen shoots and trimming branches in places that were not only hindering skiing, but also grooming. That was awesome work and we all appreciate it. It really looks great and skis great.

And finally, Tom Berg shook off his flu and cold and came up to set up the signs. People are doing a much better job this year in being courteous and following the trail signs. Thanks Tom, and hopefully, we'll do a better job in keeping them a little more organized when we pull them off next spring.

Here are some pics of the trail work crew:

Paul Graham

Joe Baehr hard at work!
Thanks Carl

Trail Conditions 12/16/07

12" base, 100% open, classic track and skate lane. Some rocks exposed but good conditions for middle December.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Trail Report 12/13/07

Well, the trail reports keep rolling in as we do a little bit each evening to get on top of things. It's been a bit rough so far, with a new machine (see Tom's blog) that needed some tweaking and tuning, and our handy trackster Kermit out with a broken track (!), thus we haven't been able to get in a really good complete session of grooming just yet.

Slowly, but surely, we're getting the bugs ironed out, everything run and hopefully by this weekend, we'll have everything groomed out for both classical and skate to full width.

As of now, the upper trails are somewhat groomed for both skate and classical, and the lower meadow trail to the lower road is groomed for classical only. The lower road still has a lot of work to be done for skating, but it should be nice for classical, unless the foot traffic and pets destroy it before the next go-round.

If you can spare some time this weekend, there are some small trail projects that make a BIG difference and REALLY need to get done:
  1. some portions of the front hill shade fence need to be reset. The big storm pulled the whole lower portion down and the posts need to be reset (further into the trail) and the fening restrung. This will keep it from happening again.
  2. The signs need to be set up
  3. There are a lot of aspen shoots on the far upper portions of the trail, mainly from the last switchback all the way to the top of the meadow trail. The lower road also has a lot of them. A little set of hand loppers would do the trick...just dig down as deep as possible below the top surface of the snow and snip them off.

That's about it for now. We'll see what we can get done for the weekend. We have to replace Kermit's tracks with some that we had to purchase and have shipped. They were quite expensive, so the club budget took a big hit this week =(

SWNSC New Machine Fund Raiser Drive

Greetings SWNSC Members and supporters.

You may have heard that the club recently purchased another Ski Doo Alpine Snomobile for trail grooming. Our grooming process has always been to do the heavy grooming with the Cushman Tracksters, and the fast cleanup and maintenance grooming with one of our two aging Alpines...

We will be losing access to one of the Green Cushman Tracksters as it belongs to Dave personally and he is putting it on the market now for various reasons, tho the club's "Kermit Trackster" will continue to be available for heavy fact "Kermit" was used last night to roll all the trail system.

We have needed a new snomobile for some time now, because the old ones are worn out and quite undependable. The problem for the club has been that a new grooming snomobile costs over $10,000 dollars, money the club just doesn't have, and is unlikely to be able to raise anytime soon.

This Fall Dave Wykoff spotted a 1980 Alpine for sale on Ebay. The remarkable thing about it is that it had been stored in Green Bay WI and not used much for the last 25 years: so it is in incredible shape.

The groomers agreed we should bid on it and Clay, Ken/Jessica and Paul volunteered to provide the funds, and Dave, our Ebay specialist, handled the bidding, which was intense and contested right down to the final minute. Dave prevailed and got the machine for a $2200 bid. It cost another $699 for shipping from Green Bay, so these benefactors have around $2900 tied up in the machine. Here's a photo of it while we were getting it tuned in the Apogen shop in Los Alamos:

The two old alpines will be put on Ebay and should defray around $500 of the cost, as both snomobiles are in running condition, since there is a surprisingly large market out there for old Alpines, regardless of condition.

In the meantime we need to get together and help repay Clay, Ken/Jessica and Paul for some portion of the big bucks they put up for the new Alpine.

So I propose a "REPAY CLAY" [and Ken and Paul] fundraiser. To get things going both John Ullman and I have each put up $200 challenge grants, and we're asking that you members and donors respond with whatever you can spare. It doesn't have to be $200, any amount will help whether it be $25, $50 or whatever.

You can send a check to SWNSC, P O Box 1556, Los Alamos NM 87544.... make it out to Southwest Nordic Ski Club, but do specify that it is for the "REPAY CLAY" fund. Also if you haven't yet joined for the 2007-2008 season, now would be a great time to take care of that.

You can download membership forms from the club website at:
Thanks for your help,

Tom Berg

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trail (& machine status) 12/10/07

It has snowed heavily today, both in town and up at the trails...especially up at the trails. There is a lot of new snow on top of what came down over the weekend and was groomed by Ken & Dave.

As posted by Tom B., Kermit, our trackster broke a track and we are short a machine. Luckily, we have the "new" snowmobile to cover while we get it fixed...probably by the weekend, sometime.

With that, it is going to take longer to get on top of the new snow. We'll begin packing it tomorrow with the machine, and hopefully get quite a bit of that done by tomorrow evening with the second session.

Until later in the week, expect soft conditions. I would suggest your classical touring skis until we get the Tidd over it and set a classical track and get the skate lane groomed. Either way, it's great new snow and will be great skiing!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

12/9/2007 grooming report

From Tom Berg:

The ski season has officially begun as Ken K and Dave W groomed the entire trail system this morning using Kermit and the new Rambette snomobile. Thanks gentlemen for a beautyful job of grooming.

Quite a bit of this storm fell as rain again, but about 10" did fall as snow after it cooled down up there last night.... enough for the guys to groom everything out to full width for skating.... there really wasn't enough base to put in a classic track... but the base is in great shape now for the next storm on mon/tue. And conditions are good enough that you don't need to use rock skiis anymore..... just be careful looking out for the occasional stump or rock on the front hill.... but you can ski in and out from the base, no problem.

The classic skiing was quite nice even without tracks, and the skating was good. Do try to get up and ski today or 1st thing tomorrow.

Caveat: Los Alamos County still hasn't plowed the road [maybe they don't do it till the downhill area opens?] so it's a bit tricky getting up there, but well worth the trip.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Getting stuck while grooming This link is a great example of what the groomers encounter on regular basis. Lesson learned for us groomers, always carry a shovel. I recall last year that Clay and I had about five similar experiences in a single night all in the meadow using Kermit. Hope we get to contend with similar conditions this year. Getting stuck means the skiing is bound to be good.

December 5, 2007 trail report

The snow fence is now up at the big rock. The snow has mostly melted off up to the coat tree. From there it improves with the best base in the usual north aspect sections. Any amount of new snow should get us very close to having skiing. I think 6" will get us there.

Monday, December 3, 2007

I just returned from my evening ski on the trails. It was about what I had expected. Some areas are good for a few strides, but it is thin, at best, and non-existent in some places. I still enjoyed the good stretches a lot on my old rock skis. I knew where to watch out for the rocks and bare ground, but I don't suggest skiing until we get more snow. Most areas are primed for another storm and may be skiable with the right amount of snow, but a couple of burn-out areas exist. Here are some pics:

Looking down TJ's and where I turned around last evening with the trackster -- lots of debris

The tree mess on Dave's, the rock section needs fencing

Good stretch
Aspen shoots on upper section

The meadow is ready for more snow

Turn around at the "Baca" fence...a little rough

The most improved section of trail from this fall's work parties -- looks great, and skis much better than before!

12/03/07 Trail Report

Ken Kisiel called me yesterday after hiking the trails and said the previous night's storm blew down a few trees, including one big green one on the front hill, which meant it fell right on the snow fencing =( So, since I had plans to go up and pack the little bit of new snow, we coordinated a late afternoon/early evening work party to go clear out the trees and then send me on up in the trackster to pack down the new snow.

We cleared out the downfall that covered the front hill and early parts of the trail from A to the "coat tree" at B, then we parted ways and he went down the cut-off to clear the lower road downfall while I used the trackster and roller to pack the trails.

I didn't know what to expect; it looked really thin and not so good early, but once I got to pt. C at the intersection at TJ's, it started to look pretty good. The early packing job and the little bit of wet (rainy mixed) snow was starting to amount to something and was setting up in the cold temps (~10*F).

I had to pick my way through the big rocks on the main trail, so that area is not so great, but Dave's Dogleg looks good. There were 5(!) trees down on Dave's, so it took a while to get it cleared out. There's saw dust and limbs all over the place on Dave's, but I ran over with the roller, so it shouldn't be a problem.

On up past Dave's, the main trail is hit and miss with good snow, and "the Rock" below pt. J REALLY needs the fencing installed. It makes a big difference. The snow from the Rock to pt. J is thin, as usual, but then past J, it is actually quite good. It all got rolled (including the meadow) with a pass up and down, so hopefully it set up nicely and will be ready for the next storm.

The last switchback had some pretty thick aspen shoots...if you go up and can spare a few minutes knocking some of those out, it would be great.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of the trail, but I plan on going up there tonight with my rockiest of rock touring skis to check it out. I'll try to remember my camera and post tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone who made it out this weekend for the incredibly productive work party. The effects of that snow fencing were evident last evening, as the tiny amount of snow was still there and frozen to the ground.

Think snow!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

12/1/2007 Work Party

The promised reams of snow never materialized (damn you weathermen!) but a bunch of us got out and cleared the trail and put up the lower section of snow fencing. Thanks to all that came out (Tom, Donna, John, Joe, Clay, Denny, Ken, Scott, Paul, Dave, Tarik, ah crap I am sure I missed someone...)

Trudging up the meager coverage

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Kermit and crew follow soon

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Paul pounds post, pound paul pound!

The sunshade snowfence is in place for the future snow.

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