Thursday, February 21, 2008


This is a general ‘Thank You’ to all of the [SWNSC] Nordic club supporters and volunteers. This has been a good season…we’ve seen better in terms of snow, but snow isn’t everything. The success of the Nordic club is really what has made this season so great, and it is in most part due to the generous donations of the trail users and club members that has kept the club viable and actually successful this year.

In years past, there were several of us club members wondering how we were going to continue making things work. It seemed that we were all bailing water out of a sinking ship and that there wasn’t a whole lot of hope to continue the operation. That would have been sad, as the ability to cross-country ski on this system of trails in this location in the world is a very special, somewhat transcendental experience. There are so many other places to cross-country ski, but there is an intangible quality to being able to ski here, almost right out our back door.

I realize we could still “ski” on the trails if the club didn’t exist, but it wouldn’t last for long, nor would anything other than rugged back-country skiing and snowshoeing be possible for much of the winter. In fact, it would only be possible for short periods after snowstorms. First of all, many, MANY trees fall across the trail system and must be cleared away to permit free passage through the trails. Secondly, the snow would be so uneven and rutted out from the various types of traffic and weather that it would be quite treacherous most of the time. Eventually, Mother Nature would reclaim the trails that the club has so painstakingly created, improved upon, and maintained all of these years. The Forest Service allows the club to maintain the trails, year ‘round, for the purpose of winter xc skiing recreation. It just so happens that it works for many recreational purposes such as mountain biking, hiking, running, horse-back riding, and hunting as well.

So, the club’s existence is critical to the survival of the trail system and the process of grooming for safe and fun skiing that is so abundant during the winter. The club’s existence is only possible through the support of the generous members and donors that have grown in number. The level of support has also grown. The club as a whole is a sum of all of these great people. You should all be proud that you have supported the endeavor and go enjoy the skiing as often as you can…it truly is special and belongs to all of you.

Because we have seen a general rise in the level of support, the club’s operations have improved quite a bit since the “restructuring” occurred in 2000/2001. The club has been able to improve on the machinery and implements used for the grooming and maintenance chores, plus we have a great little shop in which to store and work on equipment when necessary. There are still some major improvements needed in this area, but we’re better off than before, that’s for sure!

Additionally, when a machine breaks down, as we had happen twice this year, and a rather large part is needed to repair the ailing machine, we are able to jump right in and purchase the part with only a short turn-around time to get the board of directors’ collective approval and get the part ordered and delivered. It works that well now, thanks to the club’s improved structure and financial status. Like I said, it happened twice this year, and we were able to keep grooming operations running without much of a gap in continuity.

Now, this is not to say that the club is operating on much more than a shoestring, but at least the shoestring can keep the shoe tied now. We still must be extremely careful with the very old and fragile machinery and equipment that the club owns, and we will be in need of something more modern in the not-too-far-off future. We still experience an inordinate amount of breakdowns and it would be nice to improve in that area…less time spent fixing stuff means more time grooming and keeping the trails nice.

We also still need more volunteers. I know everyone’s time is precious and we all have lives, but this won’t work without volunteer efforts. It takes a few hours several times a year, but it is SO very gratifying and it is good public service. It is a personal thing that won’t get a lot of public attention, but it is something that helps build a legacy and is good for so many others…whether they know it or not.

Anyway, the main point of this ramble is to say THANK YOU! to all of you who have helped out. It wouldn’t work without you.

Go ski, because life is good!

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