Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Informal Ski Club Time Trial on Sunday, Jan 3 at 9:30AM

SWNSC will put on an interval start race (ie: a time trial, with individual starts) on this coming Sunday, free and open to one and all, (ie: no entry fees) and only booby prizes! Here are the details from Clay's press release:
"If you're around and not too hungover from New Year's festivities (or if you are
and need a different kind of "Hair of the Dog" treatment...), consider coming up
to the cross country ski trails for a club training time trial. It'll be about
10km in length, or you can opt for a shorter version of about 6km. There will
be classic track set, along with the skate lane, of course.
Format is just like the Tuesday evening bike time trials -- I'll go off first
and serve as "timer," but you need to time yourself, as this is just for fun and
not very official. We may also have a backup timer.
We'll plan on sending the first skier off (me) by 9:30am, so be up there earlier
for warmup and getting your name on the start list. We'll meet at the "Coat
Tree" at point B on the trail system (see map:
The course will likely make one big loop from B, through all the letters in a
"clockwise" direction, re-enter the woods at pt. M, go to pt. J and repeat the
upper woods and meadow sections, then continue past pt. M (staying left) on the
second lap down through pts. O, P, R, then make the sharp turn at pt. A and head
back to pt. B.
If you want to skip the second round of the upper section (M-J-K-L-M), then you
can opt for the 6km version and just head straight down to the lower trail
(N-O-P-R) and turn at pt. A to finish at pt. B.
Be aware that there may be people out skiing for fun and that the course is NOT
closed. So, ski in control and keep your eyes out. It's just for fun and
Everyone is welcome! Hope to you see you there."

There will be a timer, and the interval starts will be at 30 second intervals.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Trail Report 12/28/09 9pm

Hi all,

We've run into some pretty big snags with the machinery...we need to fix a few things and purchase some parts, but we're managing to hang on by a thread. Please help if you can by paying your dues and/or donating. If you enjoy skiing close to home, it's a bargain! One of the groomers who fell victim to a bad breakdown (and heroically went back out the next morning to perform a fix out on the trail), suggested we attach a donation bucket to the broken machine. Despite our great relationship with the Forest Service, they would probably frown on that.

Anyway, despite the grooming equipment snafus, the trails have been mostly regroomed since the major Christmas weekend traffic. Skate lanes have been refreshed (mostly) and there's fresh classic track on all but TJ's and Dave's Dogleg, and the front hill, where the snow is still thin.

Things are still in good shape!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Trail Conditions: update

In spite of very heavy holiday traffic on the trails, extra cold temps day and night have kept the skiing very nice. The classic tracks are pretty wide now from apparent large numbers of skiers using heavy touring skiis, but the widened tracks are firm and not glazed.

The new snowshoe trail shows evidence of a lot of use as well.

Next storm on Monday-Tuesday should allow our hard working groomers to freshen things up nicely.... remember, if you haven't joined SWNSC yet, or donated, that we spend around $3000.00 each Winter grooming and the funding is entirely from memberships and donations!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Here's a new report of the work John and Denny did last night:

"Here's a quick report - the main trail system is packed, the tidds were run and track was set with the 6ft Tidd. The high side (no track set side) of the trail could use some widening in spots, and the shortcuts and cutoffs need attention. I think we are set for Christmas and then some unless someone gets inspired to hit the high side. "

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Trail Report 12/23/09 2pm

Season's Greetings!

The Nordic trails received anywhere from 6" to 8", and now probably more as it has been snowing off and on during the day.

The new snow was packed with one big pass with the rollers, leaving the classic tracks intact where possible. Things will be soft for a couple of days.

There are plans for more packing and grooming tonight and tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Club Training TT on January 3, 2010

Hey gang,

If you're around on January 3, aren't too hung over, and are interested in getting in a good hard workout effort, come meet us up at the Nordic trails in the morning for an impromptu time trial. It's just a low-key training thing, but it'll give you and idea how your skiing workouts are going.

We've done these club things in the past and they're fun and low-key. I will personally buy the fastest male and female finishers burritos in the ski area lodge afterward! (...or, beers later in the afternoon if that's what motivates you more =)

It'll be a "freestyle," but it'll be groomed for both skate and classic. We'll likely get started around 9 or 9:30 am or so. We'll post more as we get closer. It's New Years Resolution time again, so come on out.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Trail Report 12/21/09 (new)

Happy Winter Solstice!

Trail was extensively groomed over the weekend to clean up the ridges, ruts and sides. This should really help things level out with more snow...when and if it comes.

A classic track was set today at noon, while it was warmer so it would pull in a little deeper. Bear in mind that the coverage is still in early-season form, so there may be a few thin spots and obstacles in the skate and classic track. Classic track was set on the entire system.

There have been some hikers and snowshoers on the upper "skiing-only" trails, and they inflicted some pretty good damage with the nature of the post-holing. It's a shame, as the track looked great before they did that.

Looks like it's turned from hard kick wax to some sort of klister blend. If you ski early, it's simply a mixture of universal and ice klister. If you ski after things soften up, a mixture of universal and something warmer will be the ticket, but it'll be sticky in the meadow where the snow never transforms, so keep it thin. It's probably better to go with "no-wax" skis if you don't like the variability in those conditions. Grip tape works great for that condition too.

It's supposed to snow tomorrow, so get it while the gettin's good.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

trail Conditions: update

Grooming report from Ken Kisiel:

Ran the 4’ Tidd with wings attached on the main trails. Used the teeth to remove the grooves in most areas and also refresh areas becoming icy. Also got down the cutoff from TJ’s to the garage twice and back to Point A. I think it was an improvement. The Tidd teeth broke up ice and removed the grove while the wings knocked down the snow on the edges without exposing hazards.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Trails in great shape

In my 5 years here in the alamos, this is by far the best shape the trails have been this early in December. After a Friday ski and a saturday snow shoe I declare them great. Still some aspen shoots need to be cut, still some rocks and sticks need to be buried, but you barely need to be careful. Some pics:
point a:

point J, note the new wider trail going around the rock.:


Overlook at the tip of "pauls Portal" the new snowshoe trail:

Also check out more photos here

Friday, December 11, 2009

Grooming report 12/11/09

From Clay:
Lots of hours went into getting the trails into shape after this last storm. But, things look great for the weekend...probably one of the best early season grooming jobs despite a still thin base.
Just about all of the "regular" trails are groomed, but be careful on the meadow sections from point L down. There are a few hidden obstacles here and there, plus some clumps of grass where the wind scoured the snow a little thin. There are also some tops of big rocks that are not quite 100% covered. Maybe next storm will make it possible to ski with good to stick with rock skis for now.
There's also a classic track, but keep in mind that it's early season and obstacles had to be dodged in places, and in some others the track may be a little thin.
Be sure to get your memberships renewed. The club always goes through a lean spell this time of the year which results in some of the volunteers footing the bill until the donations and member fees come in. It has always worked out, but just barely!
Here's to the new ski season. Happy skiing!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Help out by snowshoeing and skiing!

If you are thinking about going up on our trails (see map on the homepage under The Trail section) on your backcountry skis or snowshoes this week, please consider making your own tracks (vs following in existing ones) to stomp out as much of the full width of the trail as possible - it will really help the groomers get the machines up there after the storm to make nice skate and classic ski lanes!

If it has NOT been groomed (ie no machine tracks of any kind) its actually helpful to snowshoe on the upper trails too despite the signs. The signs that say not to are only meant for when its groomed. So this is a good chance to get on the upper trail before the grooming closes access to anything but skis.

Also, Paul, Dave, Tom and Donna made record time before this snowfall to create a brand new snowshoe specific (no machines on it!) trail off of Canada Bonita main trail! We are hoping to post official 'Snowshoe trail' signs in the next week on it. More info, map and photos to be posted soon on the site. The county also started a snowshoe rental and learning program. We will post links to it in the same place.

Btw, the trail will be called Paul's Portal after our own Paul Graham since he was the one to find the best path while working with Tom and Donna. That path also luckily required less deadfall clearing than was originally expected. Dave W worked hard most of Sunday to clear the deadfall from the trail! Made for a brand new trail in about 2 days! Although more work to still be done with signs etc. See Tom's previous post on how to find the trailhead.

Have fun and a HUGE thanks if you do try to stomp some snow out for us!!

New Trail for snowshoes: Paul's Portal

Over the weekend and just in time for last night's big snowstorm a team consisting of Paul Graham, Dave Wykoff and Donna and Tom Berg created a new snowshoe trail East of the main multi use trail portion of the SWNSC trail system at Pajarito. Signs are not up yet, tho the whole trail is flagged and easy to follow. To find it take the Guaje Canyon Trail 282 down the hill a few hundred meters past Point "A". After the flat section following the hill at "A" keep looking right (East) and you'll see orange ribbons leading down into the woods. Follow the flags about a half kilometer as the trail winds its way out to a nice overlook of Los Alamos Canyon and the townsite beyond. Right now it is an out-and-back trail, but we hope next year to have it loop back to the main trail somewhere around Point "P". We'll get some signs up in the next week or so.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ken's trail report

Here is an update on Wednesday night's trail work and snow conditions from Ken Kisiel our ex club president:

"Denny and I removed the aspen down on the lower road and worked the two lower cut-offs off TJ’s adding downfall to the downhill side. We also built up around the larger rocks also. Should be an improvement in both skiing and grooming. Also trimmed a lot aspen shoots. Snow is still holding on most of the trail. Another 6” will allow for some initial packing."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Recap of where we are for 09-10 season!

The board has had another meeting getting ready for the 2009-2010 season. Summary of all things trail and club from Tom Berg below:

Hi Members and Donors,
Well it's that time of year again, the snow is starting to fall andalmost all of the pre-season trail work is now done and the trailslook really good. The guys tell me that the machines are ready forsnow and grooming. The El Nino forecast looks great for this year soinvesting in the club by joining is a good idea!
We have some interesting things happening this season.
Dave W has reopened up an old narrow woodsy trail we used back in the'80s that will provide a non-skating alternative to going up thefront road ..... it does require lots of snowfall as it's southfacing, but given the hopeful el Nino forecast there is a pretty goodchance we may get to ski it this winter.
We are also looking at flagging out a snowshoe trail to the east ofthe main road trail (Guaje Canyon Trail #282, aka the "Multi UseTrail") which would lead to an overlook above Los AlamosCanyon .... this wd be a ungroomed trail, wide enough forsnowshoeing and would wind its way thru those woods east of the road(no tree cutting wd be done). There wd probably be some cuttingrequired of deadfall along with volunteer work involved in clearingthe deadfall away from the path. We are seeking some volunteersfrom our snowshowing members and the snowshoe community in general tohelp with this. If yr interested in helping give me a ring at455-2380, or reply thru this members email.
We hope to connect the hut to electricity this winter as the countyis doing power work up there in conjunction with their ongoing waterline project on Camp May Road. This will make servicing the machinesmuch easier, but will cost the club some money for a power hookup andmeter.
Paul, Clay and myself are putting the finishing touches on ourFederal 501c Tax Excemption application, and we hope to achieve taxexempt status later on this Winter.
So there is a lot going on this ski season and I hope you will wantto be a part of it.
This trail (and this club in various forms) has been going on sinceDave Platts, Tim Johnson and I first started work on it back in1983-84. That's a lot of volunteer hours by a lot of busy peopledoing trail work and x-c skiing over 25 years, and it's all happenedthanks to all you past members, plus a lot of help over those yearsfrom Pajarito Ski Area, and help in every way from the Forest Serviceand Miles Standish, our USFS Recreation Ranger.
And it has made a wonderful venue for x-c skiing for us all, as wellas good hiking and mountain biking in the Summer. However it isfunded entirely by donations and membership fees, there are no trailuser fees, so we do need you to join Southwest Nordic Ski Club eachyear to keep the whole thing going. It's only $30 for a familymembership and $20 for an individual membership. If you are notinterested in joining clubs, being a donor-user is always welcome,and if fact donors provide a significant portion of our annual budget.
I've attached a current membership form to this email you can use tojoin us. Or you can go to and click on"Join SWNSC" and download a form there, write a check and mail it in.
Again we will be stocking the bins on the trailhead bulletin boardwith membership forms and envelopes to solicit members and donorsfrom the daily x-c and snowshoe trail users.
Thanks for your help,
Tom Berg

Friday, November 13, 2009

Work Day Photos

Most of the fence went up last saturday. Go us. Still lopping and point J fencing to go. Maybe more. Thanks to all that came out. Come on snow!

Decent snow coverage on the sown hill area and on the meadow trails.
Kermit and pajarito mountain

Fence looks good as clay reappears on Kermit

Monday, November 2, 2009

Attn: SW Nordic Ski Members and Supporters

Trail Work Day, Saturday, 7 November at 10AM

There is a very nice weather forecast for this week (for trail work, not skiing!) so we're going to get some work done up on the ski trail. We'll be meeting at the trailhead bulletin board at 10AM, then proceeding a couple hundred yards up the front hill to begin work on the "Sun Fence", so if yr running late, we'll be easy to find.

We'll be putting up the "Sun Fence" on the Front Hill, and also at a couple points further on up the trail system. For this bring warm clothes (in spite of the forecast!), work gloves, a snack and drinks. Bring a jack knife or snips or a "Leatherman" tool wd be handy for cutting the zip ties we hang the fence with. A small pair of clippers wd be nice for trimming the many aspen shoots that popped up this summer all over the trail.

A second shift will be starting under the auspices of John Ullman at 1:30 PM, so if you have a morning conflict, there is still a slot for you to come up and help. Figure on putting in a couple hours if you can.

If you are more into the logging/chainsawing mode, there are still a couple trees down that need more cutting up and hauling off the trail and a group of our experienced groomer/sawyers will be there and will welcome your assistance.

Please consider coming up and helping out , a small group of our hardcore diehards have already been putting in a lot of hours (see notes below), and we owe it to them to follow up with this nice simple job.

Call me at 455-2380 or email for questions or more information

Thanks, tom

Friday, May 15, 2009

Sorry for the spam posts

I have fixed the problem I hope. Only skiing from now on. Only 5 more months til winter.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Season continued one more day

Due to a nice dumping of snow on the 17th, skiing was to be had on the morning of the 18th. I tried to get up the hill on the evening of the 17th, but was turned back on no-shine hill due to snow and ice that defeated my two wheel drive. But on Saturday morning, Jessica and I got up to the trails for some good skiing.

Good coverage early on the trails

Woods were nice but sticky

Dork-grin me and action Jessica at point A

It was really sticky for me going up, so I mostly ran, coming back down it warmed up and I had some glide.

Jessica and I at the top of the meadow

The snow was great. I wish I did not stick as much on the way up, Jessica was strangely immune from this issue. The way back was pretty fun though, and the meadow was great. There were probably 10 skiers out by noon, with no snowshoe or dog tracks at all. The coat tree down to the bottom was going fast as we were leaving, but we successfully snuck in one more day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Skiing...Awesome!

It has snowed more in April than I think it did in all of January and February combined. Late March wasn't so bad either.

We finally got out in one of these spring snowstorms to check out the skiing. In the past, I would go up pretty easily by myself when it did this, but with the new addition to the family, it's not quite as easy as it used to be. This time, the family came along, despite the daunting weather conditions. It was a lot of fun.

At the Coat Tree (point B). Mila's just about to fall asleep!

There was anywhere from about 12" to 16" of new snow on the trails, depending on where you measured. The upper parts of the trail had the most, of course. We never hit a single thing with our skis, but did feel the rocks below while skiing up the front hill. Once we were a little ways past the coat tree, we could feel the old snow base underneath...pretty solidly frozen. It would have actually been groomable, but the heck with that!

I'm one "switchback" above Dina, who is just past point J.

You can see that the fencing is down at point A (the banner is still up and looking good), and other sections of fencing were pulled down by the heavy snow. I saw no evidence of wands or bamboo poles in the meadow. It'll be a while before we see those again. We saw only a couple of medium-ish aspens down by the bonfire meadow, by the upper shortcut.

Mila and Dina at point can barely see the ski area in the background. Note the fencing is all pulled down.

Here are just a few more pics of our outing:

up near point L...we had to stop for a break and since Mila didn't have eye protection,
we didn't take her out into the meadow

Mila made a good ski companion

still snowing hard out in the meadow about 2pm on Easter Sunday

Monday, April 13, 2009

A nice birkebeiner report

As some club members know, this year I (tarik) decided to not train but for a few times and then go out and do all the races I could. The not training was due to slightly suboptimal snow conditions in feb and march, but mostly due to fun things like the new baby and not so fun things like having to actually go to work to get paid. I think I raced more times in 2009 than I trained. No big deal, I was able to do a bunch of fun races and was able to race my way into shape so I did a 30k and 40k skate race and had fun. I am still three race reports behind, I may get to them before winter 2009-2010 starts, but in the meantime, please go check out this race report from the american biekebeiner.

Sean, the author, is a pal of a pal of mine in Iowa. His report is spectacular! As is his preparation, or lack thereof. Every time I think something like, "Man the snow kind of sucked this year for training" I need to remember to think first of our midwestern brethern scraping around on a 200meter patch of snow for training. So in this spirit instead of slightly suboptimal, I have revised the 2008-2009 Los Alamos official snow conditions to Spectacular, yet not Specf*&kingtacular.

Note that his race report is in 4 parts. I know long rambling race reports, and this my friends is a class A long rambling race report. Great stuff, enjoy:

part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4

Thursday, March 26, 2009

2009 Pajarito Pinhead Challenge Race Report 3/14/09

Here is an excerpt from my Pajarito Pinhead challenge race report, for the full report click here.

Flurries blew in midrace

The descent was really soft and I did my best to try and stay upright the whole way, but I quickly crashed pretty hard twice, once almost hitting myself in the head with my own ski, so I decided to try some alternative methods of getting down the hill. My first plan was to try to slide down on my hip like last year. It was too soft and I ground to a halt. I then sort of fell into the successful plan. I basically sat on the tails of my skis and glided down the slope, half on my ass, half on my skis. When it was steep, I would grind my butt into the snow and essentially, uh, snowplow with my crotch. When it was a more shallow slope I would kind of paddle with my arms to maintain momentum. It worked pretty well, but I am sure I looked ridiculous. While I am dedicated to you dear readers, my dedication does not extend to wishing that video of my ignominious descent existed.

OK, if you want to read the whole report with race results and real names this year, please surf on over to my blog Moscaline. Dina's photos are over on the swnordicski photo page

Monday, March 16, 2009


Are we done?

After cutting out 3 down trees before point A, one pretty good size, I groomed a "best line" classic track on the upper tree trails Saturday afternoon/evening since there was about 8" new and still pretty cold. It turned out awesome, especially early in the day yesterday. It stayed nice and cool -- especially in the shade, but the sun was high and strong and the new snow annealed with the old rotted stuff underneath and it got weird if you didn't have big rills and good wax. It was a blast to ski, though.

I suspect that's about it if no one wants to go groom again. There are three spots that are going to open up quickly this week -- the hill past point B, the "Rock" below J, and that weird spot where the first shortcut above J intersects that upper flat section of trail, where the sun hits it hard this time of the year. All of those sections are short, but getting thin by the second, otherwise, there's still good coverage everywhere else. The current groom job won't really be good for skating.

The 6' Tidd is still just above point A, and we can give it a ride back down on the 'Gopher Fence' when we have our trail day. Some bamboo still standing in the outer meadow; the ones that fell were covered by the storm.

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Snow 3/13/09

Happy Friday the 13th of March.

There's now a little more than 6" new snow on the trails, and still snowing. So far, there are no immediate plans for grooming...maybe early next week something might get a pass or two if someone gets motivated.

So, be prepared to ski in your own classic touring tracks if you do go up.

Remember, the Pinhead Challenge is tomorrow'll be groomed late tonight.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Grooming / Trail Report 3/5/09

Believe it or not, there's still quite a bit of Nordic skiing to be had on the SWNSKI trails. Of course, you have to hike in a little further now...all the way to the "coat tree" at point B on the trail map. Up to that point, the trail is very sun-exposed and really took a beating with these record temperatures.

The lower road looks completely destroyed from the junction at point A, but beyond point R, it's in OK shape and groomed out to point O and even has a nice classic track set. The cutoffs at R to the upper trails and O to the upper trails at TJs are sort of groomed too, so there's skiable access to the lower road, which is actually in good shape where there's snow.

That's the theme around the rest of the trail system. Where the sun hasn't beaten down too badly, it's good spring skiing, although really dirty snow. There are about 3 or 4 very short stretches where it's very narrow, then fine just beyond.

I wasn't able to set a classic track on the rest of the trail system because I had a problem with the grooming machine. The lights failed due to a charge system/battery problem and I ended up grooming in the dark using only the stars and whatever moonlight was available. There may be some weird swerving around in the skate lane down low. Too bad, as it would have been good to get in one last classic track. Maybe this weekend...

It finally cooled off dramatically when the clouds cleared out, so it froze and started setting up. Hopefully, we'll get some new snow to squeeze out a few more days. Otherwise, we may have one more grooming session left if we're lucky.

Go ski and say your farewells this week....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tarik's Alley Loop Race Report, 2009

Buddy and me during better times

See that picture above? With me and the 7 foot tall bear costumed skier? Those were the good times. The Alley loop starts on Elk Avenue which is the downtown main drag in Crested Butte. This year we started by going up Elk avenue and looping back through the alleys. We were supposed to follow the guy in the bear suit through the sketchy parts of the alleys as a neutral start. Here is what happened. I was on the front row of the starting line. Buddy the Bear was in front of me. The race started. Everyone started skiing except the bear. The bear was still dancing. I hit Buddy the bear hard and bounced off. By the time I recovered everyone was way up the road and the bear still had not figured out what just happened. That, pretty much, sums up my race. You need not read any further, that was the best part of the report. For those who are looking for the usual overblown, late and too wordy report, please read on. For everyone else, thanks for coming by.

click for the rest of the story

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grooming / Trail Report 2/20/09

Dave and John got out last evening and regroomed things. Here's John's summary:

skated it this am. Its pretty good beyond point B. The track from there up to the top is pretty good but the track in the outer meadow is poor. Lower road is pretty good between the meadow and the cut-off to B. We made multiple passes above J and in the meadow, only 2 passes on Dave's and TJ's but they are in great shape. Ski hill jeep road on west side is also groomed 3/4 up. Ken, Jess and I skated it this AM before the downhillers go there. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Trail Photos from Pres day Weekend

Here are some pictures from Sunday Feb 15th to go along with Clay's trail report below.
Btw, again, thanks so much to all the groomers - if it wasnt for your work and time we wouldn't have such an awesome place to ski so close to where we live!

1) Front hill - much easier if you switch the skis for wheels (or hiking boots) right now - burnt out spots are getting closer and closer together, but the snow fencing is still a huge help. Here is Clay with Mila in the Chariot, this is actually on the way back to the car:

2) Just past point A you are good to change over to skis!

3) Nice corduroy and good classic track - pretty great skiing (and even more so because you dont expect it from the way the front hill looks :)

4) Coming up the Outer Meadow trail with the Valley behind:

5) Outer meadow trail layout was well done - makes for some really great skiing:

6) Going up the Outer meadow to the top:

Grooming / Trail Report 2/19/09

Well, it's not so much a grooming report as just a trail conditions report. Nothing has been regroomed since last Friday before President's Day weekend.

Anyway, things are holding up, if not getting crusty, glazed and rough around the edges again. The upper tree trails and the lower road are both still in pretty good condition, but there's a lot of hard pack, glaze and wind-strewn tree debris in the trail.

The classic tracks in the trees on both the lower road and the upper tree trails are still in pretty good shape, but with a lot of debris. I picked out the major stuff where I could. It drifted out in all of the meadow locations and really needs to be reset out there.

Speaking of drifting, it did snow a little bit. I discovered that on my ski today, but I was not the first one out there to discover it. I saw a couple of sets of skate tracks on it, so someone beat me to it. The tracks left by said skater indicated that the upper meadow sections were drifty in the skate lane too. It's amazing how much drifting was present after such a small amount of snow. The outer meadow trail had all of the new snow blown clean off it, so it's still crusty and hard, except at the very bottom where it's protected from the wind.

For classic skiing, I applied 3 layers of klister: one generous layer of ice klister, one layer of hard/course snow klister (both torched in and allowed to freeze outside), then a thin layer of "vario" klister (corn snow) on that, just corked in. It worked great and kick was as solid as can be expected in all sections except for around point K, where there's a weird moist drifty spot that iced up on me for a few meters. It cleared up pretty well once I got back on something crusty and hard. Even the icy section from the lower road out to the upper meadow skied well with that combination and I was able to stay in what was left of the track all the way up.

It's funny, but I get a little bummed out with the lack of snow down here in town and it's depressing walking up the mostly brown front hill now, but then once I get back into the trail system, it's amazing how well it is holding up and how good the skiing is. I would say keep gettin' out there once it gets groomed again.

Tarik's NM cup race report

Well Clay already contributed his timely report so here is mine, or at least a portion click here to read the rest

The mighty wax box

Anyhow, when Paul and I got there, it was warm and getting a bit warmer. So klister it was, with the advice of Clay and a few others I reapplied the swix blue klister that had worked reasonably well the week before. Paul, who hates klister, went with some super warm hard kick wax. We headed out on the trails and it was clear that it was much warmer than either of our waxes could handle. We double poled around for an hour or so and returned for a snack. I cleverly applied Universal Klister , which, in theory, would work in a huge variety of warmer conditions. I will now refer to as UMAKlister which stands for Universal My Ass, which might tell you how the rest of the day went. I actually had great kick, but no freaking glide as the wax was filled with a giant snowball after about 15 minutes of skiing. I realized if I kept moving and did not stop at all I could get reasonable sking done. Paul still had nothing, so I skied back an forth on the trail while paul walked around on his skis. He looked like he was having fun, and it was, upon reflection, a pretty good day, so I kept on skiing. Later I ran into clubmember Tom who clued me in that UMAKlister was too warm for the day, I needed violet Klister, and he was getting amazing kick. Feh, Universal my ass.

click here to read the rest including an actual race report

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Note from the Mora Vasaloppet courtesy of Tom Br.

Ideal conditions at the Mora, Minnesota Vasaloppet Feb. 8. Tom skied the 35Km freestyle. He’s going back to Wisconsin this weekend to ski the American Birkebeiner for the first time in 28 years; 50Km for his 50th birthday. (He just got his first piece of AARP junk mail).

Shot of him and Ben from the race - doesn’t that hat look good!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nice skiing with colder temps and fresh snow!

Thanks to all the time put in by our wonderful and dedicated groomers the trails are in great shape and particularly sweet now that we had a few more inches to freshen things up. Thanks a lot to all the groomers!
also, thanks to whoever was the considerate showshoer(s) on the lower road! Great job stomping all the edges and not following the same track - made for a very nice and even wide road all the way through the outer meadow where they kindly stayed to the sides and nicely framed the trail - very cool!
Here is a shot from earlier today. This might look a bit grey, but being spoiled with all of our sunshine here in the southwest, its actually a nice break to get the colder, humid, grey winter day - just like where I grew up! :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Scarlett Johansson punished by a fan

Boost your nether rod's abilities

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chama Chili Classic Ski and Snowshoe Race Report 1/18 2009

Here is an excerpt of my typically long Chama Chili classic 2009 race report. read the rest here.

Shack near the start line. Why is there a shack here?

So my ski race went a little something like this. Double pole in the tracks in the frenetic start. Ski up on the person in front of me, try to get out of the tracks to go around. Crash. Get up, go up the climb, crash. Go through the fast twisty part in the trees. Nearly crash into trees, but instead crash in snow hard enough to have bruises. Look up to see the next group ski neatly away from me. Get up, ski frantically, crash. Have my teammate Dave, who is probably worse than classic skiing than me, come up upon me and inform me that if I keep crashing that he will beat me. Get up and then crash in front of Dave again. Get through the rollers and then, I am now on to part two of the race.

read the rest here

Classic Track set on 2/4/2009

Classic track was set on the lower road (past the hill at point A), all the way out to the meadow, on the outer meadow trail, and then down the upper tree trails to the point where there's a burn-out spot just above point A.

It'll be purple klister (or even yellow for a while tomorrow...) during the day, and probably ice klister in the early morning and evening. Otherwise, waxless skis would work well if you ski in the warmer parts of the day.

Please help to educate people you see walking on the "no walking" portions of the trail. There seem to be a lot of these sign disregarder people and they've done a lot of damage to the "skiing only" designated trails. It's a mess to groom and ski on...

Ski on!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Grooming report 2/2/09

We figured a few things out with the ice grinding, so some of the trail is in more or less pretty good shape for skating -- at least for a day or so. The lower road still stinks because a lot of people walked on it when it was warm and very soft. It just isn't possible to repair that damage. Just what the allure of walking on groomed ski trails is, I'll never really understand...

Anyway, the upper tree trails are pretty good all the way out to the end of the meadow. The outer meadow trail is in OK shape. We didn't use the "new secret ice grinding technique" out there, so it's not as well ground up as the tree trails, but still should be in good shape.

If time permits, I'll attempt to get a classic track pulled in on Wednesday (so plan on skiing classic with klister on either Thursday or Friday). It's supposedly going to snow this weekend, so hopefully this extended "January Thaw" will end.

Bear in mind, that the front hill is total crap now (much in part thanks to the winter walkers) and it's probably better to walk it up past point A or just to point A if you plan on starting by skiing the lower road. The lower road is actually pretty good once you get past that spot where we had to cut out a bunch of down-fall trees. From there, it's pretty good all the way out to the meadow.


Friday, January 30, 2009

PS: more on weekend trail conditions...

I really should add that if you go up to ski this Saturday or Sunday, use more sense than we did and start skiing around 1-2:00 when the snow is warmed up and it should be good skating!

Weekend Trail Update

Well it's beginning to look a lot like bike season!  

The guys worked hard last night with what ice cutting equipment we have and managed to grind it down to where they reported that skating was good this morning.    

By late afternoon when Donna and I were skating the sun had cooked the South facing slopes and it was getting rather icy in the woods.   Front hill was bad.   Upper meadow near the Baca is still good.   We avoided the road so don't know what it's like there but I'll bet it was icy.

So my weekend report has to remain that conditions are challenging.  So be careful.  There are no classic tracks set....  it's really not possible to try to cut a good deep set of tracks into a base that hard.

However I should add, it is better than roller skiing!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The New Mexico Cup Nordic Ski Races 2009 Race Report

It has been a while since the New Mexico Cup XC ski race has been held. It used to be held pretty much annually back when there was a lot more New Mexico interest in xc skiing in the 1980's and through about the mid 1990's. It was revived for a couple of years in the early 2000's but it was obvious that a lot of the people who were regulars on the NM xc ski scene had literally up-and-moved on. Those turnouts were pretty slim, so it just didn't seem worth putting on anymore. Other races have variably come and gone with only one old event holding on by a thread – the Chama Chile Classic, which seemed to have breathed a renewed breath just a week earlier this year.

Well, there's no reason that New Mexico doesn't have its own title race. Testing out the old adage, "if you build it, they will come," it was planned and executed, despite the expectation of a low turnout. It's not that New Mexico doesn't have enough xc skiers to field an event, it's just that it hasn't been established and many of the people who do xc ski might not really believe it would be worth giving a go for, and just didn't show up.

It turns out that despite some dry and somewhat warm January weather, the courses at Enchanted Forest were exceptional and it was a great weekend for xc ski racing in the brilliant New Mexico sun. All that can be said is that it was worth it and it is hoped that in time, those that do xc ski in New Mexico will help to make it something permanently established and something special – only time will tell.

With that said, here's how the Revival of the New Mexico Cup 2009 went:

Saturday, January 24
The night before was a little weird with a quick-hitting wet and warm weather system producing drizzle at all but the highest elevations. It was nary below freezing at about 7PM at Enchanted Forest, with a sloppy parking lot and what looked like a soft track.

Sometime during the night, a front passed through with some wind and the temperature dropped to a low of 21-degrees F by about 6AM. With the seriously old and transformed snow, that meant definite klister conditions. But, how much would it warm up? Not too much by the 8:30AM start.

It turns out that not very many people were committed to this 10km classical event. By 8AM, hardly a soul had appeared, but the UNM ski team did arrive and it was announced that a grand total of one of them was going to race. That made registration easy.

All told, only 6 people raced, with about 6 more kids showing up for the kids event. Dirk Grimm, the talented German who now coaches (and was formerly a 4-time NCAA All-American performer in his undergrad years) the UNM Nordic team was an easy winner over Clay Moseley. The icy track left everyone slipping around and looking for some purchase on the ground up snow out of the track. With a soft sugary base lying only about 3 inches beneath, it made double poling just as difficult. Not the best day for a "fun" classical race, but one that taught those 6 competitors a lot more about the need for carefully heating in several layers of klister if it's that icy.

Linda Mieras ("Linda Miller," the youngest daughter of the Millers) won the women's 5km event over Dina Pesenson, who was seen changing a diaper and handing her baby off to Linda's sister Ellen exactly 20 seconds before she took off on her race…way to go, Dina!

Sunday, January 25
Warmish weather had prevailed the previous day, with off-and-on warm snow showers and intermittent sunshine. The tracks softened up, but by nightfall, the temperature again took a plunge and several windy snow squalls amounted to about a half-an inch of new snow by morning. Again, the temperature in the morning was right at 20-degrees F, but it seemed cooler with higher humidity.

The crew at Enchanted Forest got out very early and groomed the course out nicely, breaking up the frozen crust and mixing in the new grappular snow, and generally making for a great day of racing. It would have been a little bit on the sketchy side if they had not gotten out there like that.

As opposed to the previous day, people began showing up early. Registration was a little busier and several more folks poured in. It looked like this would be a decent turnout.

After everyone was pretty much registered, it was warm-up time. Racers were buzzing around getting ready while the EF crew made a few last-minute changes to accommodate the start and finish situation for a mass start race (the first ever at Enchanted Forest).

Finally, it was time to race. Everyone lined up and was quickly off at the start of the clock, manned by Geoff Goins.

Almost instantly, the group sorted itself. The 5 members of the UNM men's team were off like rockets and a couple of the UNM women got up there early as well. Los Alamos skiers, Clay Moseley and John Bernardin fought to follow them. Polina Ermoshina, the star of the UNM women's team set a fast, smooth early pace. She skied steady on the early steep hills, but not too hard. Her technique did most of the work for her and soon she was finding herself pulling away on the long fast Sherwood Forest decent, with Clay in tow. Melanie Zemp, a Swiss skier for the UNM women's team pulled ahead slightly in front of John Bernardin.

Somewhere out there in the aerobic monster zone, UNM Norwegian skier Martin Waaler-Kaas got away from his teammates and skied to an absolutely sick time of 27:48. He was the only one to break 28 minutes. Behind him, UNM's Canadian skier, Casey Dyck outskied the crazy German, Simon Reissman, for second.

In the battle of altitude adaptation vs. smooth skiing, it was probably the altitude that was the deciding factor in favor of Clay, as he was able to get a gap on Polina on the steepest hills, but she held steady during the rest of the course and stayed quite close all the way to the finish. Smooth technique also helped Melanie Zemp keep her advantage over John Bernardin, who skied an excellent race overall as well.

A little further back, another group was duking it out behind the third UNM lady, Sienja Neimeier, who was formerly a junior biathlete from Germany – still only 19 yrs old, she pretty much had to ski the entire event alone. Hans Noordik (what a great name for a xc skier!) was working at the front of a group that contained another LA skier, Tarik Saleh, and former Anchorage high school skier and now Sandia Laboratory mathematician, Shawn Martin. Those three battled it out over the entire course, with Hans' smooth skiing helping him to pull away from Shawn and Tarik. Eventually, the dual was paired down to just Shawn and Tarik. In the end, Shawn got the best of Tarik and claimed it was the descents that gave him the advantage, but it wasn't much, as they finished very close together and looked like they had the most fun. Shawn wins the "racer on rental skis" category, by the way.

Other groups formed too. Dina says that she tried to lead a group for a while, but got ahead of herself and had to pull over and let the 'guys' go through. One of those guys was Chuck Calef of Los Alamos, who is just really learning how to skate this season after attending the SWNSC clinics taught by Ken and Jessica Kisiel. He's really taking to it and even bought an actual set of skate skis in order to quit humiliating everyone he beats on his old wooden ones…=) Actually, Chuck is a very good skier and it's no disgrace to have him finish ahead of you in a race. He did race on his old "non-wooden" fiberglass-core skis from the '80s, called "EPokes". Santa Fe skier, Tom Brimacombe, saw them and recalled that those were endearingly called "SlowPokes." When Chuck got out on his "new" used skate skis, he said that he put his poles in the snow and the skis were so much faster than his old "SlowPokes," that they nearly shot out from under him. That's pretty funny, I don't care who you are...

Moving on...

Awards were provided by FastWax USA, and Enchanted Forest themselves, who did a great job hosting the event, as usual.

What a day. It was an amazing course and the snow made it seem like it was so very easy to ski. It's not normally that fast. The winning time was less than 28 minutes…INCREDIBLE! It was no doubt a little short, but still…this is at nearly 10,000 feet!!!

Hopefully, we'll have the will to put this event on again next year. And hopefully, more of our NM Nordic brood will find the willpower to get out and give it a go. Geoff Goins thought of having a two loop race that would equal 30kms. Wow, it's hard to imagine that, but what an event that would be.

See you out on the trails.

Trail Conditions: update

Let's say that the trail conditions are 'challenging'.   There are 2-3 inches of fresh powder over a base of solid ice.  There are no classic tracks.  If you go out to ski, do be careful.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Grooming report 1/26

Despite warm conditions, no new snow and hard trails the intrepid groomers have been on it and the upper trail system has been groomed well. There is still lots of snow up there. So. Go. Ski.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Looking good team SWNSC

Hey, check it kids. Our uniforms are popping up all over the interwebs. See the examples above and below from Crested butte nordic center and the alley loop race page respectively. I think that is me above and clay below, but who knows.

Lots of racing reports maybe. I am still slogging through my Chama report. Stay tuned.

Uh, conditions are icy and the races are up in Enchanted forest this weekend. Snow may come. Skiing continues. The end

Monday, January 19, 2009

Monday Evening Update

Classic tracks were still good, at least in the woods, and Klister sandwich with VF 50, ie, Purple/Red hardwax over it worked for a kicker.  Hot weather should come to an end around Thursday.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Weekend conditions

Donna tells me that the classic was good yesterday on the trails early afternoon... she was skiing on a  "klister sandwich"  of green klister with Swix VF45 hardwax over it....  Should be much the same today.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fantastic weekend.

When Clay says get on it. Well hell, get on it. Sundays skiing was fantastical. As was sneaky saturday night following Clay around and skating fresh corduroy. Thanks Clay and all the other groomers for getting the meadow into wide and beautiful status. Wooo!

Here is Darth Clay in action up in the meadow on his Kermit of Doom:

Looked like a hell of a night for a moonlight ski, but I was underdressed and pooped, maybe next month.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Grooming Report 1/10/09

Followed up Ken Kisiel's great blading and grooming work today with some more grooming and lots of classic track setting. All of the main trails, including the outer meadow trail now has classic track.

That storm that hit the Sangres just barely glanced by us, as there was the ever so slightest hint of new snow by about point C, and them some more higher up...not much though.

Get it while the gettin's good.

Friday, January 9, 2009

SWNSC Clinic for Sat./Sun. (10th/11th)

Los Kisiels are hosting the annual SWNSC clinics tomorrow. Ken, himself, went up to groom the trails out for the clinic. See the website flyer for details (

Make it one of your New Years Resolutions to really learn how to ski =)

Lots of snow, despite some tepid weather this week. Surface conditions vary from sun to shade, bottom to top, but lots of snow, so it's all good if you know what you're doing. Use klister in the mornings or late afternoon/evenings, and maybe a mix of klister and soft wax in the "heat" of the day.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Trails Groomed 1/7/09

Just about everything got groomed tonight. Unfortunately, the wind was blowing out in the meadow, and even in the trees a little bit. That is some cold, dry snow, so it was drifting quite a bit and caused some grooming problems. It's pretty certain that parts, if not all, of the meadow will be drifted by tomorrow. Too bad, as it looked pretty good at 10:00 PM after pulling the big 6 foot Tidd through.

Since it was blowing and drifting, there's no classic track set until the far upper part of the meadow, which will most likely drift over as well. The lower road and the upper tree trails will be quite nice for both skate and classic.

It was quite chilly up there tonight, so everything should set up nicely for a bluebird day tomorrow. Break out the Swix Extra Blue!

If anyone is so inclined, the fencing on the front hill is getting buried by the snow. If you can shovel out the worst sections (5 or 6 of them), it would be really, really helpful!

The Groomers

Trail Report 1/6/09

Trails were packed last night following the storm. Some wind was blowing and drifting the meadow back in, but everything was rolled and some bladed, including some of the cut-offs.

Finish grooming awaits, including setting the classic track. Perhaps tonight (Tuesday).

Don't forget about the ski clinics this coming weekend! See for more details.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


My bad, yesterday's great kick was Swix VF 40 .....  not VF 30!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Trail Conditions: update

Donna and I skiied the woods loop after 3:00 today, and were amazed at how good the conditions were once you got past the coat tree and Point "C".  Doing Classic with Swix VF30 kick wax I had great glide and great kick in good solid tracks that hadn't been skiied to death.  Skate zone looked pretty good.

We didn't ski the road or the meadow, and I expect they were pretty trashed and icy from all the holiday traffic, and will probably benefit from the coming storm.

If this little storm dumps a couple inches on the trail to cover the excess trash, regrooming the woods will probably be pretty easy, for Dave's work with "big red" really dozed the trail into shape and got it good and wide, with good classic track.

Thanks guys for all the grooming and cutting... from all the sawdust we saw, there were a LOT of trees down and you got them all!  We did a more modest effort of clipping aspen shoots along the nicely widened classic track.