Merry Christmas to everyone!
Well, we didn't ever get the "mother-lode" dump we were hoping for out of this past round of Pineapple Express moisture, but the daily doses of Sierra Sludge finally added up to something we could work with in terms of grooming.
We kind-of informally rotated through a few rounds of packing passes and then with the last round of wet, heavy snow, we were able to get the small Tidd (corduroy grooming implement) out and lay down a more skiable surface.
Bear in mind that the cover is thin and there are still numerous obstacles. Keep your eyes peeled for the dark spots and avoid them. Of course, the front hill has it's usual bad (read bare...) spots, as well as the Point A to Point B section, and the early parts of the lower Canada Bonita road are all very thin and spotty. The ground had warmed back up after last week's warm weather, and this wet, warm snow just never really got ahead of the curve, so it's thin at best in those areas.
But, once you make it past Point C (intersection to TJ's), it gets a lot better rapidly. There are some nice sections. The snow was heavy and wet, and then it got foggy and colder late today, so it glazed up and will likely be a little bit icy and crusty by morning, despite being freshly fallen and groomed. It should soften up by mid-day.
One thing I'd like to ask of all of you who would like to help out in some way: take along a set of limb loppers (the little hand-held ones) and do some aspen shoot cutting up high just before the meadow, and all through the meadow itself. That part just never really got any attention during our trail days and it's a mess for sure. It really needs some work. If we all plan on cutting 4 or 5...hundred shoots, we'll be good to go! Just kidding...spend 10 minutes or so, and that will do it. Be sure to cut them down low, as far below the snow level as possible.
Another thing, and this is a little bigger: the area around the rock (where we have strung up that bright, fluorescent green fencing below Point J) needs some shoveling (snow from the woods into the trail). That spot collects a lot of sun and the trees also help keep the ground warm. The snow is super thin in that section. If we could get some scoops of snow in a path about 18" wide, it would be a HUGE help to keep it from burning out.
Otherwise, things look good. The lower road is groomed too, but I wouldn't venture out into the lower part of the meadow above Point O until we get more snow. You can do out-and-back trips on the lower road, then use one of the 3 groomed cutoffs to get back up to the upper trails.
Finally, there's no classic track. It's a little thin, but I will plan on pulling in a very shallow one later tomorrow afternoon for Sunday's skiing. It won't be super smooth or straight like mid-season groomed tracks, but it should make the trails skiable for some nicer striding on Sunday.
Thanks for all of your support. The SWNSC grooming efforts wouldn't be possible without it!
Now, get those rock skis out and go ski.