Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
"Ellis trailhead is essentially the parking lot adjacent to Sandia Peak Tramway service road. This is the beginning of a favorite x-c ski and snowshoe trail system (unfortunately also frequented by snowboarders who often tend to degrade the area for these two sports). The tram service road is occasionally groomed by one of the alpine area's snowcat (last year about once per week). The skating on the service road after a snowcat groom can be awesome though perhaps a little boring as a roundtrip on it is only 3-3.5 km (depending on whether one can ski on the upper part of the alpine area --which can be done after 4 pm or on days the area is not open, normally Monday and Tuesday). "
Ron will provide as regular of an update as he can and as conditions change. All such posts will be under label/link 'Sandia Peak' as listed at top left section of the blog. All of the posts will soon be linked to from a new section on our homepage listing places to xc ski in our area. I will post another update once that section is up on the site.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
The track had to weave and wind all through the trail, so it will no doubt get skated over in many places. Skiing is a little rough around the edges for both skate and classic, but it has been groomed for both.
Dina and I spent some time cutting out aspen shoots in the meadow, but there are a lot more to be cut from Point J to the top. Consider cutting some out when you ski (bring loppers). Also did some shoveling around "The Rock," so that should hold for a few more days. Could use more, though.
Things skied pretty nicely, if not a bit bumpy and uneven. Some bare patches from the front hill to Point B (upper trails) and to Point R (lower road), but nice beyond that. Some stretches were just great.
Friday, December 24, 2010
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.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
> The snow line was just below Townsite, so it was warm and wet, but it was
> snow. Hard to say how much, but it was a lot more than I had expected.
> The only problem was that it was sloppy and the trees were taking slush
> dumps all over the trails.
> I was able to ski from the car, and return to the car. But, there are a
> dozen or so thin spots up to Point J...mainly those exposed areas where
> the ground is still warm.
> Where it was good, it was great, where it was thin, it will take some work
> to keep it. Best just to leave it for now, in anticipation for more
> through tomorrow and Friday morning. We'd just make a mess.
> So, we hold off and just use our rock touring skis a little longer. I got
> in a great ski and really felt the feeling in some of the good stretches.
> We're literally inching closer to having some groomable skiing.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Well, so far NM is mostly only receiving the crumbs of all of the great storms, but there is good xc skiing to be had nearby. Enchanted Forest is open, and it will require only a little bit more for us to get the SWNSC trails groomed at Pajarito.
Every year about this time, I get a batch of questions from a number of you on the lists about xc skiing, where to go, events, etc. So, here's a quick summary of "nearby" events that are actually some of the best events anywhere -- definitely worth giving a try. If you're training for the Quad, consider coming out for the Chama Chili Classic and the NM Cup at Enchanted Forest.
Jan. 8 - Santa Fe Striders snowshoe race -- Santa Fe
Jan 8: Headlamp Snowshoe Cookout Tour at Enchated Forest
Jan. 15,16,17 - Chama Chili Ski Classic (both skate & classic events this year plus snowshoe; historic NM event -- lots of fun stuff for this year's festival. Check it out!)
Jan. 22, 23 - USSSA National Qualifier Snowshoe Race - Enchanted Forest
Jan. 23 - Tour de Ski at Purgatory (epic single 45km loop promoted by a bunch of Durango mtn. bikers)
Feb. 5 - Alley Loop (Crested Butte, CO - very fun race and coolest course around, great party too)
Feb. 5 - Durango Langlauf (great race, but not the best date [see Alley Loop])
Feb. 13 - NM Cup/Low O2 Challenge (20km & 10km skate at Enchanted Forest; more info to come. Check the SWNSC website or Enchanted Forest in a few days for info)
Feb. 19 - Mt. Talor Quadrathlon -- 'nuff said
Feb. 18-19 - Pagosa Winterfest Events
Feb 26: Just Desserts Eat and Ski at Enchanted Forest! Best way to get newbies into xc skiing :)))
Feb. 27 - Leadville Loppet - (highest marathon ski race in the world, that I know of. Cool course too)
March 19 - North Routt Coureur de Bois 90km - Steamboat Springs, CO (ok, not local, but definitely LOCO! I did this last year and am still trying to recover from it. It's tough, an adventure, and very awesome. It's interesting even if you're not an xc skier.)
Comment on this post or use Contact Form on our site for questions.
Friday, December 17, 2010
Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area, New Mexico's finest cross country ski area, is finally open for the 2010 -- 2011 season. The most recent winter storm has done the trick and covered the trails with a blanket of New Mexico's finest frozen white powder.
The delay in snow actually gave the Enchanted Forest time to complete some projects that looked like they may have to wait for the next season. 2 new snowshoe trails, remodeled day lodge, new rental yurt and overall trail improvements all were completed while the snow waited to visit northern New Mexico.
Coming events include the now famous Christmas Luminaria Ski and Snowshoe Tour December 25th , and the New Years Potluck with lighted skiing and sledding in the base area December 31st , as well as monthly Moonlight Ski and Snowshoe tours and the famous Just Dessert Eat and Ski on Feb 26th. At Enchanted Forest we invite you to come celebrate winter!
For more information on Enchanted Forest, point your browser to
EnchantedForestXC.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area 575-754-6112
Geoff Goins, Owner
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Luckily, it got colder overnight on Sat./Sun., so the snow cooled down, but after scrambling around with Mila's babysitter, registration, getting over to the race site, etc., I just had to take an educated gamble at going with a somewhat warmer kick wax than anyone would have expected because it was warming up fast. Turns out, my guess was right and Dina and I had pretty good kick during the race.
The course was pretty cool, utilizing their new "Mike's Mile" trail, which I would have to say is probably one of the best trails CB now has. It's an amazing addition to their trail system, and the name is misleading, as it's a 2.3 km trip out, then you make a small turnaround at the end and come back. It crosses Slate Creek twice (and if you look slightly north, you can see the Slate Creek road). The only thing about Mike's Mile is that it is open to dogs (still great skiing, though), as it is really an extension to Pooch's Paradise, another trail we used in the race that started right at "The Gronk". The best description I have for Mike's Mile is that it is a lot like skiing that trail in the Boulder Mountain Tour in Sun Valley, except without the highway over to one side. Here, it's all wilderness views, creek crossings on some cool bridges, and sublime cruising.
The early part of Pooch's Paradise is a little bit hilly with a few steep kickers, so having good kick was important because at the top where it intersects with all the Magic Meadows trails and Mike's Mile, it was a double-pole contest and having a low heart-rate was essential to going fast. Lots of folks showed up for the race; all local except for a small handful like Dina and me. The field consisted of a few tough-guy-and-gal locals, some college kids on the Western State and Mesa State club teams, as well as Master's 55-59 and now 60-64 world champion, Murray Banks, ensuring at least a good workout.
Sparing you all the gory details, here's a summary: the race was quick off the line thanks to the young guys, but it eventually settled down a bit once they all went anaerobic over the early steep hills and we got out onto Mike's Mile and all the double-poling. One by one, I watched the small group give in to the lactic acid demons, then managed to latch onto the first college kid guy who had a solid double-pole. He kept the pressure on the whole time, but I didn't freak out and was able to use my bike racing sprint tactics in the final 500m to get around him in slight turn, claim the fast tracks and give a good sprint to the line. The college kid had drawn even with me at one point, but he threw in the towel when we hit a rise in the final 200m.
Dina also had a great event, staying strong and consistent throughout and was mixing it up with several gals around her the whole time. She's been working on smoothing out the kinks in her classic technique, and it was great to see her giving it 100% and not worrying so much about the details. It's amazing how putting in 100% effort helps solidify things you're working on at slower speeds. She had a fun race and there was a lot of "I get it" moments afterward. I think she was something like 15 minutes faster than she had expected.
Not long after we were done, the sun came out so strongly that the snow got a little bit mashed-potato-y and the kick we had before became a mixture of icing and grabbing, mixed with some slipping. We skied around for another 40 minutes until we ran out of babysitter time, so we went back to eat a proper breakfast/lunch instead of a small bowl of oatmeal.
It was fun to get back on snow. They don't have as much as usual, but they're getting steady small doses and it's still an xc skiing paradise. I think they have about 35km of their usual 50km (well, now 60kms) open. Driving there and back was super easy and fast, as there is nary a patch of snow until you are almost to Crested Butte itself. Maybe things will change for them and for us this next week. Think snow!!!
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
As of Sunday, all the new and old snowshoe trails at SWNSC Pajarito Trail System have been marked and signed, including the one called Wyatt's Way which runs from the Camp May Road just across from the "MOTHER LIFT" at the base of the Camp May Hill, winding it's way thru the Aspens on up to Point "A", a much more scenic alternative to the front hill road.
All trails have "Official" signs saying "Snowshoe Trail" and all are marked along their entire length with a mix of Red, Orange and Hot Pink flagging.
Still no snow to travel on, but the trails make a nice hike without snow, and I think you'll enjoy seeing all the new trails. Lynn Bjorkland of the USFS has created a new trail map showing the new snowshoe trails as well as the x-c ski trails, which can be found on the website: