Monday, December 17, 2012

First "grooming" of the 2012-13 ski season

After a busy fall with trail work projects and many, many other was finally time to get up and pack the snow that has finally arrived.  This droughty fall was making us sweat it out, so it was nice to see some good snow that actually had some moisture in it.  

We're very short-handed this year with groomers.  We've lost one groomer (Denny moved to Utah), and Dina and I had another kid a few months ago, so it's going to be lean with the grooming if we get on the pattern of the recent years past.  If you know of anyone who might be willing to spend some cold, tough nights working out on the trails (and can operate machinery and lift some heavy objects... =), please have them get in touch with us.  It's actually pretty cool when you get the hang of it.

All that said, things are looking OK.  There was quite a bit of snow and it was setting up nicely with the cold nights.  It packed out well, but it's still thin for skiing.  Lots of people had already been skiing, but there are still lots of early-season obstacles, so be very careful.  No classic track yet.  Use your rockiest of rock skis if you do go up to ski.  

I packed the lower road out to Point O (still trees down above that point to Point M and to Point F).  The upper trails all got a couple of passes out to the end of the meadow (or, more like to the Valles Caldera fence), but there are some narrow spots due to some deadfall that needs to be removed.  I cleared what I could with a hand saw and just brute force, but we need to get up with chainsaws and even a pry bar to move the rest.  

It'll be lumpy and bumpy, plus there's lots of very tall grass and weeds, no doubt stimulated from last year's fire.  I'd never seen the weeds get that tall - several stretches with weeds higher than the machine.  Also, there are lots of aspen shoots that didn't get snipped.  Consider bringing a little set of hand snippers out with you if you'd like to spend some time helping get the trail cleaned up.  It would be a huge help.

Looks like more snow on Wednesday, but with wind =(.  Hopefully the storm scheduled for Christmas will get us up and running at 100%.  Again, we REALLY need some grooming help.  If we don't get someone new, it won't be groomed quite as well this year.

The SWNSC "garage"

Getting "Kermit" hooked up to the roller

First bit of trail from Camp May

On the lower road looking toward Pajarito

Looking north through the burn damage near the old Point R

Looking up to the upper trail where we had to extend the fencing and do some considerable trail repairs this fall

Over the big hill on the lower road headed to Point P; just out of the burn zone

Looking back up toward the burn zone.  The FS let us move those rocks out to the original Canada Bonita road width

One of the numerous trees that had fallen since the fall cleanup projects

Another broken tree (upper part of the picture to the right of center)

Farther up the trail; snow gets deeper and looks pretty good for skiing

The roller smoothing things out

Lots of grass and weeds had to be rolled and knocked down 

Entering the Canada Bonita meadow near Point L;  pretty deep snow here

Out in the meadow -- it is hard to see where to go with no previous grooming, or our bamboo markers placed for guidance

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