Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trail/grooming report, January 29, 2013

The good news is that we got a pretty good dose of new snow after the meltdown and then the warm rain.  

The bad news is that the wind has kept it from being groomed out all the way, and it's still blowing. 

But, Dave did give it his best shot this evening and got a single pass with the classic track set.  That means that classic and touring skiing will be good... 

NO SKATING tomorrow!

He ran into problems with our ancient 6' hand-me-down roller.  Looks like a bearing is seized on it.  The ancient 4' hand-me-down roller has a broken hitch.  We need to do more summer/fall equipment maintenance.  It's always something, but that keeps it interesting.

If things work out, Dave said he'll try to get back up there tomorrow evening and groom the entire system, more or less again.  We'll try to keep you posted.

Anyway, it's nice to be back in business.  Looks like a possibility of more active weather next week too. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

NM Cup - Low O2 Challenge 2013 Report

NM Cup was great skiing, but a low turnout; even lower than its usual turnout.  I think we had about 20 skiers each day, and only about 28 snowshoers for the two distances.  We did have a very  cool kids' race, though.  That was fun.  Looks like we'll have to start emphasizing that more than the "grown up" race.

It was really nice conditions on Saturday with some firm, moist snow that Geoff groomed out to perfection.  We were able to V-2 many sections where it's not normally possible.  The course was also probably the best course layout, with more sections of recovery and good cruising, rather than nothing but a series of slogging hills one-after-the-other.  The course was pretty simple and configured like a "butterfly," with the middle part (Powder Puff) being the only repeat on each lap.  The first "lobe," or A-Loop, is simply out Powder Puff to Little John, Abracadabra, back on NW Passage to intersect with PP, where we turned right, and repeated PP.  For the second lobe, or B-Loop, we turned left at Sherwood Forest and went up to March Hare.  We skied March Hare all the way back into the base, which was awesome skiing.  The hardest parts of the course were the hills on NW Passage, and the big Sherwood Forest hill to the high point on March Hare.  The recovery on March Hare was critical because that is all fast V-2 skiing. 

This course had everything.  The other courses in the past were a bit too "slow."

It was below freezing all night and snowed a tiny bit on Saturday morning, but warmed up and got moist as the weather moved in during the race.  I felt the moisture rising in the snow during the race, but it was just beautiful skiing the entire time.

The weather moved in all through the day on Saturday, and it actually rained!  It rained a very cold, steady drizzly rain all afternoon, then it turned to snow late and by night-fall, it was all snow and blowing.  It was really snowing hard for a while, but it was heavy and wet and didn't seem to amount to much.  Pajarito actually received more.

Sunday morning dawned warm and wet, but the precip fell as wet snow.  That made for interesting wax conditions.  The main problem was that it didn't snow enough and there was a wet, icy layer just under the new sticky, wet stuff.

I thought my special "Zero" skis (special kick zone that is simply roughed up into "hairies" and no kick wax) would be the right call because kick waxes and klisters are always difficult in these conditions.  I scraped and brushed them, went out to test them and they were great, but only in the un-tracked areas.  In the track, they were worthless.  The new snow was mashed into the ice, so it was more an icy track than anything.  So, with only 20 minutes to go, I ran back to get my regular ol' classic skis, but I had to scrape and brush them too, AND apply whatever klister/hardwax concoction would be necessary.  

I was very concerned with icing up in the new sticky snow, so I was conservative and used a special "new wet snow" klister and went out to try it out.  It worked well where there was predominately new snow, but again worthless on the icy track.  I was almost out of time, so I got a little crazy and put on a KR-40 klister in hopes that it would split the difference between getting kick on ice, and not icing in the new sticky snow.  I tried it, and it was still WAY to slick on the icy track, but was now a little too sticky on the new snow.  That was a dilemma.

I have been in this situation before and have done a lot of research and have acquired a lot of waxes for these very difficult conditions.  I just happened to have a special hard wax from Rex that is for wet conditions on ice.  Although they were calling us to the line, I had to do something, so I pulled out my wax kit one more time (while I had a crowd of people asking me every little detail of what I doing and why....), and got to applying.  The problem was that my waxes had been sitting outside and were all cold.  This new wax was not going on without a fight and I only managed to glop on about 3 or 4 "wads" and did my best to smooth it out.  It was not very pretty, but I did have about a 4" long messy application that I hoped would work.  I had to just deal with it.

The race started and I got out in front right away to avoid any messes.  The wax worked just enough on most of the hills, but I had to be very careful about my technique and not over-kick or be sloppy about my foot placement or down-pressuring, or else I paid the price by slipping.  Slipping is not good because it shoots your heart rate up instantly, and usually causes a whole bunch more slipping before you can get your feet back under you. 

Anyway, the race was fun, with that interesting new snow that Geoff Goins did a good job grooming, and the new course layout.  I did see that a couple of folks missed the crucial turn at the three-way, Sven Wiik-Sherwood Forest-Little John intersection.  That is a bummer and we'll do what we can to make sure that everyone understands that layout next year.

Sanna Sevanto skied well both days to win the overalls for the women, and was a top contender for the overall as well.  Kudos to her.  John Bernardin skied a great freestyle race to take second on Saturday.

It was a fun weekend of racing!  We'll get some photos up on the SWNSC Picasa site soon.

Heading out Powder Puff during the classic race.  Note the new wet, warm snow

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sandia Peak

Fredrik packed the service road and set tracks for classic this morning.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New Mexico Cup Nordic and Snowshoe Updates, Chama photos

The 40th annual Chama Chile Classic is a wrap.  It was fantastic, as usual, but the weather made it even more amazing. 
Some great pictures and some videos of the event - click here
Coming up this weekend is the NM Cup - Low O2 Challenge (NM state championship) events at Enchanted Forest.  There will be both classic and skate ski races, plus the USSSA national championship-qualifier snowshoe race.
Based on some feedback from prior years, we're going to alter the skate ski races a bit to suit a wider range of abilities. In the past, we've climbed all of the long hills at EF, but we'll take a lot of that out this year, and offer some more moderate "cruiser terrain" for all distances, including the long race. The 5km and 10km events will certainly be more do-able for anyone. For those of you who are familiar with EF, we'll utilize "Powder Puff" and "March Hare" more, and less of "Northwest Passage" and "Long John."  It'll still be a challenge, though.
The classic-style events will offer the same great "UNM" course that is used for the NCAA invitational (later in February). That one will be 1 lap for the 5km course, or 2 laps for the 10km course. It's challenging, but not too hard and a lot of fun.
See details at www.efxc.com
Check out those pictures. Snow has been great, so don't miss out on winter. It'll be hot and time to pile on the bike miles soon enough...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Trails Groomed 1/7/2013...still good conditions!

Master groomer Dave Wykoff regroomed everything last night.  It is warmer today, but with the cold nights and consistent grooming, the conditions are staying very good in most places with minimal melting.  Even the front hill is staying in relatively good shape.

The classic track was reset and is in great shape for now, but there are still some very thin areas, so it runs over an odd stump or rock here and there.  Keep a wary eye out for those spots.  A few folks have sure helped out with the aspen shoot cutting, which has been a huge ordeal this year.  Some of those thickets are now clear and also some of the cut-offs.

If you haven't gotten your memberships and/or donations in, please do so soon.  This is the time of the year when our expenses go up very quickly.  Gas sure ain't cheap!  We also have liability insurance, maintenance items and yearly equipment replacements to consider.

Click HERE to go to our online registration site.

A HUUUGE thanks to those of you who have donated and renewed!!!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Resolution Race 2013 - Fun Stuff!

Well, that commemorates another start of the year.  And, it hurt!  Conditions were good and temperatures have been cold, so we were able to run the race from the parking lot, all through the trails, and back to the parking lot.  To accommodate a mass start (a first for a race on our trails), we ran the race up to the Mother lift, then did a quick turn-around, then headed out onto the trail system.  I liked that format and it felt a lot more varied; lots more terrain to ski and coming back was a blast.

Great job to all the participants.  That is a tough course at altitude.  It takes a lot to get through it.  I was happy that Hans did the event in the classical style so that I could keep my "winning streak" alive =)  I no doubt would have suffered a loss if he would have skated.  But, I did notice that in many spots, I was faster just double-poling in the track rather than trying to skate and get all winded.  I don't know if that's a remark on my skate technique, or that the track was faster...hmm...

Everyone get ready for the Chama Chile Classic in a couple of weeks, then the Low O2 Challenge at Enchanted Forest the weekend after that.  It's the season for New Mexico Nordic!

Here are the results, and a couple of pictures near the start/finish/registration/place where I got a citation for parking in the bus turn-around (I got out of it by talking to the LA Transit Supervisor =).

Clay Moseley                    40:48
Hans Hanson                     41:04 - classic
Sanna Sevanto (f)               44:22
Ken Kisiel                      45:55
Max Schultz                     51:28
Susan Hanson (f)                54:24 - classic
Paul Graham                     55:28
Dave Wykoff                     59:36
Chuck Calef                   1:02:49 - classic, wooden skis
Kristina Brown (f)            1:02:16
Jeri Sullivan (f)             1:13:04 
Mariann Johnston (f)          1:18:56 
Max Light                     1:50:29

I heard that Jeri and Mariann did some other version (more or less, I am not sure) of the course.  I admit that the markings were pretty much minimal.  It was just for fun and training, and I think everyone was OK with that.

Thanks for coming out and making it a fun day!

Everyone getting ready for the start - great conditions

Signing up

Friday, January 4, 2013

Sandia peak snow and ski conditions

Finally a post for 2013 for Sandia Peak.  I was hoping a couple days ago that I would be reporting that grooming had taken place but that didn't happen.  However Sandia Peak has about a foot of snow on the trails surrounding the tram service road (including the road).  Classic skiing can be found and is quite good except for the occasional rock that can be found.  So I recommend that you use your rock skis unless you stick to the service road.  I don't recommend trying to skate yet as snow is unpacked except where snowboarders have been across it (either with their boots or boards).

Online club membership and donations

Hi all,

After some ado, we finally have very nice online club membership registration and donations capabilities thanks to New Mexico Sports Online.

To register, renew and/or donate to the club, simply go to:

That is our club's registration site.  I'll have to get this link up onto the website, along with many other updates, but this link should work.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

SWNSC Resolution Race Club Fun Event this Saturday

This Saturday morning, the Southwest Nordic Ski Club will be holding its "sort-of" annual club training "fun" race on the SWNSC Nordic ski trails at Pajarito.  Start time will be 9:30 AM, sharp, so plan on being there early to sign up and get a liability waiver signed.  There is no charge for the event; it is just for fun and to see how well you can ski around the trail system.

The conditions are pretty good, with solidly cold temperatures, so we'll plan on doing the entire "main loop" of the system, starting right on Camp May Road, just beyond the parking lot.  Since we have so much starting space, we'll do this year's version as a mass start -- everyone starts together.

Refer to the map for the course description below...
For those of you who would like to do the "long course," it'll basically be a ~15km run from the very beginning, up through the "letters," (blue trails on the map) to the top of the meadow, then down the inner meadow trail to Point M (none of the outer meadow trails that are purple on the map), then take the cut-off from M to J, make a sharp right turn and repeat the trip back up to the top of the meadow.  The rest of the course is "all downhill" back to the start/finish and described below.

The "short course" will simply be one grand trip around the main loop, up through the letters to the top of the meadow, then down the inner meadow trail to Point M and straight down the lower meadow to the lower road past Points O, P, Q, R and back to A, then on down the front hill to finish on Camp May Rd near the parking lot!

Remember, be there early to sign a waiver and get your name on the start list.  I do not have a timer lined up, so you may want to bring a watch to "backup" time yourself.  I'll be doing the timing myself, but I'm also skiing, so something may be missed...

There is LA Transit bus service, so keep in mind that you won't be able to park right at the trail-head as before.  Click here for the map and schedule:

Great conditions and a great day of skiing on tap.  Go ski at Pajarito Mountain in the afternoon!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year - Conditions and recent photos for 1/2/2013

Conditions are fantastic after this last round of snow.  There are still a few (but getting fewer and fewer) obstacles out on the trail, especially in those zones with the really BIG rocks.  Keep you eyes out and remember where those zones are, because they're now lurking just below, whereas before we could still see them...

Dave has been doing a great job with the grooming, with a little help from the other volunteers.  There are just so many little things that have to be done weekly, or really daily, to keep an operation like this going!

Get your memberships and/or club donations in (they'll count for your 2013 taxes now...) when you can.  I'm still working on getting it all set up through www.newmexicosportsonline.com so we should see that process streamlined very soon -- hopefully within a couple of days.

We will be having our club "Fun Trial" this weekend.  We'll go with a single course that will be run from the very beginning at the parking lot, up to the top of the meadow, back in again from Point M to Point J, back up to the top of the meadow, and then all the way back to the finish before the parking lot.  The conditions are good enough and we should ski it up while we got it!  Let's plan on having the first skier off by 9:30 AM.  Most likely, that will be me and I will likely be doing the timing as well.

Here are some photos I've taken the last few days while out on my ski.  A few were before the storm (just before it came in), then after the storm.  Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

Before the storm - looking down Canada Bonita at the Baca fenceline

I keep finding remnants of deer and elk all over the trails!

Before the storm - looking south below Pt. A toward Ski Pajarito

Before the storm - looking north through the burn zone on the Canada Bonita road

Before the last storm - looking SE toward Santa Fe over the Los Alamos Canyon drainage

After the storm - hoarfrost in the upper meadow

My phone shadow and the nice tracks in the upper meadow

More hoarfrost - I was trying to capture something cool, but just got a flat picture of a frosty blade of grass

This one turned out better - it was cold up there, for sure

Looking up the trail at the "4km" mark

Looking down the trail at the "4km" mark