Sunday, November 24, 2013

sandia peak skiing & help needed

Fredrik (UNM ski coach) is planning on grooming once the team gets back from Yellowstone.  There's nearly 2' of snow on the trails.  It would be a great help to Fredrik's grooming efforts if some levelling of the trails could be done; in this case shoveling snow to level out the trails (side to side) due to slope of mountain and snowshoeing to prepack are both needed.  The upper UNM loop has 1st priority I think, then the lower trail (below the service road).  Please contact me if you can help (

Friday, November 22, 2013

Trail work & SNOW(!) update 11-22-2013

I had to go up to pull down the Ditch Witch last night, but unfortunately found a number of new trees down (again!).  One pretty big one fell onto the fencing on the front hill and sort of crushed it.  It was blocking the path for the Ditch Witch, so I attempted to move it, but it being dark and all, ran into a little problem with the slick (lack of) traction.  I twisted a track off the side and it did another slow topple with the tree still in the bucket.

I'm learning my lesson with how that thing can do this with an uneven load pushing up high.  I don't think this would have happened in the day time, but am not so sure.  I shouldn't have pushed it out so far, but the main problem was the lack of traction.

Also, there was quite a bit of new snow, all very heavy and wet.  That was before it really began to snow, which was about when I left around 7:30pm.  Lots of the trails were already skiable!  I'm sure they're quite skiable now, but some sections will still be very thin with the big rocks.

Here are some pics of what it looked like last night before the storm hit:

Good snow near the trailhead.  Several people still trying to ride bikes up there, plus some skiers

Fencing is working well already

Lots of the trails were quite well covered

Trees down on Dave's

Tree down on Dave's up near the steep hill and the big "rock" section

A live spruce down on TJ's

From the other angle

That infamous root ball

I still had a section of tree to remove on the trails that I had forgotten about, so I got to it before it was too late

The big tree down on the fence.  It was awkward

A little better shot

The aftermath of my struggle to get it over the fence.  Bad move!

The underside of the poor Ditch Witch.  Gotta head up today to pull back up and get it off the hill. 


Here is a quick report on some trail work I got to on Saturday, November 9, 2013.  It was a nice day and there were quite a number of little "punchlist" items that hadn't been hit yet, so I just made a plan to go up with Kermit and hit a number of them all at once.  One thing I wasn't sure of was whether I'd be able to take the Ditch Witch up to one of the other sections of trail that needs a bit of a rebuild, as that type of work takes a lot of time and sort of consumes the entire work session.

So, I decided against starting with that, and just going out to cut the remaining areas that I know have bad aspen shoots.  I found some parts of the lower road still with a few, but then made up to the meadow, and that is where the fun really began.  We always seem to work just on the tree trails and skip working in the meadow, which is always not good because as soon as the snow flies, it is very hard to work on that stuff.

As you can see from the pics, there were still some trees down in the meadow sections, plus LOADS of aspen shoots.  Our new trail cutter blew out a bearing before we were able to hit it with that thing, so I had to do it "by hand."  By that, I mean that I used the clubs new motorized brush cutter (a Poulan trimmer thing).  It worked well, but is hard to start.  It did the job.

I also got the trees out of the meadow trail envelope.  When we did the tree cutting for the trailfest running races, we didn't get them cut the full width, so now was the time to do that.

Finally, I ran the tree trails and found a number of new trees down.  Some were large and I needed to wait for some help from Dave the next day.  Unfortunately, I also found a new HUGE tree down on TJ's that had just toppled over from the root ball.  It was large.  Luckily, it was right where the Ditch Witch was parked, so I didn't have to go far to move the carnage.

Unfortunately, it was a bit of overload for the Ditch Witch.  Once I got the root ball free from the ground (late in the day), it toppled out of the bucket and took the Ditch Witch down with it.  It is a "ride behind" version, so I just hopped off and had to watch it fall over.  It is too heavy to pull back up with Kermit, so Dave had to come with an arsenal of winches, chains and his tractor the next day.  It was a pretty big battle to get it back up on its tracks, but we were successful.  Here are some pics:

Already good snow in the meadow.  You can see the large number of large diameter aspen shoots!

A closer look at those aspen shoots

chopped down!

Still a lot of trees in the meadow trails

A few of these on the tree trails where the fire came through.  I have found these every time I've gone up there.

The big tree that came down on TJ's.  It consumed the big saw.

A closer look at the base near the root ball

This section of TJ's will look and ski completely differently now

Looking up the trail as we would ski toward the meadow

Luckily, I was able to use the Ditch Witch to move the big sections

Working on the root ball.

Back breaking work made a lot easier!

That was a big root ball

Root ball came out, Ditch Witch went down.  It was like pulling a very tough weed when the roots finally break free and sends you back on your butt!  Dave had to come up and help me get it back up.  It took some serious redneck engineering to get it back up.

Sandia peak skiing

As of Thursday (yesterday) there as about 4 to 6 inches of snow on the service road.  Did not hit a rock the entire length.  Must be significantly more than that today after the precip event last nite.
Fredrik plans to groom sometime soon after Dec 1.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sandia peak skiing

Probably can ski classic on the service road tomorrow. I did today with about 2" (with slow accumulation continuing) using some rock nowax  skis  and enjoyed myself.  It continued to snow likely until the rain stopped in Albuquerque (to between 7 & 8 pm).