Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Track Report

Doug groomed as much as he could yesterday, but the wind blew apart the track today.  There are three nearly-equal parts to the "Track":
1. Deep drifts covering the track
2. Some visible groomed track, including both skate and classic, that is actually pretty nice
3. Long patches of wind-swept bare grass

I tried skiing today, and it was nice to get out even in the crazy wind and snow (better than a treadmill), but I wouldn't necessarily call it all skiing.  It was more like just covering the distance as best I could while getting lost every few minutes (easy to lose sight of a track when the track is buried or blown away).  Definitely a mix of skating, double poling, walking, and shuffling.  There's always hope that the wind settles down and we get some snow to work with.

If you're dead set on going out, avoid the east half of the Cow Pasture.  The west half is okay and you can ski a small loop on the north and again on the south side.  The rest of the Perimeter is just hit and miss.  And there's no point trying to do the Boot or Clover Leaf skate tracks.

Good luck, if you go out.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Grooming Report

Doug has been working on the new snow at the golf course (thank you!).  Here's what he reports:

The snow is minimal in enough places that I would not ski the track with new skis.  There is not enough snow to have a classic track set.  I groomed (for skating) as much as I could find snow to drive on.  The Cow Pasture on the east by the Freeway was completely melted off and the wind took care of any new snow, but there are some great areas on the east where the trees shade and protect from wind. Go try it - it'll be a different adventure.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Track Report

The skate track is still skiable, although it is breaking down.  Be especially careful to stop before going down hills to scope out the grassy patches.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Track Report

Believe it or not, the skate skiing is really good for much of the track right now - not so great for classic, though (there's no classic track to speak of).  The Perimeter, Clover Leaf and Cow Pasture have all been rescued for skate skiing. The Boot, however, is completely inaccessible because of a huge ice patch.  Don't even try it.  Or go ahead and try, but be forewarned.

So once the snow froze again, Doug was able to skirt around the ponds and create some new paths to avoid the water/ice and bare spots. Please be very alert, however.  There are still some scary patches and you need to be prepared to slow down and double-pole carefully in a few places.

Although we probably have a few days left, I still want to send out a huge end-of-season THANK YOU to both Doug and Randy for the many hours, many gallons of gas, and lots of amazing equipment they voluntarily contribute for the community's free use.  They have worked hard to create yet another magical winter wonderland this year.  Good Skiing = Happy People.  Thank you!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Course and Grooming Update, Kelly Report

Teton Lakes

Randy fixed the broken snow machine that pulls the groomer and got it off the track where it's been stuck for a few days.  Thank you, Randy!  Then Doug called around 10:30 this morning, saying he had managed to groom the skate course (nothing can be done with the classic tracks unless we get new snow).  Thank you, Doug! He said it's not great (very icy), but definitely skiable.  I'm frankly amazed that anything at all could be done so soon after last week's meltdown.

A lot of the water has seeped away making the standing water shallow enough to ice up; be careful, please. I'm not sure where all the water went since the ground is pretty frozen.  Maybe the ground warmed up enough to absorb some of the water?

It's true that the course was not at all skiable on Saturday - except maybe waterskiing - and absolutely not ready for any machine driving over it.  So maybe we can hold the race tonight instead, just for fun... Kidding.  Kind of.

Kelly Canyon 

Pat's suggestion of skiing at Kelly Canyon intrigued me, so I went up this morning.  It's been two years since I tried Nordic skiing there, and it has come a long way since then!  The trails were beautiful and I'm so glad I went.

If you arrive before the resort opens, you can put $5 in the fee box at the trail head.  It was a lot of climbing - you know, like you're skiing at a ski resort - but it was actually really nice.  Unfortunately I took the fast trail back ("Moose"), and it was NOT a friendly trail.  My legs are still shaking from snow plowing on the churned-up trail.  I actually took my skis off and walked for a while, which just shows what a bad hill skier I am.  In hindsight, I should've gone back down the road, "Broadway" trail, instead.  Live and learn.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Winter isn't over

Just because the low parts of our track are in knee-deep water doesn't mean it's the end of skiing!  There is still a great deal of snow on the Cow Pasture (southernmost loop) at Teton Lakes, although the groomer might not be able to get there with all the water in the way.... But if you don't mind skiing in circles on old hard track - practically an ice rink - then that's still an option, I guess.  I haven't given up hope that we will still resurrect the course yet.  There are a few days of snow predicted.  (I'm ignoring the few days of rain predicted).

Nearby Options:

There are lots of places for Nordic skiing.  Besides the nearest ones highlighted below, there's also Teton Canyon (check out tvtap.org), Jackson Hole, and of course West Yellowstone's Rendezvous and Park trails.  We keep a link to some of these places down on the right hand side of the blog.

Kelly Canyon

Pat sent a picture of Kelly Canyon this morning (did you know they groom for Nordic skiing?).
 It's breathtakingly beautiful and worth the trip.
Pat says trail passes are just $5 (I think for half day).  Not surprisingly, the best skiing is at the top of the mountain, which you can ski up (climbing hills is good for us, right?).  However, they also have a one-time chair lift pass for $5 that puts you on top, so that's another option.
The trails are open for fat bikes and snowshoes, too.  Parking is in the main lot with access to the lodge.  Very nice!


Jeff spent Saturday skate skiing at Harriman, which was gorgeous.  He said it was a cement track, so it was icy-hard but fast, but there were some sun-exposed portions that were suddenly soft.  I didn't get any report on classic skiing.  Their grooming schedule is Friday evenings and (I think) Mondays?  They update their Facebook page when they've groomed.  Yesterday they wrote that the interior trails were pretty soft and the groomer sunk in a couple of times, so parts of the trails are better than others.


I can't quite recommend crust cruising yet - still a little early for that, I guess.  My girls and I tried to crust cruise Saturday on the dry farms on the bench above Rexburg.

If you are a 65lb. 9 year-old, you'd have no trouble gliding all over the fields.  My older daughter and I, however, kept punching through, and the crust was pretty pock-marked.  We quit after about 40 minutes, but it was nice to be out anyway.

January Weather Recap

Just for kicks, here's January's Rexburg weather recap from Lee Warnick:

High temperatures: 21.8 / 6.0 degrees below normal
Low temperatures: 5.4 / 5.2 degrees below normal

Zero or below days: 12     Normal: 6.6
Highest wind gust: 36 mph on the 9th, 10th and 11th
Number of windy days: 6    Normal: 3.3

Highest temperature: 38 on the 9th
Lowest temperature: -20 on the 6th
Lowest wind chill: -31 on the 5th

     • January's bone-chilling comparative temps were similar to December's: highs were again 6 degrees below normal, and lows were 5.2 degrees below normal versus December's 6.3 degrees. We amassed another dozen 0-or-below days, added to December's 14. This was the 4th of the past 5 months with below normal highs but just the 2nd with below normal lows.

     • January's high temps were the 4th coldest in 45 years and, notably, the lowest since 1985. The low temps were the 10th coldest in 45 years but the lowest only since 2013. 

     • Despite the month's generally cold vibe, there were a few multi-day surges to or above freezing, also accompanied by the month's snowiest (or rainiest) weather. The high temperature on the 6th was a daily-record-breaking 4 degrees (following a low of 20-below); three days later the high was a balmy 38 and rain was falling.