Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rescued Track!

It appears that my report of the Track's demise was an exaggeration.  I was certain it was a hopeless case, however Doug reports to me otherwise:

It was tuned up in the morning, there were some giant ruts where skiers had collapsed through but they smoothed up and it was good skating all day.  There was not much traffic, but I will go out tonight and finish what I started.  It should be very smooth when finished and harden tonight.  If it snows on Monday, I should be able to rebuild the diagonal lines.

Many huge thanks, Doug.  This is marvelous and unexpected news.  I am no longer in despair.  :)

Friday, January 30, 2015

Track Conditions

I'm very disappointed to report that the skate and classic tracks at Teton Lakes have fallen apart.  If, like our Nordic Club, you are stubbornly in denial and head out on skis anyway, then I'd highly suggest avoiding the daytime slush by going either first thing in the morning or later in the evening.  During the colder times of the day, the tracks will be icy and rutted, you'll punch through the crust with skis and poles, and you won't go anywhere fast, if you go anywhere at all.  For safety's sake, you ought not even try for speed on the few parts of the track that are skiable, unless hard falls don't bother you.  In fact, you may not even want to get out of the car... (it's not worth it).  The one redeeming thing is that at least it's still beautiful.
This is the third time this season that we've lost the track.  Hopefully winter will come back soon.  It looks like we'll end up doing dry land training for the Nordic Club next week.  I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Nordic Club Today, January 29

We'll be holding practice for the Nordic Club today at the Teton Lakes Nordic Trails (golf course) as usual.  If the snow is really bad, we'll do some dry land training.  If there's enough snow, we'll figure out something to do on snow while not ruining what's left of the track.  See you at 4:15!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

June-uary, but don't give up skiing yet!

January feels closer to June right now.  I'm seeing the temps at 52F.  With such warm weather - and rain predicted tonight - it might be better to stay off the Nordic Trails at Teton Lakes today, and anytime we have these conditions.  However, there are plenty of nearby options to tide you over while we wait for winter to return.

West Yellowstone Rendezvous Ski Trails, with world-class grooming and long winters, is about a 1 ½ hour drive from Rexburg.  You can get day use passes at Free Heel and Wheel in West Yellowstone. 

Harriman State Park is a gorgeous place to ski.  They groom usually on Monday and Friday evenings, and the park is about a one hour drive from Rexburg.  Their Facebook page is also a good resource.  Pick up your park pass and trail pass at the Ranger station when you get there.  You may be sharing the track with fat bikes.

Grand Targhee grooms a Nordic Trail system which is fun but a little difficult (think: it's kinda like skiing up a mountain...because you are!).  I think they groom Tuesday and Friday mornings, but you can check out their grooming report here.  Pick up your day pass at the ticket counter, but then you can drive down to the lowest parking lot for easiest access to the trails.  It takes about an hour to drive there from Rexburg. 

Kelly Canyon is relatively close, although the drive will still take close to an hour.  This year they are charging for parking (I don't know how much), so heads up on that.  Check their site for a grooming report.  You may be sharing the track with fat bikes.

Our friend Steve H. sent directions to and information about Alta's Nordic Ski area and Teton Canyon (Thanks, Steve!).  Check the Teton Valley Trails and Pathways site for more information, but here's his take on things:
Teton Canyon is just an up and back, but a great view of the canyon framing the Tetons.
Start up the mountain to Grand Targhee Ski Resort & turn right at the Teton Canyon Campground  sign for a short section to the trailhead.  (I clocked the drive from Rexburg at about 45 minutes)  No fee charged. 

Alta grooms 10K of open rolling hills, again with the Teton mountain range as a backdrop.
Head for Grand Targhee & turn left at the library sign.  You will see the Pratt church with its steeple and the Alta school just opposite.  You are there.  Park next to the old Pratt church & walk over to the library where the trail starts, unless the library isn’t open in which case you can use that parking.  (Also about a 45 minute drive from Rexburg).  No fee charged.

There are also trails in Driggs, Pioneer Park, & Teton Springs.

And of course, there are marvelous Nordic options in Jackson Hole.  

So don't hang up the skis just yet.  Winter will cling to these places longer than they do in Rexburg.  And come early spring, you can find good crust cruising options on the bench.  

Happy trails, and hope for winter to come back soon!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Grooming update

Doug tidied up the track on Saturday. Thank you, Doug! I'm headed there now before it gets too warm. Hopefully there's enough cold packed base to hold up in the warm weather were expecting this week. Keep your fingers crossed! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

January 22 Evening Grooming Update

The skate track is tuned up.  Both the classic and the skate tracks are holding up well, although the skate track was beginning to show some wear and tear this morning.  Randy did a quick tune-up on the skate tracks late this afternoon. Should be great skiing tomorrow.  Thanks again, Randy!

Nordic Ski Etiquette Reminder 

All trail upkeep is done on a purely volunteer basis.  All time, equipment, gas, etc. are donated by private individuals for our free use.  Please be respectful of the work put into keeping the Nordic trails skiable.
Please keep dogs off the course.
Please do not bring bikes of any type on the course.
Please don't walk or snowshoe on either the classic track or the skate track.
Please stay off the skate track (the wide groomed track) unless you are skate skiing - footprints, classic tracks, and other holes can trip up skate skiers.
If you must classic ski on the skate track (to ski side by side someone in the classic track, for example), then please stay as far off to one side as possible.

Thanks for your help in keeping the trails as nice as possible.  Have fun skiing!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cupid Cup Nordic Freestyle Race

Check out the link for information on the Cupid Cup, held in Rexburg at the Teton Lakes Golf Course on February 14th.  If it's anything like last year, it'll be a fantastic event.  Let's just hope the track holds up under (or recovers from) next week's predicted January thaw.

Great skiing

Both the Classic and the Skate tracks are holding up really well at Teton Lakes. The Classic track is well-established and easy to follow. The Skate track is especially amazing right now; it's super fast without being out-of-control or icy. Come out and ski!

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19th Evening Grooming Update & Unmapped Practice Skate Loop

Randy just texted me that he buffed out all the skate tracks at the golf course, including the practice loop, and that it should set up well overnight.  I don't know about you, but that makes my day!

The practice skate loop, by the way, is not on the map.  Randy added it late last year for the Cupid Cup Kids' distance, and we are using it again this year for our Nordic Club practices. If you want to do a short loop and stay near the parking lot, then you can hop onto the practice skate loop just to the right of the main track after skating a short way to the north from the parking lot.  Start at our Nordic Sign by the port-a-potty, heading to the west and curving north, down the main track.  The practice loop will show up on your right within a few feet.

January 19 morning track report

First off, it was good to see Doug tuning up the track on Saturday afternoon (Doug and Randy are our volunteer groomers).  Doug and his wife just barely returned from their mission.  Welcome back!

This report is current as of 11:30am Monday.
There's been a good amount of traffic since that tune-up on Saturday, plus warm melty weather yesterday and a freeze overnight.  That all made for a somewhat icy and rutted track on the skate track this morning.  With the temperature a little warmer this afternoon, it may not be quite so icy.  It is definitely a fast skate, but watch your footing or you may end up tripping up here and there on the ruts.
The classic track is set nicely, also a little icy in the morning but will likely soften a bit this afternoon.  I saw some people getting great glides on the classic track.

It looked like a pack of dogs ran down the middle of the skate track, and there were plenty of bootprints, too.  Please try to keep off the skate track and please, no dogs.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to chat with people this morning who were out enjoying the track.  A couple of people had driven up from Blackfoot just to ski here (apparently there's no snow in Blackfoot), and there were people out for their first time ever (I hope they had fun!).  I also was amazed at the speed I saw from a fellow in an adaptive sit-ski double poling the whole loop.  There were a couple of skaters at different points in the track (for some reason they seemed to not notice the ruts like I did...), and families of classic skiers out for an adventurous morning.  The sled hill was being put to good use as kids (and parents) were flying down and running back up for more fun.

Friday, January 16, 2015

January 16 Grooming Report

Randy made a couple of quick grooming passes on the track this afternoon. Thanks, Randy, and hooray for new snow!

Nordic Club Update

There will be no practice on Monday, January 19 since there's no school in recognition of Human Rights Day.  But kids are certainly welcome to ski on their own!
Practice will resume Thursday at 4:15 at Teton Lakes Golf Course. Dress warmly!

Upcoming events you should be aware of include:
Our local Cupid Cup x-country ski race at the Teton Lakes Golf Course on February 14th (5K distance is available).  Register through
Also, the Feathers 'n' Fins Skiathon is on February 28th at Harriman State Park (7k distance available). More information is on this blog and at

Friends of Harriman State Park: SKIATHON

Friends of Harriman State Park: SKIATHON: Feathers 'n' Fins Takes Flight Once Again Friends of Harriman and Harriman State Park are relaunching the Feathers 'n' F...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January 14 Morning Ski

Teton Lakes Golf Course is beautiful both in summer green and in winter white. I paused to capture a photo of these three geese this morning. They were here yesterday, too.

 The track is still great, just watch out for a few grass patches.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Dave's Harriman Report

Here's Dave's report on yesterday's conditions at Harriman State Park (it sounds like he had a great time):

I decided to go to Harriman today instead of West Yellowstone. I wanted to be home in time to watch the National Cyclocross Championships elite men and women.

I did the Brimstone Trail for the first time today. I started on Big Bend before I remembered that Brimstone had been groomed. According to the signs, it is 8 miles from the north boundary of Harriman to the end of the Brimstone grooming at Box Canyon. So my total distance was probably around 15 miles, a little over two hours.

There was a skiff of new snow on top of a good base. I was waxed pretty well with the 6-7 mix. The trail was quite a bit different than I expected. Rather than paralleling the river, it deviates to the west. It is fairly forested and has some rolling hills. Near the north end of the trail there is a very large clearing, probably about a mile and a half in diameter. This is undoubtedly the swampy area that thwarted the attempt that Thomas, Stephen and I made to ride mountain bikes from Ponds to Harriman years ago.

January 13 track report

After last night's grooming, the track set up really, really well. This winter, I've skate skied a few times at Harriman, West Yellowstone, Teton Canyon and Targhee. Conditions today at our local golf course matched or exceeded the best of all other tracks I've been on so far (and I didn't have to spend 2-3 hours in a car going to and from!). I was waxed with Swix CH6. Both my wax and the track held up perfectly throughout the morning.

The fog today was thick enough that my ski glasses fogged over within the first mile. I set them on top of my head for the rest of the time. Generally I would've missed my prescription ski glasses, but with the dense fog I couldn't see beyond a few feet anyway so it didn't matter. My glasses collected the fog throughout my ski. Check out the picture. Yes, it was definitely easier to see without them!

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12 Grooming Report

Well, Randy pulled off a miracle and rescued our dying track (honestly, I thought it was dead and beyond any hope).  He picked up the snow machine late this afternoon just as the repairs were being finished, went straight to the golf course, and spent the next couple of hours this evening repairing the well-used skate and classic tracks.  Both had suffered greatly with the warm weather, lack of snowfall, and high traffic.  We have missed the grooming while we waited for repairs and for snow.  

Thankfully, all is now repaired and we are back in business.  The track should be well set by tomorrow morning (Wednesday, January 13).  While there are some bare patches and we could use a little more snow and a little less warmth, we're still very grateful and lucky to have the track as it is. Thank you, Randy!

Ski Etiquette reminder

Please help educate people by (gently) letting them know that they should classic ski in the classic tracks or far to the sides of the skate track, they should skate ski on the skate track, and never (please!) walk or snowshoe or bike on either track.  It ruins all of Randy's hard work and makes it difficult for skiers to enjoy.  And please, leave dogs at home.  We love them, but they leave deep footprints in the tracks.

January 12 Nordic Club

The High School dismissed at noon due to a power outage, but we are still holding practice at 4:15 at the golf course.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Nordic Club Back in Session

We started up practice again, now that the Christmas break is over. Finally we have snow! Unfortunately, like Tom Anderson said, today it was like skiing on mashed potatoes. The snow warmed way too quickly. We went from about -20F last week to nearly 40F today. After two fantastic winters, it's a little disheartening to watch this winter's roller-coaster weather. Still, today despite high winds gusting around 35mph, we had 15 kids (grades 7-12), two young kids (yes, they're mine. I'm counting them since they were there!), our head coach, me, and three other adults show up, plus four other high school kids who say they're planning on joining up. And all this on an off-winter! I'm delighted. It's fantastic to have dedicated skiers so early in our Club's existence. They're doing great and having fun. Thanks to Coach Barrus for all his preparation & coaching. And thanks to the members for their enthusiasm. If you're having fun now, just wait until we get a good ski day! You'll be amazed.

Come join us on Mondays & Thursdays from 4:15-5pm at the Teton Lakes Golf Course. Everyone is welcome, although coaching is tailored to our 7-12 graders. You can always rent equipment at BYU-I's Outdoor Resource Center. You can also purchase skis at area ski shops, borrow them, and even find them online. Some brands fit people by weight, others by height - go ahead and Google sizing charts for nordic skis to get an idea of what's right for you. We coach classic and skate techniques both, so any kind of nordic ski is welcome. Just come and start learning! There are no fees, just your own cost to rent or buy equipment.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

January 3 Grooming Report

Randy used his mountain sled to pull the groomer and tune up the track at the golf course this evening. Thank you, Randy! We are still waiting for repairs on the other machine, hopefully to be finished by mid-week. Meanwhile, Randy is working hard to keep the track groomed and tuned so the base sets up nicely before we get more snow Sunday and Monday. A good, solid base will help prevent it from melting as the weather warms later in the week. See you out there!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Nordic Club Resumes on Monday

We will resume club training on Monday January 5th at 4:15pm -5pm at the Teton Lakes Golf Course. Coaching is geared to grades 7-12, but anyone is welcome to participate.  

Please dress warmly and come prepared to ski. We will accommodate classic and skate skiing, so whatever equipment you have is fine. Someday we may have a team with both Classic & Skate racing skis for each skier, but for now we are just happy with anything. 

All city skis have been loaned out. We have one skate package available for loan (boot size about 7 men's). Also, you can get fitted & rent skis (it's cheap!) on a daily basis (skate or classic) at the Outdoor Resource Center at BYU-I. They will keep your information so they can easily pull the equipment on days you want to rent them. Parents could feasibly pick up and deliver equipment to the golf course as needed. 

We meet each Monday and Thursday at 4:15. So far we are delighted to have 16 kids (and two younger kids & a parent or two joining us), and hope for more. Please join us and spread the word!

Track Conditions update

While we wait for the grooming equipment to be repaired, Randy may try to jerry rig an alternative groomer. Wish him luck! The track certainly needs a good tune-up. We skated on it yesterday and it was pretty choppy. But it was better than nothing.
On the bright side, it was great to just get out even with the frigid air and chewed-up track. When skiing conditions are slow like that, it's a good time to work on technique and form instead of speed. 

Good news: the city sent out the port-a-potty! Thanks, Rexburg Recreation Department! That is especially helpful for the families who are there for hours at a time. We were surprised and happy to see so many people out skiing and also sledding on the hill.