Even tho I look forward to warmer weather I’m still a fan of winter. And when I see the XC trail this way I cant help but be a little sad. I put a lot of hours on that trail. This was a good winter for skiing. I groomed the park 14 times this winter. Thats more than the last 4 years combined. Last season I groomed just 3 times. With some grooms on just several inches of snow. Last year I did not ski at all in the park and only skied twice all year. But this year the grooming was much better. Several grooms this winter were near perfect. I learn a little more about grooming every winter. This year was the first time I had ample snow to work with. Sometimes too much.
Ive been used to trying to make something out of nothing. Always trying to groom with minimal snow. This year I learned how to “turn over” the snow. The base was deep enough to work the snow up by lowering the tines of the groomer, much like when farmers turn up the ground in their fields. Once I do that then its a complete regroom and the results were spectacular. Ive only been doing this 5 years and have only been skiing for 10 but I believe the trails were the best ever in the park.
And that’s because of such a huge base under the trail. Here in the pic its up to the top of the seat of that table. So what, two feet? In the past I was lucky to have 4 inches.
Making me double sad if the thought that these conditions might not come back for awhile. When you think of it, XC skiing needs a lot of scenarios to happen in succession to have a great season. Almost all weather related. Not just temp and snowfall. But the humidity and the timing of the snowfall too. To get conditions like we had this year you need the perfect storm. And several of them. Of course this weather scenario happens more frequent the farther north you go in this State.
This winter was not all skiing bliss tho. Bitter cold kept a lot (including me) skiers indoors despite the perfect snow. I can remember waiting until it got above zero to groom. Personally, for me it was not a good year on the ski’s. I got out less than 10 times total. Maybe 6 times. Thats sad. Even heading up to both Door County and Hayward with the ski’s and never used them. One time too cold and one time was raining. And ironically the cold was Door and the rain was Hayward. Go figure.
So as I do look forward to warm weather, Im a bit bummed that I could not take more advantage of we had we had this year. Now all the ski’s, both mine and the rentals, have storage wax and are sitting dormant upstairs at the store. Waiting and hoping that next year bring another winter of awesome trail conditions.
But in reality, it could be years before these conditions return. In so many ways this has been a winter to remember. Bitter cold, the Great Lakes freezing to a near record with Lake Michigan breaking its ice record, to the great conditions for winter sports.
And the year that fatbike trail grooming became mainstream. I can think of seven groomed trails for bikes in Wisconsin. Well, the U.P. of MI included. I was a big fan of winter before those bikes came along. Such a bonus.
That said, heres to a early and prosperous spring.