On Sunday, the 21st of December, after a foot of new snow had piled up, master groomer Davinius and his neophyte apprentice Timmy, once again ventured into the snowy wastes of the Alturas Lake ski area in an attempt to locate buried ski trails. The Trail to the Lake was roughly packed and snow stakes were placed at strategic points. Timmy alternated careening through the trees, hanging on for dear life, with digging deep pits to drive the snowmobile out of, and while this may not have accomplished much, he did show great spirit and the indefatigable devil may care attitude necessary for the grooming life. On Monday, Timmy drove off in his Mercedes hippy van for Christmas in the Oregon woods and broken, old Davinius retreated to his cabin to lick his wounds and pet his cats. With Timmy gone for a week and Davinius afraid to go out in the woods alone, heavily medicated and strapped to a heart monitor, do not expect great ski trails at Alturas until the new year. If we can find a caregiver to ride along with Davinius, we will report any grooming progress made. Until then, the ski trails at Alturas are not recommended.
On Saturday, the 20th of December, ski trails at Alturas Lake were groomed and the trail markers were set out in anticipation of the first Snowmageddon of the 2014 – 2015 season. Over the Hill, South Loop, the Trail to the Lake, and Wapiti were groomed for skate and classic. However, the first 12 hours of Snowmageddon has obliterated all trace of this grooming effort. Was it all for naught? No… our new groomer Timmy must learn the ways of ever changing snowfields. In the words of the poet Dejan Stojanovic, “Nothing is made, nothing disappears. The same changes, at the same places, never stopping.”
Grooming will resume on Sunday afternoon.
On Monday, December 15th, some flattening and packing of trails took place at the Alturas Lake ski area. A dozen non-motorized ski area signs were put up along the front border to help reduce snowmobile incursions until the rest of the perimeter signs can be placed by the forest service. On Thursday, the 18th, more flattening and packing took place as Timmy, the newest member of our grooming team learned the ropes from the old and broken Davinius, master groomer and grand uncle of Vladimir and Estragon, who you may remember as our former irascible groomers, presently fighting extradition to Moldavia. More grooming will take place on Friday and hopefully the Trail to the Lake can be added to the list of reasonably navigable trails. Skate lanes on Over the Hill, Sheep Thrills, Wapiti, and South Loop are already looking pretty good. Look for classic tracks to be added with this next snow storm scheduled for the weekend.
With a bit of new snow, colder temperatures and our good snowmobile back from the shop, grooming efforts have resumed at the Alturas Lake ski area. On Saturday, the Trail to the Lake as far as the bridge junction, Over the Hill, South Loop and half of Wapiti and the Sheep Thrills trail were rolled. They were all rated double R for really rough… only suitable for locals who just gotta go skiing but don’t have enough gas to leave the valley. A few more days will be needed before these trails can be recommended to the general public. Efforts to clear downed trees from the trails continued on Sunday with volunteers Scott and Al helping out. The trail all the way to the lake and the second half of Wapiti were cleared of major downfalls and a strange mountain man survival shelter blocking the trail through the enchanted forest was deconstructed. In addition, the backup snowmobile that was dead and sitting in the middle of the trail on wapiti hill was resurrected thanks to Al’s expert suggestion to “try wiggling that wire”. Good skiing appears to be just around the corner.
With our best grooming snowmobiles still in the shop, being outfitted with extra radiators and fans, we’ve had to make do with some funky groomer-mobile back-ups to begin the packing out process at the Alturas Lake Ski Area. Unfortunately, instead of packing out, yesterday morning the old yeller snowmobile packed it in, so any attempts at grooming ski trails there will have to wait until next week. Only a couple of trails at Alturas are roughed out with little to offer the ski enthusiast. In short, the Alturas ski trails are definitely not recommended at this time.