On Saturday, the last day of January, a brilliant white sun rose at daybreak and fought to ease the frozen grip of early morning at the Alturas Lake ski area. The temperature was still minus 5 degrees at 9 a.m. We predict that the sun will finally prevail and it will be a glorious day. On Friday, all trails except for North Cabin were given a corduroy treatment and should be excellent for skating and flat tracking once it warms up a bit. There are still a few refurbished remnants of classic tracks but they are scattered, not many in number and of a rather mediocre quality.
On Monday, January 26th, Timmy, aka “Timinius”, had a successful grooming session at the Alturas Lake Ski Trails. Not only were dangerous trees cut from the trails with the help of Forest Service sawyers, but Sheep Trills, Wapiti, North Cabin and Over the Hill trails were groomed for skating, along with classic tracks set on Over the Hill. On this day in history, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania experienced success as well, defeating the Tsardom of Russia in the battle of Ula in 1564. The 150 years of war between Russia and Lithuania were immortalized in a famous painting of skiing Russian warriors by the great artist Sergei Ivanov in 1903. The painting hangs in the Tretyakov gallery in Moscow today.
With Davinius out of action on a 72 hour involuntary psychiatric hold earlier this week, Timmy took over as lead groomer at the Alturas Lake Ski Area this weekend. On Friday, the Trail to the Lake, Over the Hill and South Loop were groomed. On Saturday, Over the Hill, South Loop, Wapiti and Sheep Thrills were groomed and were providing excellent skating opportunities. Because trails are very hard classic tracks are still nearly impossible to set, however double grooves were also laid down on Wapiti and the north end of South Loop. With his new promotion to head groomer, Timmy has asked to be called Timinius and has declared his new grooming motto to be “AUT VIAM INVENIAM AUT FACIAM”… I will either find a way or make a way.
On Wednesday, the 21st of January, South Loop and Sheep thrills were touched up for skating. After that and after dealing with a mechanical breakdown of the Ginzu groomer’s tracksetter, Davinius and Timmy drove two snowmobiles to the far end of Sheep Thrills Trail to rough in the final loop, which had been blocked all season by 7 fallen trees. When they got there, they were amazed to find that lightly falling snowflakes had gradually accumulated and completely covered the fallen logs. They were able to ride easily across them. This reminded them of the great Buddhist debate of 1325 that had occurred on that very date. The winning debater, Buddhist monk Daito, described zen saying, “An octagonal millstone flies through the air.” It is with such “mind blowing” intent that the good groomer creates ski trails by “flying through the snow.”
On January 20th, the moon rose with the sun, it will journey across the sky with the sun and in the evening it will set with the sun. It is what we call a new moon, its dark side invisible to the human eye and yet affecting the human psyche in subtle ways. In addition, today’s new moon is also a super moon so expect exceptional glide on the skate lanes at the Alturas Lake ski area. All trails to the East of Alturas Lake Creek were groomed for skating on Monday and looked pretty good, however, a hard snow pack made it impossible to set decent classic tracks so they are sadly lacking from the trail system at this time.