On Saturday, December 31st, the last day of 2016, the ski trails at Alturas lake are in pretty good shape, the snow is deep and the views are stunning. On Friday, South Loop, Over the Hill, the Connector, Wapiti, Sheep Thrills, and the Trail to the Lake as far as the bridge were groomed for skate and classic. The trail from the bridge to the lake was graded flat but no classic tracks were set there. At 10 a.m., the temperature at the ski area was around 5 degrees below zero. It is cold at Park Creek as well, where Lupine, Shooting Star and Camus trails are looking really good. Larkspur and Sego have been dragged but are still narrow. No Classic tracks there yet. While trails at both ski areas are still a bit soft, they should be firm enough to support some reasonable skating.
On Wednesday, December 28th, the birthday of Johnny Otis, the original “King of Rock and Roll”, Davinius, the rockin’ Alturas groomer rolled the Trail to the Lake, Over the Hill and South Loop through over a foot of new snow while doing the hand jive with his feet. More grooming is scheduled for December 29th.
On Monday, the 26th of December, Shooting Star and Camus Loop ski trails at Park Creek were dragged and looking solid enough for skating and touring. At Alturas Lake, the Trail to the Lake as far as bridge junction, Over the Hill, and South Loop were ginzu groomed on Monday for skating and touring and the first classic tracks of the year were set, Wapiti and Sheep Thrills trails were rolled. However, on Tuesday, December 27th, those trails and tracks are once again disappearing under a blanket of snow. Moderate to heavy blowing snowfall will be making travel and skiing difficult. Up to a foot of snow accumulation is expected. The 26th and 27th of December are the feast days of St. Stephen, the protomartyr.
Saint Stephen with a rose, in and out of the garden he goes
Country garden in the wind and the rain
Wherever he goes the people all complain
Stephen prospered in his time, well he may and he may decline
Did it matter, does it now? Stephen would answer if he only knew how
Lady finger, dipped in moonlight, writing “What for?” across the morning sky
Sunlight splatters, dawn with answer, darkness shrugs and bids the day goodbye
Did he doubt or did he try? Answers aplenty in the bye and bye
– Robert Hunter
On Friday, December 23rd, the birthday of the sun, ski trails are still kinda rough but improving in the Sawtooth Valley and Stanley Basin. At Park Creek, our groomer pushed his luck, got the snowmobile unstuck and packed those far out Sego and Larkspur trails for the first time. At Alturas Lake, the ginzu groomer was dug out and given a spin on the Trail to the Lake as far as the teepee, Over the Hill, Wapiti, and South Loop.
On Thursday, December 22nd, the resurrected, invincible sun once again rules the skies above the Sawtooth Valley’s cross country ski trails. What a beautiful day! At Park Creek, Lupine, Shooting Star and Camus trails were rolled on Tuesday, but deep snow bogged down efforts to expand the trails. The groomer slowed, sank below the surface, and refused to move any further through deep drifts on the way to Skyrocket. After Friday’s predicted snowstorm, Park Creek’s hirsute groomers, Grandpa Grey Beard and the Barbarosa Emmetosa, plan a double dose of trail work for the weekend. At Alturas Lake, all trails except for North Cabin were rolled on Wednesday. A major dig to free the Alturas Ginzu Groomer from its snowy tomb is planned for today. Davinius, the Alturas trails mastermind, was proudly pileated for the last days of Saturnalia, wearing his red Phrygian hat to symbolize revolution, freedom and the pursuit of liberty. He was taking full advantage of the Saturnalian tradition that permitted slaves to disrespect their masters without the threat of a punishment as he called out at passing skiers, “Yo Saturnalia! Get a job, lead butt!”