On the 18th of November, in the year 401 AD, those wild and crazy guys, the Visigoths, crossed the alps looking for good skiing and a civilization they could sack. Now, exactly 1,616 years later to the day, we once again must contemplate not only the approach of ski season but also civilization apparently on the skids. Do not despair! Although cross country ski trails at Alturas Lake and Park Creek have not yet been groomed, you do not have long to wait. Our wild and crazy groomer guys have shoe gooed their snow boots, their snowmobiles have been serviced, their ginzu knives have been sharpened and they are almost ready to go. With a bit more snow to cover the sagebrush and a renewed determination to groom the best darn ski trails known to man, this year the Sawtooth Valley cross country ski trails are no doubt primed to set civilization and its discontents on a new course, kicking and gliding over soft white corduroy into the aquarian age.
With ski trails icy hard in the morning and mash potato like by afternoon, grooming is fast reaching an end in the Sawtooth Valley for this season. At Alturas Lake on April fool’s day, after a feeble attempt at creating a little corduroy, Davinius just gave up completely. Declaring grooming and all forms of work, play, politics and religion foolish. he pulled signs and equipment in from the far reaches of the trails system and retreated to a nearby mountain top to eat his sack lunch and dream up some new tricks for old dogs. At Park Creek, the grooming Yankee Forker and El Barbarossa set corduroy and track on Camas, Lupine. Shooting Star and Skyrocket and promised to shoot for one more weekend of trails.
On Saturday and Sunday at the Alturas Lake ski area, Davinius groomed all trails to the east of Alturas Lake Creek for skate and classic, until he ran out of gas. On Monday he will make a run to Dog Town in search of propellant. At Park Creek, Daniel El Barbarossa groomed Camas and Shooting Star over the weekend for skate and classic and aims to hit Skyrocket on Monday.
As temperatures drop, grooming has begun again at the Sawtooth ski areas. At Park Creek, Camas, Lupine and Shooting Star were groomed for skate and classic on Wednesday. Skyrocket is scheduled for grooming on Friday. At Alturas Lake, the Trail to the Lake as far as the bridge, Over the Hill, South Loop and most of Sheep Thrills were graded flat before it got too warm to continue on Thursday. Early morning crust cruising may be possible. Snow is predicted for the weekend and setting new classic tracks should work at that point.
Low temperatures that have not dropped below freezing, along with highs skyrocketing into the 50’s daily, have considerably shrunk the snowpack and prevented grooming efforts at the Sawtooth cross country ski areas for the whole of last week . Trails are reportedly still supporting somewhat mushy touring.