Cold, cold temperatures settled into the Sawtooth Valley over the Christmas weekend, helping to firm up ski trails but also sending even the bravest flat trackers shuffling quickly back to their cars after short sojourns into the woods. Trails at Park Creek were reported to be very good looking but frigidly sticky. As the cold settled in on the evening of the feast of El Nino, a rare full Christmas moon rose over the White Cloud mountains and filled the valley. “The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow, gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.”

On Sunday at Alturas Lake, the Trail to the Lake as far as bridge junction, Over the Hill and South loop looked good after they were widened and flattened with the heavy duty compaction drag.  However, Sheep Thrills resisted this treatment and the drag had to be abandoned on the trail for the night after sinking into the first soft uphill grade. Additional forces are being gathered there to retrieve the drag, force Sheep Thrills and Wapiti trails into submission and to push on to the lake later this week.