BHTA Header
Archive | Animal tracks RSS feed for this section

Winter came to a sudden halt in northern Wisconsin at the Blue Hills Trail

28 Feb

The roller coaster winter of 2016-17 came to a very early end during the last two weeks of February. Preceded by fluctuating cycles of cold/warm temperatures and snow/rain precipitation, this winter included three major warm rain events that took their toll on the cross country ski trails. When considering the overall snow total was very low, it’s amazing that the skiing was often very good during December-January-February.

Our last day of serious grooming was February 19 when conditions were still bordering on excellent despite a very thin base. Skiers were giddy with excitement after enjoying the fun skate skiing conditions over the previous several days. The next day it rained 1″ and along with several days of warm temperatures, this destroyed the thin base on the trails.

A 2.5″ damp snowfall on February 24 (the day prior to the Birkie) allowed one last attempt at grooming – but there wasn’t enough residual base to make the attempted grooming worthwhile. Up in Hayward, the Birkie was canceled and switched to a short foot race. Here at the Blue Hills Trail, we enjoyed some residual skiing on rock skis, then switched to use of the snowshoe trails to enjoy the little bit of winter that hung around.

This was the earliest end to winter that we recall since our organization started in 1987. We hope next winter repays us with snow and persistent cold, good skiing and snowshoeing.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Cameron, Holmen, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Ladysmith, Madison, Milwaukee, Prairie Farm, Rice Lake), Michigan (Marquette), Minnesota (Duluth) …

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

A bit of snow, a bit of cold, good cross country skiing on the Blue Hills Trail.

15 Jan

Temps the first half of January 2017 have been somewhat mild, and snowfall has been decent. As a result, cross country skiing has been excellent at the Blue Hills Trail in Rusk County. The photos below tell it all.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Bruce, Cameron, Eau Claire, Ladysmith, Madison, Prairie Farm, Rice Lake, Two Rivers, Weyerhaeuser), Minnesota (Apple Valley, Minneapolis), Iowa (Clive), Michigan (Grosse Point)…

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Winter is here, early season cross country skiing conditions are very good on the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin.

31 Dec

This is it! This is what we work for during summer trail maintenance, and wait for as we watch the weather forecasts in November and December. The weather changed in late November, colder temps finally arrived and the very wet trails began freezing as we began grooming in early December.  We started skiing December 10th after grooming some of the trails closest to the warming house. By mid December, cold weather allowed more grooming and we’ve enjoyed surprisingly good skiing for this early in the season.

The weekend of December 23-26 (and the following week) became a groomer’s challenge. We were all set to groom late the evening of December 23rd. That evening the Hills received 2″ of very sticky snow, and the forecast called for lots of rain on December 25th. By group consensus, we decided to avoid grooming the December 23rd snowfall, let it sit and hope it would absorb the forecast rain. Mild temps all that weekend culminated in 0.7″ rain the evening of Christmas Day, followed by falling temps and A MAJOR WINDSTORM on December 26th.

We’re glad we allowed the December 23rd snowfall to rest without grooming. It magically absorbed the December 25th rainfall. After the December 26th windstorm, temps fell the week of December 26th, and our groomers spent loads of hours clearing tree-falls and branches. And skiers helped by flicking and flicking and flicking the sticks. As the New Years weekend approached the trails were in good shape, and skiers from near and far marveled at the quality of the skiing in the Hills.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Bruce, Cameron, Eau Claire, Exeland, Hudson, Ladysmith, Milwaukee, Prairie Farm, Rice Lake, Two Rivers), Minnesota (Apple Valley, Minneapolis), Des Moines (Iowa), Missoula (Montana)…

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Cross country skiing in northern Wisconsin – the Blue Hills trail made the most of a short winter.

12 Mar

Winter 2015-16 arrived late, detained by a strong El Nino event. We had two months of good skiing, shared by many fun visitors to the trails. Unfortunately, mother nature brought the ski season to an abrupt end in early March. Many thanks to all our supporters and volunteers that make this trail system so special.

Here’s a bit of a recap:

  • A very wet summer/fall 2015 made for difficult trail mowing; and created significant challenges due to trail erosion. In October this included one heavily damaged bridge that was successfully repaired; and abandoning another damaged bridge by rerouting a trail section (this trail revision necessitated bulldozing and hand labor). Twice we also repaired extensive trail damage from illicit off road truck traffic.
  • After a discouraging warm, rainy December 2015, the trails finally received a couple inches of snow on December 24th. Another 2″ of snow on December 28th allowed our groomers to start working.
  • As cold weather arrived in early January, wet spots began freezing. Careful, meticulous grooming then created good skiing throughout January despite minimal snowfall. By the middle of January, conditions were mostly very good to excellent even though the base was thin. A heavy snowfall on February 2nd allowed grooming of the entire trail system and provided excellent conditions until icy trails developed following a record warm day on February 27th.
  • This year’s “Blue Hills Trail Fun Day” was loads of fun: a potluck full moon party on Saturday January 23rd that was very well attended. We enjoyed temps in the 20s, a roaring campfire, drum circle rhythm, great food, and good skiing conditions despite the moon hiding behind an overcast sky.
  • On a warm February 19th, it rained more than half an inch; and on the 20th the trails were saturated wet and very soft after two days with temps above freezing. A skier injury on February 20th led to a local fire department rescue that required the use of a tracked ATV. The rescue was successful, but unfortunately the equipment left deep ruts that closed down about 2 miles of the groomed trails. After repairing one limited portion of the damage, we were able to use a detour of the core loop that kept everyone happy.
  • With temps predicted to skyrocket beginning March 5th, we looked at the weather forecast and then groomed one last time on March 1st. Grooming equipment went to summer storage on Friday March 4th, we skied that weekend and then enjoyed one last morning of good classic skiing on March 7th as temperatures pushed 60 degrees later that afternoon.
  • From December 24th through February 23rd, we received only 24 inches of snow; by early March the total for the season was only 30 inches, easily the lowest seasonal snow total since we’ve kept records beginning in 1999.
  • We groomed a total of 36 times – and felt lucky we had enough cold weather to enjoy ourselves.
  • This winter of 2015-16, we’ve once again enjoyed sharing the Blue Hills Trail with visitors from near and far. Thanks to everybody that helps spread the word regarding the beauty of this trail system.

A huge ‘shout out’ to our groomers. Equipment break downs and mechanical problems were handled efficiently & never compromised the grooming. Thank you to our primary grooming team (Steve Gest, Adam Brockman, & Jesse Wimer) – and to our occasional groomers (Mike Cragg, Ron Jasperson, Tom Paulsen, Steve Porn, and Dave Putnam) – for creating great memories the winter of 2015-16!

A sincere thank you to our diverse group of members, volunteers and supporters – you’re the best.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Ladysmith, Prairie Farm, Rice Lake, Madison, Milwaukee, Exeland, Bruce, Racine, Eau Claire), Minnesota (Apple Valley, Maple Grove, Grand Rapids, Lindstrom, Afton, Minneapolis, Richfield), Europe (Catalonia/Andorra, Austria)…

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Cross country skiing on the Blue Hills Trail – big snowfall provides lots of work for groomers – resultant conditions are superb!

14 Feb

A big snowfall on February 2nd (8 inches measured at the warming house – estimates of 10-12 inches on many trails) meant several days of long hours grooming for double shifts of groomers. Within a few days, the results were good – within a week, the results were breathtaking.

Wide smooth trails, firm skate lane and firm pole plants, rock solid classic track. All highlighted by the return of cold temps and sunny days. Winter’s best.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Cameron, Ladysmith, Eau Claire, Rice Lake, Bruce, Tony, Appleton), Illinois (Blue Island), Minnesota (Apple Valley, Maple Grove), Switzerland …

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

With only 9 inches of snow, groomers work their magic on the Blue Hills Trail

16 Jan

Cold weather and occasional small snowfalls helped groomers create very good cross country skiing conditions during the first half of January 2016. With only 9 inches of snowfall to work with, skiers were uniformly amazed at the groomers’ ability to create a wide mostly smooth skate lane and the presence of quite a bit of classic track. Despite the unusually low snowfall, dirt spots were infrequent, and most skiers were comfortable using their good skis.

With careful, judicious grooming, more and more trails were opened up and 90% of the trail system was available by mid January.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Cameron, Ladysmith, Rice Lake, Mt. Horeb, Bruce), Minnesota (Apple Valley) …

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Blue Hills Trail: bridge washout necessitates trail revision

17 Oct

Good news! Northern Wisconsin’s Blue Hills Trail has a new hill.

On September 17th, a heavy downpour triggered flooding that created a washout of one of the bridges on the core loop of the Blue Hills Trail. This bridge is located not far from the trailhead – near #23 on trail section 1-23 (refer to the website Trail Maps link). Due to the nature and location of the washout, bridge repair appeared unmanageable.

After brainstorming to find a fix, and looking at multiple options, a bypass trail (200 meters in length) was discovered through an area previously unexplored. This bypass seemed especially desirable because not only would it avoid a meandering creek and bypass the damaged bridge – it also would bypass a gradually failing culvert, and another bridge susceptible to high water.

Here’s a description of the work accomplished the past two weeks:

  • Flagged the trail revision.
  • Installed silt fence.
  • Dozed the new route.
  • Raked, shoveled, and leveled the rough spots.
  • Removed rocks and tree roots.
  • Spread grass seed (annuals and perennials).

The section of revised trail replaces a straight section of trail and “flows” nicely to avoid the oxbow of the nearby creek. It even adds another small hill to the Blue Hills Trail. Pictures (below) show installation of silt fence prior to dozing; then the newly dozed trail on the day the grass seed was spread.

Many thanks to our silt fence crew: Steve Gest, Pete Grassmann, Kent Meng, Gale Otterholt, Tom Paulsen, Steve Schleppegrell, and Jonathan Stanley. And thanks to the raking and grass spreading crew: Ron Jasperson, Jan Paulsen, and Tom Paulsen.

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

The winter of 2014-15 provided great cross country skiing on the Blue Hills Trail of northern Wisconsin.

24 Mar

A cold month of February is forgotten, pushed aside by an early March warm-up. However the great cross country skiing conditions the past couple months are well etched in skiers’ memories. The Blue Hills microclimate was fortunate to receive adequate snowfall while nearby areas were snow starved.

Temps skyrocketed beginning March 8, we looked at the weather forecast and then groomed one last time on March 11.  Grooming equipment went to summer storage on March 13, and our skis did likewise.

Here’s a bit of a recap:

  • Fundraising in April 2014 allowed the purchase of a John Deere Gator with Camoplast tracks for use pulling our mowing and grooming implements. This past winter, groomers thoroughly enjoyed the Gator’s ability to navigate the various challenges offered by the trail terrain and weather. And no one complained about operating in a heated cab.
  • With an early heavy snowstorm followed by a cold month of November, we started grooming earlier than ever on November 11th, & skied in the Hills fairly regularly since then (120 consecutive days with groomed trails available). The summer and autumn of 2014 were very wet, many of the trails couldn’t be groomed in November and December due to underlying unfrozen ground and/or eroded sections – but we did have 14 km of nicely groomed trails for mid-winter skiing in mid-November!
  • We groomed a total of 58 times (probably a record for us).
  • We survived a prolonged spell of warm, damp weather in mid December that melted much of the accumulated base. When wintry weather suddenly returned in late December, our groomers eagerly put our new John Deere Gator through its tracks and we were skiing on very good conditions by the New Year Holiday.
  • After January 1, we received only 14 additional inches of snow prior to the season ending warm-up that began March 8. The snowfalls came in small amounts, just often enough to freshen the trails and help level the base. Despite a fairly dry winter, we had just enough base to maintain great conditions while pleasing the many visitors from snow starved areas to the northwest, west and south.
  • The limited snowfall actually worked to the advantage of skate skiers. The skate lane was solid and fast most of the winter.
  • February was persistently cold and both classic and skate skiing were consistently good.
  • This year’s “Blue Hills Trail Fun Day” was perfectly timed: a potluck moonlight ski event on Friday March 6 was very well attended. The previous day saw temps of -25 degrees F that morning; the evening of the moonlight ski we enjoyed temps in the 20s, a roaring campfire, great food, camaraderie, and perfect skiing conditions under the stars and a full moon.
  • Despite the frequent grooming, we stayed well within budget, and had fun sharing the Blue Hills Trail with a record number of visitors.  Thanks to everybody that helps spread the word regarding the beauty of this trail system.

A huge ‘shout out’ to our groomers.  Once again, equipment break downs and mechanical problems were handled efficiently & never compromised the grooming.  Thank you to our primary grooming team of Steve Gest, Jesse Wimer, & Adam Brockman for giving us great memories this winter of 2014-15!

A sincere thank you to our diverse group of members, volunteers and supporters – your help this past year has been extremely rewarding.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Ladysmith, Eau Claire, Rice Lake, Madison, Black River Falls), Minnesota (Stillwater, Minneapolis, Two Rivers, St. Paul, Golden Valley, Wyoming)…

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Great fun: cross country skiing on the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin.

15 Feb

Great grooming, great cross country skiing, great fun on the Blue Hills Trail.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house are included in the picture gallery that follows. Find comments from Wisconsin (Chippewa Falls, Oregon, Osceola, Elmwood, Eau Claire), and Minnesota (Lindstrom, Rochester, Duluth, Stillwater, Prior Lake, Golden Valley, Minneapolis)…

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Good skiing on the Blue Hills Trail in mid November – wow!

17 Nov

With a blast of cold air headed our way, we prepared our grooming equipment for an early start to the winter season.  A moisture rich snowfall on November 10/11 was groomed on two loops – one on the Eastside of the trail system, and one on the Westside – and the connecting trail was groomed as well.  With persistent cold temps, this mid November snowfall provided 6.5 km of nicely groomed trails, including 4.8 km of a good classic track.  Skiers have already started feeling their forgotten muscles.

The grooming will be extended to the rest of the trail system after completion of the gun deer hunt in late November.  The early arrival of snow came on top of warm ground; we’re hoping a couple weeks of cold temps will help freeze the many wet areas scattered throughout the Blue Hills Trail.

If you’re ready to snowshoe, the dedicated snowshoe trail is brushed out and stomped down.  It starts next to the warming house – just look for the obvious snowshoe signs and flagging tape.

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house

  • 11/13: First grooming of the new season, used the Gator for the first time, loved it.  –Ladysmith, WI
  • 11/14: First ski of the year, what fun!  –Ladysmith, WI
  • 11/15: Snowshoed & skied  –Rice Lake, WI
  • 11/15: Skate skiing!  Good job grooming!  Thanks. –Chippewa Falls, WI
  • 11/15: Beautiful day & skiing in November! –Eau Claire, WI
  • 11/16: Worth the drive.  Thank you volunteers. –Marine on St. Croix, MN

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Packed powder conditions skiing the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin.

25 Mar

Weekend skiing (March 23-24) gave another taste of winter, packed powder conditions – is this really late March?

But now that it looks like March will go out as a lamb, we’ve decided to stop grooming.  The depth of base is impressive, you should be able to enjoy skiable snow for quite a while.  Try to catch the magic window as the trails soften in the morning, or when a freezing glaze starts to set up as the sun settles in the west.

Here’s a bit of a recap:

  • We started grooming on December 10th, & have skied in the Hills regularly since then (a total of 105 days on groomed snow).
  • We groomed a total of 51 times.
  • Somehow, we survived 5 separate rain events (unheard of in years past).  Icy conditions forced us to shut down the trails only on one 3-day occasion – January 10-13.  Those rainfalls actually seemed to enhance the base.
  • Other than an 8-inch snowfall on December 9th, December was dry.  That one snowfall allowed 11 opportunities to groom – & we enjoyed skiing most of the trails using our rock skis.
  • January snowfall was was just enough to allow us to set our rock skis aside & ski the entire trail system.  Groomers worked on 15 days that month.
  • February snows were limited, but by grooming 16 times that month, our groomers captured every snowflake & turned the trails into nothing but the best of winter.  Then snowfall began picking up at Birkie time.
  • Compared with recent years, none of us were anticipating a cold, snowy month of March.  It kept snowing, we kept grooming (9 times in March!), & trail conditions have never been better.  Packed powder mid-winter conditions in late March – unbelievable!
  • We exhausted our grooming budget, & had fun doing it.  Thanks to our many members & supporters.

A huge ‘shout out’ to our groomers.  Once again, equipment break downs and mechanical problems were handled efficiently & never compromised the grooming.  Thank you to Dan Bartels, Steve Gest, Jesse Wimer, & Steve Brockman for giving us great memories this winter of 2012-13!

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house

  • 3/21: Awesome!  Great grooming!  Thank you!!  –Chippewa Falls, WI
  • 3/21: We skied every track!  Who would believe such deeply set beautiful tracks this late in March.  THANKS! –Chetek, WI
  • 3/22: Wonderful Spring skiing – thanks tons to BHTA & groomers. –Eau Claire, WI
  • 3/22: Returned from week in Jamaica.  More snow now than when we left.  Sticky snow got faster as temps dropped. –Prairie Farm, WI
  • 3/23: No words – just go ski it.  Skate. –author’s location unknown
  • 3/24: Awesome ski! –Bruce, WI
  • 3/24: Skied the sundown.  We had a lickitysplit last ski of the season for us.  Thanks to the groomers & their insistence on perfection! –Ladysmith, WI

March has delivered more snow – cross country skiing continues in the Blue Hills of northern Wisconsin.

12 Mar

Several snowfalls during the first 11 days of March have added to our already generous base.  These moisture-rich, heavy March snowfalls are always a challenge for our groomers, and our groomers continue to excel.  Skiing activity has dropped off a bit, and we now plan on reducing our March grooming to about 60% of the trail system (visit the website homepage for details).  Here’s hoping the freeze/thaw cycles of March deliver some great crust skiing later this month.

The first weekend of March was accompanied by fabulous conditions throughout the trail system.  And like years past, peeps made an appearance that brought smiles to kids and adults alike (look at the photos below).

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house

  • 3/2: Superman day.  25 degrees F, sun, great grooming, Fast!!  Thanks for a greatest ever day & a great season.  –Rice Lake, WI
  • 3/2: Another day in Paradise!  Thanks for an A+++ grooming job! –Ladysmith, WI
  • 3/2: Wow!  Fabulous spring skiing & fantastic job by the groomers!  Well worth the drive from the Twin Cities. –Minneapolis, MN
  • 3/3: Beautifully groomed skate lane – great for us beginners. –Savage, MN
  • 3/3: Thanks for Peeping the Trail! –Rice Lake, WI
  • 3/3: A little piece of Heaven – Awesome – Thank you!  –author’s location unknown
  • 3/4: 19 degrees F, firm & fast – trails are perfect – more snow on the way. –Ladysmith, WI
  • 3/6: With trails like these & a day like today, it’s kind of sad to be near the end of ski season.  Thanks BHTA. –Rice Lake, WI

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Truly wintry conditions await you for cross country skiing in Wisconsin on the Blue Hills Trail

7 Feb

The weather the past ten days has favored the Blue Hills with frequent snowfalls and seasonal temperatures.  As a result, the skiing conditions are the best we’ve seen since the great winter of 2010-11.

After Wednesday’s snowfall (February 6th), we’re grooming today to set the stage for another fun weekend in the Hills.  Join us!

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house

  • 2/1: Dear Blue Hills Crew, One word: Fantastic!!  Cold but fantastic.  Thanks for your hard work. –Madison, WI
  • 2/2: Thanks for grooming the north trails for classic skiing!  We traditionalists appreciate it! –Weyerhaeuser, WI & Minneapolis, MN
  • 2/2: Sunny, 5 degrees F, new snow.  One of the ‘best evers’ for my list.–Rice Lake, WI
  • 2/2: Snowshoe trail was very fun!  Well marked – I had an easy time following the ribbons. –Spooner, WI
  • 2/2: Great day!  Thanks for grooming. –Spooner, WI
  • 2/2: Didn’t even notice the cold.  The glide in the classic track was fast. –Prairie Farm, WI
  • 2/2: Beautiful day for skiing, crunchy snow + sunshine. –Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN
  • 2/2: Great day skiing on our wood skis. –Rice Lake, WI
  • 2/3: Visitors from… –Altoona, WI
  • 2/3: Super Sunday.  Got my kicks today.  You’ll find classic track EVERYWHERE! –Ladysmith, WI
  • 2/3: Nice classic skiing today.  Sunny & beautiful. –Bruce, WI
  • 2/3: Skied Blue Hills yesterday & today.  Skating faster today.  Skied swamp loop for first time this season. –Prairie Farm, WI
  • 2/4: With a little moly on the soles of my skis it was lickety split FAST!  Yahoo! –Ladysmith, South Africa
  • 2/5: Blazing fast conditions tonight. –Bruce, WI
  • 2/6: Visitors from… –Chetek, WI
  • 2/6: It just can’t get any prettier than today.  It was another masterpiece of grooming.  Snow started about 11:30.  Groomers will have a clean slate for tomorrow. –Ladysmith, WI

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Happy Holidays from the Blue Hills Trail Association!

25 Dec

To reflect on the beauty of the Blue Hills Trail, take a look at the following video (initially presented December 2011).  Happy Holidays!

How to view the video: on the lower right corner of the video screen, choose one of two different resolutions – for those of you with a slower internet connection, select the 360p mode; for faster connections choose either 360p or 480p.  Pause and play buttons are available, as well as volume control.  When the control buttons disappear, hover your mouse over the video to find the controls.  Just give the various control options a try – be sure to try the full screen view (the rectangle on the lower right).  Enjoy the show!

Grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, turn up your volume control, then sit back and relax.  See anyone you know?

If your time is short, try this version:

What fun! Cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin during the winter of 2011-12

10 Mar

We were able to enjoy a few more hours of  fun skiing in the Blue Hills this morning.  The weather forecast suggests we are done grooming for the winter of 2011-12.

Here’s a bit of a recap:

  1. We started grooming on December 4th, & have skied in the Hills regularly since then (a total of 98 days on groomed snow).
  2. We groomed a total of 39 times.
  3. December was dry, allowing only 5 opportunities to groom – but we kept skiing on our rock skis.
  4. January snowfall picked up, groomers worked on 17 days that month.
  5. February was drier again, requiring 11 days of grooming.
  6. March produced our only decent snowstorm – & another 6 days of grooming.

We owe a big thank you to our groomers.  Equipment break downs and mechanical problems were handled efficiently & never compromised the grooming.  Thank you to Dan Bartels, Steve Gest, & Jesse Wimer for capturing every available snowflake & saving the winter of 2011-12!

It certainly was an unusual winter (warm & dry).  Fortunately, we were lucky to receive just enough snow to enjoy fun conditions for most of 3 months.  Welcoming the many happy skiers that traveled to find snow in the Blue Hills was very rewarding.

[ If interested in more info re: river otters (see images below), follow this link ]

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house

  • 3/8: Great ski today all alone!  Thanks to the groomers for all the great work this winter.  Hate to see it end. –Ladysmith, WI
  • 3/9: Awesome! –author’s location unknown
  • 3/10: Got going 7:30 a.m. when “the window” was still closed & locked.  Thanks to yesterday’s grooming (by Dan the man) we threw the window open ’til it started to get slow ~9:30.  What fun! –Ladysmith, WI
  • 3/10: Another fabulous year in the Hills.  Thank you to the crew! –Barron, WI
  • 3/10: Great spring skiing.  Thanks. –Minneapolis, MN
  • 3/11: Great hike thru woods.  Stayed off trails.  This is what makes real outdoors men & women. –author’s location unknown
  • 3/13: Just checkin’ out old playground. –author’s location unknown
  • 3/13: I was able to ski out the ‘gravel road’ about 2.5 km, crossing two short bare sections. to a wide melted out area then returned. –Ladysmith, WI
  • 3/23: Snow completely gone – can you believe it! –Rice Lake, WI

How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos, view each picture individually by clicking on the thumbnail; or you can “show as slideshow” by clicking the link above the images. To move quickly through the slideshow click the photos themselves. For either option, if you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original; higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.