Snow and Trail Conditions Update
As of 12/20/22
Snowmobile trails are still closed and our clubs are working tirelessly to clean up the aftermath of the recent snow storm. Check back soon for more updates!
-Please check the Ride Rusk page for confirmation on your trail routes and for updates on trail maintenance and grooming.
Cross Country Ski Trails
Blue Hills Trails report:
(December 20th)- While waiting for heavy equipment to remove downed trees and plow the Fire Lane Road so we could reach our trailhead, I just couldn't wait any longer. We needed information regarding the condition of our warming house, storage buildings, and ski trails. So Monday morning, I skied 2.5 miles through the deep snow on the Fire Lane Road (16" of settled snow) to check things out.
- The Fire Lane Road has an unbelievable amount of tree damage where I skied. Trees bent over and blocking 2/3 the width of the road, trees snapped off and laying across the road, and plenty of downed branches. The deep snow and snow laden trees reminds me of back country skiing in the mountains of British Columbia when I was in my 30s. Not something I'm used to in Rusk County.
- When I arrived at the trailhead, I was greeted by the downed tree in the top photo. It's blocking the gate where our grooming equipment moves, and where our skiers step into their bindings.
- Looking at the warming house, I realized five tall red pines had snapped off 20-30 feet off the ground. Somehow they landed next to the warming house without causing significant damage to the building (one tree is resting on the northwest corner of the roof). However, one tree crushed the lovely ski rack that Jim Sirek crafted a few years ago - but that same tree was kind enough to miss Jim's fire pit bench by 4 inches.
- Inspection of our three storage buildings showed them to be undamaged by near misses. One shipping container has a tree blocking access to its doors; our storage shed has a heavy limb laying in front of it that missed the shed and solar panels by a few inches.
- Fortunately most of our grooming implements were inside a shipping container and avoided storm damage.
- One of the pit toilets has a medium size tree resting on its roof. We'll check that out in the near future.
- Our two propane tanks are undamaged.
- The short trail that connects the trailhead with the Gravel Road has lots of downed trees and will need quite a bit of chainsaw work before we can start exploring the Core Loop between intersections 1 & 2.
Plenty of bad news. But on the bright side, the trailhead buildings, propane tanks, and equipment sustained only limited damage.
Once the Fire Lane Road is plowed and the trailhead is accessible by vehicle, when the weather cooperates, we'll pick a day to clean up the downed trees at the trailhead that are in greatest need of removal.
To clear the amazing amount of tree damage we anticipate on the ski trails, we now are exploring options for hiring heavy equipment operators to deal with the big stuff and the trees that would be too dangerous for hand removal (picture trees falling or springing free unexpectedly).
-Be sure to visit their website or Facebook page for more trail conditions.
Ladysmith Area Trails report:
(December 18th)- Well the trail system at Sisters Farm is a disaster and that maybe an understatement. We have been out doing some reconnaissance and we have a big job ahead of us to clear trails on hundreds of down trees and branches. So the project starts today. We are planning to meet at 1:00 in the Sisters Farm parking lot to start opening a loop at the trail. If you can come and help bring a saw and/or clippers. The more hands we have the more we can get done. Please be patient with the trails this winter as it appears this will be an all winter project. More work days will be planned if you can't make it out today.
(December 19th)- Well we had seven volunteers work on clearing trails at sisters farm. After a number of hours of work we got about a 1.5 kilometer loop on the east side from the parking lot open It has been groomed and should be good to ski. It is going to be a tall task to get trails open this winter but we will keep after it. Stay tuned for more updates and work days.
-For more updates, check out the Ladysmith Area Trail Association Facebook page.
(December 18th)- WE ARE BACK! After 22" of fresh snow & a city wide power outage. We are ready to open with some incredible snow conditions. See you tomorrow 10am-6pm. Tubing is currently CLOSED.
(December 20th)- It has been a week for the books and I don't even know where to start with the thank you's. I cannot express the amount of work it took to pull off opening today and our outdoor crew deserves a huge round of applause. When I finally decided that walking to work on Wednesday was my only option I was beyond shocked to find employees already out wielding chainsaws and shovels, some of whom didn't even have power at their own homes!
Many of them had run into impassable roads on their way here only to turn around and try another route. It was then I was reminded of their full on dedication to this hill. As the day wore on the power will still not restored. I watched them trudge through the 19" of snow and realized we were in for the long haul. The snow removal alone was enough to deal with but the trees downed by the storm was a feat I still don't know how they overcame.
As if the 19" wasn't enough the snow just kept coming and the power did not return. This crew kept after it day after day knowing that when the power was restored there was a good chance that the ice would not allow us to open lifts. When we did get electricity back they were out de-icing rope tows, chairs and the chairlift cable.
It's a wonder we were able to open at all this weekend, and I can't think of a better way to show that crew how appreciated they are than the number of ecstatic skiers and boarders we saw today. Our customers were bursting at the seams with appreciation for the effort it took to get the chair turning. It was a good day and I am, once again, indebted to an outdoor crew that always gives it all they have.
-Check out their website or Facebook page for more updates.
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