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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Season's Kick (and glide) Off

It must be winter since there are lots of grown men in tights on the TV chasing a small pigskin ball around an unnaturally green rectangle with odd marking on it.  Seems to happen every year about this time.

Winter means snow and cold, which in turn facilitates strapping slippery boards to your feet and going fast up and down hills.  Or going casually or leisurely through the trees with said boards on feet.

Groomer Gabfest
The unbelievably dedicated volunteer groomers met today to discuss the season and get a look at new toys for getting the heavy machines unstuck.  Hank, the Godfather of the Grooming Squad, spent many hours this summer getting our snow machines in tip-top shape.  When you see him on the trail give him a big smile and thanks.  He is the backbone of the machine end of things at the ski area.  The good news for everyone else is that by noon tomorrow - Monday Dec 9 - there will be some grooming done.  Preliminary work on getting the trails groomed will commence in the morning hours and, if the groomers' faces don't fall of from the extreme cold, the rest of us can start the season on some new corduroy by Noon or thereabouts.   We plan to have three machines out for two to three hours. 

Clearly many of you could not wait for the grooming to begin and there were many cars in the parking lot today.  Excited about snow.  Yes!

Let the skiing begin!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chicken Creek Needs Your Help!

It's late summer and the Board of the Chicken Creek Ski Corp is gearing up already in anticipation of an epic ski season.  And we need your help.  We are actively recruiting one member for our board of directors.  Board members attend one or two meetings a year and are generally required to do very little.  But a willingness to do a lot is a definite bonus!  We are also seeking a few volunteers to assist a grant writer gather information for the completion of a grant to pay for grooming equipment.  The grant will be submitted in Late October so that will be a short-term commitment. 

If you would like to help or simply need some more information, please call Peter at 533-1605

Please pass this along to anyone you know who might like to know about these exciting opportunities in the wild world of Nordic skiing in Montezuma County.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fried Chicken Coming Right Up

Well folks, I went up to the area after the last snow and took a look around.  There was a decent amount of snowfall, 8-10 inches at the higher reaches.  Sadly with temperatures predicted to be in the 60's in a couple days it's a case of too little and too late.  The kicking and gliding should be pretty good for the next couple days.  One brave soul tried to skate on the new stuff and it must have been exhausting as they kept it short.  We could not rally a groomer to pack down the new snow so it is probably a bit of a mess up there by now as far as trying to skate.

We had a pretty good run this year.  Time for a little picnic to celebrate.  Anyone for some chicken?  Fried?

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Morning Buff

Groomer Tom made the rounds on the Bauer Loops this morning to freshen things up after a couple days of almost warm temperatures.  The upper loops were still in very good shape as recently as yesterday afternoon, having seen very little traffic over the past few days.

Warmer days are on the way; this could be the last gasp of the chicken.  We recommend you get a big helping now, while it's still edible.  Ciao for now...

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Preening

The Chicken got it's feathers preened this morning:  Fresh corduroy all around.  The existing classic track was preserved and is in tolerable condition.  All things considered, it's pretty dang nice up there...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saucy! Friday 2/22

Heavenly gravy was ladled all over the chicken the past couple days, albeit sparingly.  Still it was enough to breath fresh life into a very tired bird.  I'd guess about 4" of new snow at the parking lot and more like 6-7 inches at the upper reaches.

John G, Alan F, and Peter B all hit it hard with the groomers starting about 10:30 this morning.  Everything got groomed and the area is in Very Good condition.  The snow is still a bit soft / un-bonded but cold temperatures tonight ought to help that out.  The weekend skiing really should be terrific. And it looks like we may be getting even more gravy tomorrow and possibly into Sunday.  We can sure used it so let's hope it materializes.

Sorry folks!  I thought I published this Friday night, but I accidentally saved it as a draft.  My bad.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hank Loves Chicken

Sunday early afternoon:
Hank was out doing some scratching on the Bauer Loops around mid-day today, which should improve the conditions considerably; for now at least.

Snow coming Wednesday??
Lets hope it is.  We need it.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Grooming report for Friday PM

All trails were re-groomed Friday afternoon in anticipation of the weekend.  We did not finish until almost 6pm, so Saturday morning skiers will be greeted with some nice fresh corduroy. 

The classic track is getting pretty beat up, and I cannot promise it will be spruced up in time for the weekend.  It could be Monday before it gets a freshener, just so you know.

The warm days are taking the new snow away quickly, and there doesn't seem to be any credible promise of new stuff on the way, so this weekend looks to be the time to get out there and enjoy it while you can.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Crikey, that's good, mate!

Many thanks go out to our superlative team of groomers, who were on this last storm like white on snow.  The whole area is groomed into a state of blissful chicken-ness, and in record time.  Today Andy spent many hours grooming the upper reaches to perfection, including fresh classic track.

Yesterday was the trio of Mark, Capp and Brad who laid the excellent groundwork for today's groom-a-rama.  In fact, by yesterday afternoon, Brad had the Bauer Loops already dialed in.

No way to know what the rest of the season will bring, so really - get out there and enjoy it while the getting is this good.  I didn't skate the whole area tonight but what I did ski was nearly perfect.  Just a hair soft for fast skating and by tomorrow that will most likely remedy itself since the night is predicted to be quite cold - single digits in town.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Grooming Update

To bring you all up to speed on what happened today at the ski area, here's what I know:
Three groomers went out the gate at 10am.  They reported there was quite a bit of new snow just over night.  The Bauer Loops sound like they ought to be in excellent condition, having been groomed AND given a classic track.

The upper trails received attention today, including the roller.  They did not however get a final grooming or classic track set.  I haven't been up there myself yet, so I don't know how soft (or level) the upper stuff is as far as skaters are concerned. My best guess: still too soft to skate enjoyably.  If we can muster the volunteer groomer manpower we will get those firmed and leveled up.  I'll keep you posted as time allows.

Grooming Action!

I had a report last night that 3 groomers would be out there this morning around 10am.  So as of this writing that is what's happening (as far as I know).  Once they report back in I will update trail conditions in as much detail as possible.

Experience says the skating will be less than optimal for the next couple days, until things firm up some.  We got a pile of snow.

More later...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Deep Fresh Powder

And lots of it, especially at the higher reaches of the area.  Hank and I went out and track packed today around mid-day.  We left the Bauer loops in pretty nice shape, with a couple roller passes.  Still too soft for enjoyable skating, certainly.  But classic skiers and their pooches will find the trail delightful.

The upper trails only got a single pass (with 2 machines); some of it rolled, some only track packed.  We are trying to stay on top of this storm, as it may dump quite a bit more snow.  If it gets too deep, grooming becomes "difficult" (can you say 'unsafe, unpleasant, and maybe impossible?').

Looks like Ullr threw the chicken a nice bone!  Stay tuned for more updates.

Do Chickens Dream?

If they do, this is what they dream of.  Nice light fluffy snow falling continuously, day and night.  We're trying now to coordinate getting the fresh snow packed, rolled, leveled and groomed for some serious chicken delight.  Stay tuned to the blog for updates as the storm(!) and the grooming progress.  Rock the Chicken!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Feel More Chicken-er

It's true, the snow is starting to get thin up there at the Chicken.  And yes, I have felt slightly terrified while descending the steeper sections over the past few days.  But all that's changed, as of today.  Our favorite bird got some needed attention this morning/early afternoon.  This is a small, homespun outfit so your blogger doubles occasionally as a groomer (not to mention skier) and that's what happened today.  I spent some time disrupting wildlife and inhaling exhaust fumes so we can all have a more enjoyable skiing experience.  At least for a couple more days.

All trails previously groomed got re-groomed today and so are more level and generally more enjoyable to ski now.  The classic track is 98% intact but is getting a bit (!) icy in spots.  And a couple days ago, Mark track packed the Dolph Kuss loop, so that is now available for classic skiers into a more rustic experience.

It was the best ski I've had in a while, with conditions about as good as they can possibly be given the weather we've been having lately.  So I hope you can get up there and enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Beautiful Bird

Grooming Report for Friday, February 1
Yes, that's right:  February!
Groomers Mark and Andy got it done today, with all loops now groomed, including the road to the top.  So skaters will be pleased to have plenty of terrain open now.  Sadly, the days are heating up to the point where the snow is getting mushy mid-day and then getting crusty by late afternoon.  We skated Bauer loops and the Rush connector yesterday afternoon and it was getting a bit sketchy as things set up.  The fresh grooming ought to help that out considerably.

No chance for precipitation in the forecast and daily highs in the mid 40's.  My recommendation would be to go out and get it now while we've got the snow.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More Progress Made

Everything you always wanted to know about Chickens, but were afraid to ask...

The Bauer Loops are groomed for classic and skating and are in good shape.  They do need a bit more packing to qualify as "firm", but they are getting there.

Rush connector also pretty darn good.  But that's where it ends. 

Rush Creek, the road to the top of Hamlin loop, and Hamlin Loop have all been track packed with snow machines, but they have only seen one pass with the roller.  Skating will be a challenge in the upper reaches, for sure.

The Road to the very top has only been track packed.

I will keep you posted on the grooming as it happens.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Mouth to beak resuscitation

Some new life was breathed into a suffering chicken over the past couple days with that tremendous rain/snow/sleet/slush fall.  We had two groomers out trying to tame the depths yesterday and they're back out there again today trying to free one snow machine from the soggy snow and to get more rolling and maybe even some grooming done.  So conditions will be steadily improving over the next day or so.  It takes some time to get that much snow tamed down.

Some miscreant(s) "liberated" the donation box at the trailhead. Until we can figure out how to replace the donation box, please help yourself to an envelope in the sign-in box, and drop your donation in the mail.  We need the donations now more than ever as we are trying to buy another snowmobile to replace one of ours which you may have seen dead up on Rush Creek Trail earlier in the season.  So please give what you can.

My apologies for the lapse in blog entries.  My primary goal is to provide updated grooming reports and there hasn't been much to groom for some time now.  I'll be reporting in again soon as I learn what is happening up there.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

So superbly saucey; simply creamy and dreamy...

Usually only the dishonest and/or misinformed ski area blogger has to resort to such blatant platitudes as those expressed in this entry's title.  But this chick-log hack has the facts in hand:  The chicken is choice!

Thank you groomers Andy (aka Android) and Mark (aka Ottski) for the darn-near perfect conditions found at the area today (Wednesday).  Really and truly exceptional.  Seriously.

Everything got groomed by that dynamic duo yesterday, and I can say that everything got groomed to a state of cosmic bliss (the technical term).  There is perfect classic track all over the joint; basically everywhere.  You'll have to look hard to find the tiny stretch that didn't receive the classic pan's caress.

The National Weather Service is predicting a mild warming trend later in the week, but it looks like we ought to be able to keep most of the snow.

Enjoy the hero snow while it's here - oh!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Evening ReCap

Just read my email and learned that Cap was out there grooming both Bauer loops today as well as setting classic track on both Bauer loops.  So the skiing down low ought to be quite nice.  Thank you Cap.

A friendly reminder to snowshoers, PLEASE keep off the classic track with your snowshoes as the classic skiers who like to use the track prefer it in an untrammeled state, which seems reasonable enough.  Ideally, those on foot (those feet being contained in snowshoes) would stay to the far outside edge of the track.  Your consideration is greatly appreciated.

The rest of the area is due for a touch-up early this week.  I'll keep you posted...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wednesday Grooming Report 1:00 pm and 5:30 pm

EARLY REPORT:  Tom R. reported about an hour-and-a-half ago that he was headed up to do some grooming, starting with the upper loops.  I will update this entry once I have more details for you all...

OK, here's the promised update.  It sounds as if Tom got everything groomed, despite some technical glitches (rhymes with ditches, appropriately enough).  He also says he put in some classic track, but I'm not sure exactly where as of this writing.

After tonight's chilly temps, things should be pretty firm and sweet by tomorrow.  I intend to check it out personally.  I hope you do too.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chicken Retrieval Mission

Today after the observation of some snowmobile operator gone bananas on Monday evening and tearing up the wonderful track set by Andy H., Peter B. honed in his chicken scratching skills to rectify what was left of the upper road.  So as of right now this minute the trail is in excellent condition.  The Forest Service has been notified of this and hopefully, our latest "Chicken Creek Bandit" is not planning a return trip to our little neck of the woods.  See you on the track, conditions have been pretty fast out there and holding up quite well.

The crying of the chickens

All that good news apparently needed some counterbalance, and that's what we got today.  Sometime last night a mean-spirited person climbed on his or her snow machine and tore up a fair segment of the groomed track.

As of now, the east leg of lower Little Bauer and the road from the picnic table on up have received moderate to heavy damage from the perpetrator.  The Forest Service is aware and they are investigating.  The damage ought to be relatively easy to undo and with any luck will be undone soon.

Anyone having any knowledge of what happened is encouraged to call Chris at the Forest Service 970-882-6831.

The good news keeps on coming...

I saw this guy yesterday evening, skating out from Hamlin to the road with a delirious grin on his face - like the cat that ate the canary chicken.  And with good reason.  The skiing is simply phenomenal all over the area.  I got a late start, so I didn't get the opportunity to ski everything, but that was the only disappointing thing about the outing.

Conditions report: There are a few spots of crusty snow developing after a couple warm days, but they are few and far between.  And nothing really scary yet.  Overall I'd have to rate conditions as Very Good to Superb.

Grooming Update:  Andy got up there yesterday with the newly resuscitated bearcat and freshened up some things. He groomed the road to the top - yeah!  Additionally he set classic track to the top and put in classic on Hamlin.  There may be a classic track on Rush as well, but I wouldn't swear to it since I didn't get there yesterday. (I saw classic track going up Rush from the bottom, but not sure if it goes to the top).

Bottom line:  whether you skate or kick and glide or shuffle or snowshoe or whatever (!) the ski area is in great shape.  Thank you groomers.  Thank you, thank you.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday Good News x2

I've got good news, and I've got more good news.
Brad groomed again yesterday; Monday.  Yes!
The other good news is that Hank, Brad and a third party (unknown to your blooger) rescued the yellow machine yesterday, so it no longer presents a potential hazard on Rush Creek trail.
Oh yeah, and the blue machine is running again - thanks to Hank!  Wow, the chicken's cup runneth over!  (The exclamation point key is getting a real workout today!!! )

I hope to get up there just about now and check into conditions for myself, and should be able to provide more details later.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Of Chickens and Snow Bikes

Greetings winter lovers:
This entry is an attempt to correct an earlier entry regarding the use of Snow Bikes at the Chicken Creek Cross Country Ski Area on the groomed trails.
The earlier entry stated the bikes were not allowed.  Since then I have received a clarification from the Forest Service, and I will mostly just cut and paste here so I don't change the meaning.  This is from an email received today from Chris Bouton of the Dolores Ranger District.  Here goes...

"Snow bike use is not prohibited at the Chicken Creek Ski area.   We would like to encourage bike users to utilize other groomed routes in the area such as the West Mancos road or the Echo Basin road and are open to discussing the issue more.

"If anyone would like to talk about the bike issue and how best to approach it, please feel free to give me a ring.  One idea that I have heard tossed around from a few people is encouraging bikers to stay on the dog loops. Thanks again for all of your help and feel free to call me if anyone would like to discuss this more."

Chris can be reached at 970-882-6831.

So that is the official position.  I would like to add a few unofficial thoughts into the mix as well:
This is a new issue for us and we're trying to get our minds around it.  Common sense probably ought to enter into the equation as some point.  If the bikes are doing disproportionate damage to the track there will most likely be a backlash.  When the trails are super firm, as they are today, there is really not much of an issue.  When things warm up and the snow gets slushy, it will be a different story.  Trail courtesy (safety) and respect for the trail conditions may go a long way in making this work out for snow bikes in the long run.  We have very limited manpower (and machine power at present) with which to groom the trails.  Snow biking looks fun, and I bet it is.  So I'm asking all parties to exercise courtesy and common sense when exercising their bodies out there on the trails.

Feel free to share your thoughts with comments here on the blog as we enter uncharted territory.  See you on the trail...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Finch Preens Poultry

Brad was out yesterday - New Years Day - grooming down the feathers at the Chicken.  We skied it today and conditions were fabulous.  Cold, cold, fabulous.
No new terrain open since we're still teetering at one functional grooming machine.  The one machine is DOA, and another is going to get looked at by an engine Dr. sometime over the weekend.  The break in snowfall comes at a fortuitous time, and the chilly weather is keeping the snow intact.  Yes!

Brad groomed everything, Bauers, Rush, Hamlin and the road.  There is fresh classic track as well.  Very cool days and nights in the forecast so with any luck we'll keep this little snow we have on the ground for the foreseeable future.

On a scale of 1-10 I'd have to rate it about 9.  Go get you some...