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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Progress Despite Obstacles

We now have some upper terrain opened up for skating.  The Rush Creek Loop and the Chicken Creek Road (CR 41) are groomed up to the turnaround, for fabulous views of the La Platas.  David B and Peter B (no relation) toiled mightily this morning to get that done, after fixing a cooling system leak on one of the machines.  We are still without our most powerful machine due to delays at the repair shop, so we don't have the firepower we really need to get work done as quickly as we could.  Basically, we are limping along at half speed.  More work will be done tomorrow, and I will report on it when I get the report from the groomers.

A gentle reminder that post-holing down the middle of the track is a severe breach of ski area etiquette.  This would be approximately akin to me coming into your house with dog turds all over my feet and walking on your freshly shampooed carpet.  Yes, the track will get skied on and tracked out.  And yes, eventually your carpet will get dirty again.  If this seems too severe, please keep in mind the labor and expense that goes into grooming the area.  This is a ski area in the winter.  Please hike elsewhere in the winter.  Come back and hike in the spring, summer and fall.  It is inconsiderate of the time and effort put in by our volunteer groomers to trash the track by walking on it.  I won't even get into the piles of dog poop littering the trails lately. OK, maybe I will.  If you own a dog, grab a spatula at the trail head and fling the poo off the trail into the woods.  This does not seem like too much to ask.

Between machine repairs, grooming, and wrangling with the repair shop we logged 9.7 volunteer hours today.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Boiled, Fried, and Baked But Well Groomed

The Upper Bauer Loop got some attention today, with a fresh groom and some classic track.  With the very warm days and cold nights the skiing was scary fast and icy early this morning, and it's reasonable to expect that will continue for the foreseeable future unless we get some snow and/or cloud cover.  Ah, the blessing/curse of the sunny Southwest.

Mechanical difficulties kept us from the upper terrain today, but with a lot of luck they will see some action tomorrow.  Cross your drumsticks.

New Groomer Michael G was a natural today, despite this being his first time on a snowmobile.  A warm welcome to new blood!  Between Peter B and Michael and our treasurer Joan B we logged a total of 10.9 volunteer hours today.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Church of the fried chicken

Many people worshiped the Chicken today, as well as about 752 dogs, the biggest of which could have sported a saddle.  Lots of smiling faces, and for good reason.  The snow was great, the sun was shining, and the track was in good shape.  Peter B and new groomer John Palmer worked like dogs to tame the snow before most folk arrived.

As of this writing, the Bauer Loops are well groomed; the Rush Creek Loop and the road up to the turnaround are well-packed but remain ungroomed.  With any luck at all we will begin to groom those trails as early as tomorrow (Monday) afternoon.  Stay tuned!

John P - hereafter referred to as JP -  is the rising star of the groomer set.  For one thing he really knows how to use a shovel for a variety of purposes.  For another thing, he's under 50 and has all his teeth.  This puts him head and shoulders above the rest of the crew.  Now if we can talk him into quitting his day job, we'll really have something going on here.

Between the grooming, the blogging, the collecting of the donations (thanks, people!) and administrative duties volunteers logged 13.25 hours today.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Poultry Improvement Project

Greetings skiers.  Tomorrow (Sunday) morning we are planning to attempt to smooth out the chicken's feathers and get things in better shape all around.  We are planning to groom out the Bauer Loops first thing in the morning.  So if you are planning to ski the lower loops tomorrow you might be happier if you let us get a good head start on things and wait until about 11am or so to begin your ski.  Otherwise you will be dodging snowmobiles for a bit.  No big deal, just a heads up.  If you are out early and you hear a machine coming, please move all the way off the track so the groomer can go where he needs to.  Thanks.

We will be moving to the upper loop (Rush) late morning.  As you may have noticed, there is plenty of work to be done up there before skating becomes a possibility.  That work commences tomorrow and will undoubtedly take multiple days; especially since our most powerful machine is currently out of commission.  We'll get 'er done as soon as possible.

Nobody did a darn thing today.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

All out of Chicken Puns, but here's the map again

Too many entries lately, so no punny titles today; sorry.

Anyway, you may be delighted to know the Bauer Loops got an actual "groom" today with the Ginzu.  So, the track will be superb in the morning.  Mechanical difficulties prevented us from grooming the higher trails, though they did get machine packed today and ought to be just great for classic skiers.

People, we need help.  We need financial help (the donation box) and we need physical help with the grooming and maintenance. This system has stretched us to the snapping point.  Call me at 970 area code, 533.1605.  Leave me a message and I'll call you back.  Especially if you have some availability during the week, and most especially if you are at least somewhat mechanically inclined, though that's not an absolute requirement.

Anyway, the guys (John G and Peter R) put in a total of 12.75 hours today.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Don't You Just Love Chicken?

I'll cut right to the chase:  The area will be seeing a lot of action tomorrow (Wednesday), so if you are out skiing and you hear a snowmobile coming it's a good idea to get all the way off the track.  We are anticipating machine packing everything and grooming what we can get to.  Not sure exactly what that translates to yet, BUT of course stay tuned and I will update y'all as soon as I know more.
There's that new map again!

The skiing was sublime today, partly because I got the wax right, but mostly because the snow was pure, soft, and deep.  It dumped snow the whole time I was up there today (Tuesday).

3.75 volunteer hours incurred today in shoveling, maintenance, fetching fuel, PR and marketing.

Monday, January 23, 2017

And the Chicken Just Laughs

But not at you, of course.

Oh man.  This storm system is giving us a real run for our money. It is taxing our resources to the hilt; human and mechanical.  Personally, I'm about totally whupped. Today David B and Peter B got after it once again, simply in order to try to keep from getting completely buried.

All Bauer Loops were packed and rolled today, and the Rush Creek Loop and the road up to the turnaround both got machine packed.  Hamlin is still a remote dream, a snowy wilderness.  The blog will keep you posted, but suffice to say, you probably want your kick and glide skis (as opposed to skate gear) for the next few days.  Some brave souls have made attempts at skating recently, but did not get very far.

We have some issues which may preclude grooming tomorrow, but not sure yet.  Keep an eye on the blog for the latest.  Our intrepid groomers logged 11.75 hours today.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Feathers Fluffy and White / New Map

Major snow dump at the ski area last night and well into today.  There is so much new fluffy snow that is was all we could do today to get the major trails machine packed.  So as of this writing, the Bauer Loop is packed, and the entire Upper Bauer Loop has been groomed (rolled).  The Rush Creek Loop has been machine packed, as has the road up to the turnaround.  Hamlin Loop has not yet been touched.

There is easily two feet of fresh, light snow at the turnaround.  It is going to take days to get this storm packed and rolled, so please be patient with us as we work to get it reigned in. It will likely be days before we can set any classic track as well.

Kevin K and Peter B spent 9.75 hours working to tame the wild and crazy chicken today.

Quick Update

In case you haven't looked out a window, we seem to be in the middle of a major winter storm event.  John and Phil groomed yesterday afternoon, and Peter B and Kevin are headed up there this morning (Saturday) to try to stay on top of the new snow.  The best we can probably hope for is to do some machine packing and maybe a couple rounds with the roller.  Expect soft snow, not necessarily well-groomed.

Please do not walk on the soft snow. Please.

John and Phil put in a total of 8 volunteer man-hours.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Pre-Storm Prognostications

 The Map Again

That poor bird was all covered in ice today, so Peter B fired up the groomer contraption and made the Bauer Loops all sweet and pretty.  So if you're lucky enough to have Fridays off you might take your skis to the area tomorrow and glide on some lovely track.  Thought you might want to know.

Also, there is a nice weather system moving in beginning tonight and continuing through the weekend (at least).  We will make every effort to keep the snow groomed over the storm's duration, but manpower is looking to be an issue.  We'll do the best we can.

Today 5.5 volunteer hours were spent repairing a grooming device, grooming the lower loops, fetching fuel, and administrative duties.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

In Fine Feather

The Chicken is looking good!  The Bauer Loops got touched up today as a result of some rescue work we did today, so bonus for all you skiers.  The track is looking quite good, although the snow is getting thin in the usual trouble spots.  The Rush Loop is looking pretty good but the road to the turnaround and the Hamlin Loop both need some attention before they'll be very good for skating.  We hope to accomplish that grooming prior to the upcoming weekend, possibly on Friday.  Stay tuned to the blog for updates.

A total of 11 volunteer hours were logged today in getting a stranded machine off the track and grooming afterward to clean up the track.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Finally; Got Groom.

It's true.  The Bauer Loops, as well as the Rush Creek Loop have been groomed.  Skiing ought to be noticeably improved as hikers had really pocked out the trail.  Mechanical difficulty kept us from getting more grooming done (watch out for the red snowmobile in the middle of the trail at the north end of the Upper Bauer Loop).  I'll keep you all posted on future grooming efforts.  Our next big effort will be to remove the stranded machine asap.

A total of 10 volunteer hours were logged today.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Tears of the Chicken

Sorry, but we had to pull the plug on grooming activities this morning.  We cannot groom water, in the liquid state that is.  We will keep a watchful, hopeful eye on the sky and the weather sites and will advise you all through this blog when more favorable grooming conditions present themselves. Until then...

Friday, January 13, 2017

Kiss the Chicken (on the lips. Yuck)

Yes, folks - it looks like another big Pacific Hot Wet Kiss headed straight for us.  The forecast calls for at least as much rain as snow over the next few days.  So.  Let's just see how it plays out. If the temperatures are too warm, we will not groom, and right now the weather service is calling for an overnight low right at the freezing point.
The current plan is for grooming to commence tomorrow (Saturday) morning about 9am.  If you are out skiing and you hear the groomers coming, please move all the way off the track so we may groom it in its entirety.  When the snow is soft it can be very difficult to steer the machines effectively so a clear path is a big help to us.  Thanks in advance.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Chicken Goes Flatline

Break out the paddles; red alert.  The rain is not helping at the ski area.  We had to abort an attempt at grooming when we realized the snow was the consistency of a two foot deep bed of ball bearings.  So the outermost ring of the Bauer Loops has been groomed, as well as the Rush Loop.  It was on the Rush Loop the full weight of the folly in which we were engaged sunk in.  I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say we beat a hasty retreat for the exit.

We will most likely sit back a bit and assess the impact of the incoming weather system - which looks to be warm and wet. Very.  Unless things cool off and firm up, grooming will take a brief siesta, unless otherwise notified via this highly questionable disseminator of information.

Peter and Phil put in 4 hours grooming (read: wrestling large, heavy hunks of steel and aluminum with sharp teeth, all while smiling and waving) before pulling the plug on the whole concept.  Plus an hours worth of repair work yesterday to bring us up to a total of 5 volunteer hours for this entry. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Fresh Groomage Friday

Good news, chicken lovers:  All trails currently open at the ski area were groomed today in anticipation of a busy weekend.  So get out there and enjoy all the hard work put in by Allen F and John G.

 That Map Again

Also, in case you forget to bring money to put in to the donation box, there are envelopes in the top section of the box which may simply be dropped in the box at your next visit (stuffed with hundred dollar bills, ha) or at the post office, as they are conveniently pre-addressed.  Someone suggested including a way to do this on the blog, and we can look into that.  It is not likely to happen this week or next, so please work with us on this and just pick up an envelope next time you ski.

Also, the blog is the sole source of information for Chicken Creek.  If you have comments, please feel free to leave them in the "comment" section.  My personal phone number is not intended as a "condition update hotline" unless you happen to be my mother (in which case I will gladly return the call.  Otherwise those calls get deleted. Sorry, but life is too short).  If you see no update on the blog, it means no grooming has happened, OR I haven't gotten to it yet.  Check back in the evening.  I do my best to keep it as up-to-date as possible.

Our fearless groomers logged 13 hours today spiffing things up at the area; and fetching fuel for the machines.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

This Chicken's Organic

And Delicious!

 Latest Map, again

Peter B and Peter R spent several hours grooming today, including the setting of the much-anticipated CLASSIC TRACK.  At this time the following trails are groomed; Bauer Loops upper and lower, Rush Creek, the Chicken Creek Road up to the turnaround, and the Hamlin Loop.  The Turkey Creek road has been machine packed, but we need more snow before we can commence grooming in there.  The next couple days look pretty promising for more snow, so with any luck at all we'll get enough to begin leveling  Turkey as well.

It is so lovely up there now with the trees all loaded with snow and fresh corduroy everywhere.  I suggest you help yourself to a big ol' dish of it as soon as you can.  The picture below shows the meadow on Rush Creek's west side before any grooming happened.  I love that spot so much I thought I'd share a picture with the oak all covered in snow.
It looks even better now!

The parking lot has been full, but the donation box is really wanting for some company.  Please, if you haven't yet, give it some love.

Between fixing a busted up Ginzu Groomer, doing all the grooming and machine maintenance, and the writing of this here blog, 10.5 volunteer hours were spent today making Nordic Skiers happy.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Succulent New Year's Chicken

The new snow we received in the last 36 hours has gone a long way to improving the situation at the ski area.  We now have full coverage everywhere on all trails.

Even better than that, Tom R and Peter B groomed all the open runs first thing this morning!  So the skiing today and into tomorrow ought to be fabulous.  We will do our level best to keep the snow groomed.  The parking lot was full when I left about noon today.  Nice to see the crowds enjoying the snow.

Good news for those on snowshoes and hikers:  An enterprising young man has established a packed out hiking trail which begins at the far end of the parking lot, toward the north side (closer to the pond).  Hikers and snowshoers are encouraged to take advantage of this new amenity (giving the groomed track a break).  He claims it goes for about two miles, which ought to be perfect for those looking to take a nice stroll.  Thank you, Michael!

Once again, here's the updated map:
Newest Map
Please keep in mind Hamlin Loop has not yet been groomed.  We are aiming for Tuesday.

Volunteer hours for the day amount to 6.75 hours, grooming, blogging, admin.