Mel's Ski Reports (Mel's SLOG)

Mel's skate time trials

Ever since I did my first BMT, I recognized that the weakest part of my race was the section between Baker Creek and the finish line. Having lived at 9000 feet and trained at that altitude for more than a decade I don't regard the hills to be a problem. Long ago I learned how to do the uphills at altitude without blowing up. But, the slight downhill grade presented by the last 15 km of the Boulder is a nut I couldn't crack. So, when we moved up here in 2010, I started doing a series of downhill time trials to try to improve on this deficiency. The graph at the left shows the results for the past 10 ski seasons. The plot shows my pace in min/km for the TT versus year. I have binned the data by year and taken an average. The error bars reflect the scatter in the data. An increase in pace (not good) means a slower ski. Recall that elite racers will do these in 1-2 min/km. I have played around with conditions and, clearly, colder days are slower than warmer days. However, over the season these tend to average out. I generally start my TTs in December and end them in late March. That means the average date is around Feb 1, about the time of the BMT. I have not tried to sort the data; the errors include all the variations (temp, choice of wax, exact nature of the course, how I am feeling etc etc). The line fitted to the data is a least squares fit of a linear change of pace and corresponds to a change from 2010 to 2022 of about 0.28% per year. That is, between ages 69 and 79 my speed slowed by about a third of a percent per year or 2.8% in a decade. This is not yet complete for the current season; I'll update it as I do more TT. As reported below, I still feel dissatisfied with winding terrain. I just cannot find a groove and lose time on corners where I should be accelerating. Overall, age will be expected to cause an increase in the pace but I feel I still have some technical issues to master that may somewhat offset that decline. This is a way of keeping score.

2021 Mar 7 Sunday:  Back at it again today with a hard skate at Q (our 55th ski day since Jan 1, all at Q). Put in at 10:30 when the conditions were already a bit soft. Could have started a half hour earlier with no problem. First lap was a hard effort ski (at AT pace) out toward the far end of the trail system. Got 8.5 km in 41:41 for a 4:54 min/km pace. There is a net gain of about 50 m elevation and about 130 m of total climbing. Included the entire Mutt Loop, the Back Canyon loop (the switchbacks by the road up to the pond) and the outer section beyond the pond. I was pretty well shot at the end but, thanks to some social interaction (correctly distanced, of course) I recovered in about half an hour. After that we did hills. I got a total of 23 km (averaging 6 min/km moving pace) and a total of 280 m of climbing. Grace got about a km more and about 315 m of climbing. I'm gonna pay for this ski today!

Not crowded. I guess it's just too nice for people to be out. Trails still in great shape and we looked at most of the system. Certainly will make it through the end of this coming week but maybe not to the end of the month as Eric R thinks. We only saw Peter; and Anne & Jack. Almost no one at parking area. I thought skiers lived here but I must have been mistaken. We skied in some slush but nothing grabby.

2021 Mar 6 Saturday:  Both of us very tired. Long week. Day off today.
2021 Mar 5 Friday:  New plan, new plan! We aren't going to do the SV race after all. It's just too much fun skiing right now to waste time tapering. So, we didn't today. We were out for 140 min and got 21 km. Grace did a couple of hills at the back and I did another time trial. My 3 km all-out pace was the fastest I've done all year: 3:29 min/km. Now that was fun. We skated, of course.

Not crowded today: saw Lulu; and Randy.

Trails are showing some signs of meltout. The north bluff on the hill above the arena has a few muddy spots, according to Blaine and Eric. We saw a big retreat in the canyon above the doggie loop, on the steep uphill. I doubt we'll get through another week there. There were also some spots where the classic tracks turned up dirt on the Canis Majoris part of the Mutt Loop. Personally, I think it's going to start to look nasty by mid month in much of the trail system. On the outermost loop, however, everything is still very clean.

2021 Mar 4 Thursday:  Second day of taper. I skied 70 min and 12 km; Grace got 18 km and 1¾ hours. Both on cruise control. Very hard not to let it out in a big way because the trails were rocket fast. Back on our red wax skis and they really wanted to go. My 12 km pace at very low effort was substantially faster than my last Billy Goat Loppet at the same distance. Skate platform was a bit icy at 10 am when we put in but not scary dangerous. My guess is that SV Nordic conditions will be similar.

Saw Ralph; Don & Lisa; Gary; Eric; and Kathy. I talked to Eric a bit after my ski and he is very optimistic about how much longer we will ski at Q. His guess is at least through the end of March. I'm probably not that optimistic but I hope he is right.

2021 Mar 3 Wednesday:  First day of taper for the BIG race at SV Nordic on 3/13. Nothing hard and only 80 min. We were both on skates and got 11 km. Today was my last day for the season on my Toko HF Blue + Jet Stream skis. It's getting warm enough to switch to the red wax BUT the skis today were probably the fastest they have been all season. It was hard not to work it while I was out. I got a max pace of 3 min/km with no downhills on the trails I skied. I think I got about 250 km on the one waxing dating back to Mar 2020. Now, they are back in the storage bag for next season.

Spent a lot of time talking today. Saw June; Lindy; Katharine; Gary; and Blaine. I felt pretty good.

2021 Mar 2 Tuesday:  I was right: I WAS trashed today. Pretty low quality ski all in all. Nevertheless, I did another 2¼ km TT just to prove I have a low IQ. I felt pretty listless all day. Only got 13 km in 1:55 again. Grace was more energetic and got 19 km with more hills. I'm taking the upcoming 5 km race at SV Nordic seriously and am starting to taper for it. Tomorrow I plan to do an hour or less with a lot of socializing (even if there is no one out there).

Saw Robin; Don & Lisa; Gary; Blaine; Kathy; and Ted.

2021 Mar 1 Monday:  Another very hard-effort day today, on skates. Both of us did a little uphill TT starting at the end of the Loop de Mutt, winding out along the road (Back Canyon Loop), up and over the big hill at the pond and back to the 5-way intersection. That's about 4.5 km, has 82 m of climbing and a net gain of about 30 m elevation. Definitely tougher than the upcoming SV Nordic 5 km course, so it was a good test. My pace was almost exactly what it has been for the Billy Goat Loppet (same course at SV Nordic) over the last two years with certainly more climbing today. I'm hoping that means that I can improve my pace in the upcoming race. I got 15 km and Grace got 16.5 km in 115 min. Two hard days in a row probably mean I'll be trashed for the next few. Conditions still really, really good with no loss of snow evident anywhere we skied. With the upcoming warming trend this may change by the end of the week. This was day 50 of skiing since Jan 1, all at Q. Can't complain about that.

Saw Robin when we pulled in. Grace talked to Carmen. Possibly some acquaintances in the parking lot when we got back but hard to tell. They were too far away.

2021 Feb 28 Sunday:  Classic skis for me (waxables) and skates for Grace. I felt pretty good and the tracks were shallow but packed powder, not icy in spots like yesterday. I started out at a good but controlled pace and steadily picked up my speed as the ski went on. I stopped briefly at the beginning for a chat but, otherwise, non-stop the whole way. All together I got 19 km in 2¾ hours. Along the way, I did two important segments: a 15 km hard effort (NOT maximum effort) ski with the last 5 km at full race pace. The 15 km ski was 1:46 in duration (about 7 min/km pace) with an elevation gain of about 205 m. The last 5 km started at the top of the small loop above the pond, down and around the far end and back along the switchbacks by the road. The time was 30:14 for a pace of 6:03 min/km. For me that's pretty good: my last classic 5 km TT was in Dec 2015, about 5 years ago, and it was 30:33 for almost the same pace. But, the switchbacks do not buffalo me on classic skis the same way they do on skates. Given that I'm 5 years older I'm pretty happy with the result.

Grace was working on approach and execution of the big hills above the pond and she was not very satisfied with today's results. She wound up with 23 km at the end.

Lot's of skiquaintances: Jon, Carol, Steve & Lulu; Andy & Katherine; Randy; Don & Ken (orthopod from Pocatello); CMonte; Ed; Tullio; and Ted.

2021 Feb 27 Saturday:  Another recovery day for me at Q. After the day off I felt pretty good but I'm expecting to do some more hard maximum-effort skis this week and I wanted to ease back into it. I was on skins and Grace used waxables. She was looking at setting up a course to practice for the upcoming race at SV Nordic on March 13 (our second vax dose day - should be a good mix!). She is planning to race the 12 km and I'll do the 5 km. Anyhow, we went our separate ways and both took it slow. She got 20 km and I got 17 km in 155 min. I had 205 m of climbing and an average moving pace of 8:27 min/km. My fastest pace was about 3 min/km. With the small amount of new snow the tracks were better today but still not back to the good old days. It's forecast to be colder tonight and, if it is, I'll use my waxables once more before I pack them up for the summer. The skins worked fine and should work for the remainder of the season. The announcement for the SV race is in the pic to the right.

It's supposed to begin warming up in a few days. At that point, I'll switch to my skates and prep for the SV race. Probably will be on my red-waxed skis and will put the cold ones up for the season.

Skiquaintances: Marilyn & Tullio; Ralph (maybe); Jim; Kathy & Steve; and Ryan.

2021 Feb 26 Friday:  R & R today. Hoping for more snow. I'm still feeling listless from my two days in a row of maximum effort skiing (20 min one day and 10 min the next). Harder to recover as I get older. Need more naps and more beer!
2021 Feb 25 Thursday:  Another recovery day for me on classic skis. Grace felt better and skated. The tracks were still pretty shallow but skiable. Cloudy day and light was flat. We were out for 140 min; I got 16 km and Grace got 23 km. Overall, the snow is still holding up very well but I hope we get a bit more snow out of the little storm coming through tonight and tomorrow. An inch or two would do wonders for the classic tracks.

Another not very crowded day today. We saw Ralph; Jim O; Jim M; Marilyn & Tullio; and Lulu.

2021 Feb 24 Wednesday:  Supposed to be a recovery classic day at Q. For me it felt like I was in a perpetual food-bonk state all day. We were joined by CMonte. She and Grace skied together and I just kind of wandered around. We were out for 125 min and only got 14 km. Tracks were not very good today, shallow and pretty hard. Our usual kick wax worked OK but we may switch back to skating unless we get more snow. Not much point in fighting the conditions any more. The skate platform still looks great.

Pretty empty today. Saw ej (giving her last VAMPS session for the year); and Ted.

2021 Feb 23 Tuesday:  Skated again today at Q. I switched to my red-waxed skis but I don't think it would have mattered. The skate platform was crusty the whole time we were out, 130 min. We started about 10 and skied directly out to the pond. I was still dealing with fatigue from yesterday and it was a struggle at first. I went EZ to the far east end and then back to the pond. From there an EZ ski up to the top of the big loop. Then I started a time trial down the big hill and on out to the switchbacks by the road. I stopped the clock at 2.5 km, about 2 km shorter than yesterday. Today's course had a net loss of 51 m and 8 m of climbing. My pace was 3:47/km, about 6 sec/km faster than yesterday. So coming down the big hill gives you some advantage but not a lot. Grace started at the same high point and took a hard left at the intersection and back on the rollers close to the hills. For about 2 km, her pace was about 3:24/km. I still have troubles getting a groove on the switchbacks and I might try her route for comparison. We got 18 km today. I'm not as tired today as yesterday but will probably switch back to classic tomorrow if temps allow it.

Skiquaintances: ej; Jim O (plus 3 friends from up north); Randy; Tullio & Marilyn; Jim S; Anne & Jack; Ralph (doing WY prep intervals); Andy; and Nello.

BTW, I'm really impressed with Randy. For the last few days he has just skied back and forth along the creek practicing some tips that Ted A gave him for classic skiing. In my 60 years of coaching in two different sports, I have seen very little of that type of commitment. In fact, it's what drove me away from swim coaching, another very technical sport. All my swimmers wanted was a hard workout so they could justify having some chips and a Twinkie. They were completely unwilling to slow down and practice (over and over and over) what they needed to do to technically improve. There really aren't that many adult athletes who are willing to do that. Any warm body can concoct a tiring workout but not everyone can coach technique. Most adult athletes don't have the patience. Bravo Randy!

2021 Feb 22 Monday:  Switched to skate today at Q. Both still using cold-wax skis. We both did a time trial today - about 5 km for me and 10 km for Grace. My pace was about 3:53/km and hers was around 4:35/km. It took a lot out of us to do these but we hadn't done any for quite a while. The skate platform is very flat and stable and we both felt that the more technical parts, where the trails twist and turn, were better for us today than previously. Grace got 19 km and I got 15 km by the time we finished up two hours. I got out my red-waxed skis and may try them tomorrow. Probably time to wax up the others with HF Blue + Jet Stream and put them away for the summer. If I feel OK I may do another, shorter TT tomorrow.

As a followup, my ski yesterday (actually 4.5 km) had 15 m of climbing on the route and a net elevation loss of 70 m from the far end of the trail back to the doggie loop.

A few skiquaintances: Marilyn & Tullio; Blaine (we skied together for a while); CRank; Randy & Marty; Gary; and Brian. Parking lot was pretty full when we quit at around 12:30 but, again, hardly anyone on the trails we skied.

2021 Feb 21 Sunday:  Another boring old exquisite classic ski today at Q. We skied 19 km in 155 min and gained about 220 m of elevation. Both of us on our recent gold standard kick wax combo and experienced no kick out or sticky issues all day. Tracks were great everywhere. This was the third day and 55 km of skiing on one liquid wax application. I re-applied tonight but they could have gone another ski I think. We are both sold on the product.

They opened the gates again today and a whole bunch of tourists showed up: June & Ralph; Jon, Carol R, Steve & Lulu; Gary; Brian; Lindy; Randy; Leslie; Carol H; and Karen B. Not really that crowded - just seemed like we knew everyone we met.

No apparent effects from yesterday's vax.

2021 Feb 20 Saturday:  Day off today. Went to Ketchup to get shot. Fortunately it was only a flesh wound (apologies to Monty Python and the Holy Grail). While we were there we saw Karl and Diana W which made our whole year, given the serious issues Karl has faced recently. What a pleasant encounter. Came back and opened an exquisite bottle of wine for dinner.

Second dose scheduled for March 13.

2021 Feb 19 Friday:  Skate day today at Quigley. Out on my HF Blue + Jet Stream again. I now have over 200 km on this pair of skis and the last time I waxed was March 2020 in prep for the Rendezvous. Very good mileage. We were pretty tired but hung in for 130 min and 18 km for me and 20 km for Grace. Day off tomorrow.

Trails still in great shape. One+ inches of new snow really dressed things up. Originally I was hoping that we'd make it at Q until March 1. Now, I'm beginning to think it will go longer.

My word we saw a bunch of people we know: ej; Marilyn, Tullio & Roger; Sam; Mark & Suzy; Lisa & Don; and Andy. Other than that not so many skiers again. BTW, Mark said that he did not only the 50 km Gatineau on skates but also the 55 km Gatineau Classic. All at Quigley.

2021 Feb 18 Thursday:  A shortish day today at Q because we wanted to try to get a vax appointment at Valley Apothecary. Unlike the big bucks CEO of St Luke's who was busy polishing the brass rails on his expensive yacht, the two Valley shopkeepers updated their website last night at 9 pm because they actually care about their customer base. They posted a note saying that they were waiting for confirmation on this week's vax supply and hoped to open registration in the afternoon today. So, that's actual information that the user might helpful. Anyhow, we wanted to get home a bit after noon to try to get a slot. And, lo and behold, we got two spaces 3 minutes apart for this coming Saturday. Holy smokes that was easy once you had some information. But, in all honesty, I hope the brass railings really came to a good shine. After all, that's what CEOs are trained for: NOT to serve their customers.

So, classic again with the same kick wax combo. Grace & I went our separate ways for 125 min and I got 16 km (my average ski for the calendar year). She got 1 km more. My ski bases were a little white after 36 km of skiing. I again rubbed them with a natural cork and polish pad. Good for another ski at least.

We did encounter each other once past the pond. She was coming west and I was still headed east. We were about ½ km apart when a pretty large furry critter raced across the trail between us. There are plenty of coyotes in the canyon but this looked bigger and darker to me. I wondered if it might have been a wolf but I don't know if any have been seen in Quigley. We both saw it once but not again.

Saw very few skiquaintances: Ted A; John F; and Jim K. There were quite a few cars in the lot when we got there at 10:15 but a lot of them belonged to a group of skiers from Utah who were doing classic drills on the little canyon above the doggie loop. Mostly it looked like approaches to the uphill from the flats and then back downhill into a strong double pole along the flats for about 100 m.

2021 Feb 17 Wednesday:  I'm addicted to Quigley and I'm thinking of starting a self-help group of Quigley skiers. Maybe I'll call it QAnon. We could have confessional meetings once a week to help with our little problem. You know: 'hi, I'm Mel and when I don't ski at Quigley I get real bad shakes.' It'd be fun to sit around and make up fantastic stories for gullible people to swallow. Might just work.

Addictions aside, another day, another 20 km classic ski at Q (Grace actually got 25 km - her first ski that long this season). I skied for about 90 min with Jim K, trying to help him out a bit on waxing phobia. I think he had a good session. After we parted company I continued on for another 90 min, running into Grace now and again until we finished. Today we both had Rode RL cold liquid wax on tips and tails. I had a small amount of white on the bases which disappeared when I rubbed them with a natural cork and followed with a polish pad. Grace said hers were somewhat worse. Still look good for another big ski.

We saw ej; Gary; Tullio; Randy; Carmen & Ed; Brian; Frank & Sue; Robin; Liz; and Andy. Not very many skiers anymore. Jim said that he and Susan were at PC a couple of days ago with the same small numbers. Hard to understand.

Had a nice conversation with Brian about Shiffren. He used to work for USA Ski and Snowboard and still follows the Alpine section. He said he almost never Alpine skis anymore (although he does back country). I see him at Q almost daily.

2021 Feb 16 Tuesday:  An outstanding classic ski day today at Q. Started around 10:30 with only ej and very few others around. This was our second ski on our Rode RL liquid wax application after skiing 20 km two days ago. We had the usual application of kick wax. We skied the South Canyon Loop above the dog trails on the way out, then the entire doggie loop and on out the the big intersection. Grace went the hilly route and I did the switchbacks out by the road. We met up again on the little loop above the pond and skied out to the end and back. Grace made her second trip over the big loop and I repeated the little loop. Then, back via the switchbacks by the road and home. Another 20 km day for me and 260 m of elevation gain in 2¾ hours. Grace did a bit more in the same time. We both felt that our skis were not quite as slippery when we got back as they were two days ago or when we started earlier today. When we got back to the car we looked at the bases and they were a bit gray but not really as bad as they often are after a lot of skiing on hot wax. So, our feeling is that 40 km was a piece of cake for the liquid wax. We are going to try the Rode cold flavor tomorrow since it's supposed to get to lower temps tonight. By the way, the tracks were really excellent today.

Saw several skiquaintances today: ej; Mark D; Marilyn & Tullio C; Lindy C; Kate H; Lisa & Don B; and Brian. If fact, we saw Mark several times on the trail. Turns out that he was doing his virtual Gatineau 50 km today. That amounts to a lot of round trips at Q. But, in years past, people who skied the Gold Rush went round and round on a little course.

2021 Feb 15 Monday:  Ski in the snow today at Q. I've gotten so spoiled that I'd probably rather watch reruns of Championship Bowling than ski in the snow. Early season OK, late season not OK. It was barely better than, well, whatever. Anyhow, I used my skins and Grace skated. Out for 2 hours and I got 12 km. Grace got 17 km. Looks more promising for tomorrow.

We saw Jim O and Randy F. Not very crowded. Hope Championship Bowling drew a good audience.

2021 Feb 14 Sunday:  I guess the day off worked because we got in nearly 3 hours of classic skiing today at Q. I had really been showing signs of too much training but things were good by today. We were both on waxables with the usual kick wax combo (except that Grace had hers over freshly sanded/base-klistered kick zone) PLUS an application of Rode RL medium temperature liquid wax on the tips and tails. The tracks were of variable quality but good everywhere probably owing to the small amount of new snowfall mixed into the old base. Near the parking area and all through the dog loops the tracks, in places, were transformed and fairly icy. My kick was adequate but not great. On the other hand, the glide was really good. Both of us noticed that. Maybe it was the liquid wax application or maybe it was just a fast day. Beyond the dog loop the character of the snow in the tracks changed to hard packed powder and the kick was fine there. Glide was also still good. I got in 255 m of climbing and 20 km distance. Grace skied more hills and 2 km farther. At 4:30 she looked at her bases and thought they were just as good as when she left this morning. Her conclusion is that 30 km is a piece of cake and probably more than that would not be a stretch. We are starting to like the liquid wax! My research on it indicates that there are a few tricks to stretch the durability even further, using tools already in the waxing kit.

We saw three groups of deer in the hills above Quigley Road out at the far east end. There were maybe as many as 50 all together. Although we've seen evidence of deer, this was the first time this season that we've seen live animals.

Not crowded today. We saw few skiquaintances: ej (+Bowie); Gary; Jon & Carol; June & Ralph; and Randy & Marty.

2021 Feb 13 Saturday:  R&R today. Should be good to go tomorrow.
2021 Feb 12 Friday:  Last day to ski at Q before we take a rest day. We both skated on groomed trail with up to ¼ inch of new snow covering (the further east the less new snow). I had put on the Rode mid-range temperature liquid wax last night after cleaning the bases with Swix F4. I let them sit overnight and brushed them with a nylon brush this morning. So, for me, today was a wax performance test. I tried two things where I've noticed problems skating before: I did the hills above the pond and I did a very short up-tempo ski back toward the parking area. The uphill was smooth. In the past, new snow has often grabbed my skis on the uphills leading to a jerky gait. I had none of that problem today. It was not particularly fast but it was smooth. On the up-tempo section I worked about 1 km from the far east end back toward the pond. I wanted to see how they performed with a consistently hard V2. Again, the result was good. I was too tired to do a real time trial but I got enough in to see that the performance was good. Overall the snow was not that fast today (Grace was out in her normal HF/LF Toko Blue, so that is the control sample). It was a short day: 1¾ hours and 12 km for me. The total amount of climbing for me was about 160 m, 45 m of which was the two hills above the pond. Grace got 3 km more in the same amount of time. After we finished, I pulled the skis out of the car to let them dry. I'll have a look at the bases when they dry off to assess the durability. So far, so good.

UPDATE: After sitting in the garage a few hours to dry, the skis looked as good to the eye as they did this morning when I first used them. I would say that 30 km (estimates from skiers I trust) for the durability is probably right.

Really not crowded today. Saw Jim M (+mutt) at the start; and Anne J, Susan G, Jack S & Jim K (on classic skis?) and that was it.

2021 Feb 11 Thursday:  Another ski day at Q - 35 days since New Year's day. I classic skied today with my usual kick wax recipe and Grace was on skates with Toko Blue. We put in at 9:45 with only one car in the parking area. A couple of skaters had been out before us. Otherwise we got firsties everywhere. The tracks were fast again and better set than yesterday - mostly deep, sharp and well formed. I had great kick all day. I got 17 km in 2⅓ hours while Grace got 21 km. Pretty mello recovery day today.

Saw a few skiquaintances although generally not many people: Jenny & Nello B; Tullio C; Brian; Gary; Randy F & Marty; Kate H; AND Charley F! That really made my day. He is gradually becomming a QAddict like Jim O and a few others who don't really want to do the hills of the Harriman anymore. ALTHOUGH, as I have stressed in previous reports: if you want hills they are here to do. At a sane 5000 foot elevation.

Stopped by Sturtos on the way home and picked up a couple of the liquid Rode waxes. I just finished topping a pair of classic and a pair of skate skis in the basement. I'll pick whatever the weather allows tomorrow and give it a try.

2021 Feb 10 Wednesday:  Another classic day at Quigley. My overall goal today was to get 20 km. I used the same kick wax formula as yesterday: one layer of Toko Yellow covered by one layer of Swix Violet Special. I had great kick until near the end when it was pretty slippy. Grace used Violet Special over Red Special but she had to rewax in the middle. She thinks the problem may be that she needs to resand the kick zone and put on a green klister binder. The tracks were fast but not as good as yesterday. If Eric C was grooming today I have to conclude that it is just getting harder to set in a good sharp set of tracks.

I started off with a little race pace ski from the parking area out to the far end beyond the pond via all the dog loop. Total distance = 10 km; net elevation gain = 60 m; and total climbing elevation = 160 m. I started out under control and picked up the pace as I went along, continuing to improve my speed as I skied. I haven't done something like that since the Snowmaker Classic race disappeared (or, rather, became a race for kids at Lake Creek). My average pace was 7 min/km with the fastest at just a bit slower than 3 min/km. After about 4 mins to rest and refuel I skied back nonstop at a recovery pace. Owing to the downhill, the return 10 km was only a little slower than the outbound 10 km. An interesting day with really ideal conditions.

Along the way I saw ej; Ralph J; Susan G; 2 Brians; Ted A; Marilyn & Tullio; Jim M; Peggy B; and Andy A. Grace saw Randy F as well. Parking lot had been sprinkled with sand/gravel and was in MUCH better shape today. Thanks to Cindy H for coordinating that with BCRD.

2021 Feb 9 Tuesday:  Classic day today at Q. The regrooming by Eric C (I presume) is improving the state of the classic tracks day by day. Except for the classic only trail. Grace tried that today and said it wasn't worth the visit. We skied a bunch of the trail system, only leaving out the biggest hills and got 18 km in 2¼ hours. It was my longest classic day of the calendar year. Also the fastest pace. We were on hard wax skis because we had expected the temps to be pretty cold. I had one layer of Toko Yellow covered with one layer of Swix Violet Special. I had no real problems but we skied pretty flat terrain. Grace was on two layers of Swix Violet Special and had a bit more slip. It turned out to be a lot warmer than we expected.

Overall the trails are still in great shape. The biggest problem now is the freeze-thaw cycle damage in the parking area. Today was ice-rink hard and slick. I used my crampons to get from the drivers seat of the car to the back to get the skis and then out to the trails. I spoke to Cindy Hamlin at the end of the ski about the condition, which she had already noticed, and she left a text with BCRD to see if we can get some remediation. They pretty much need to be putting grit on the surface every day. Maybe we could hire one of the Scottish Gritters.

Only saw a few skiquaintances: ej at the start and end; Nello (!!) and Jenny B; Mark D; and Brian. Nello was skating with one pole. We had heard that he was sick but he seemed good today. Didn't get a chance to talk.

2021 Feb 8 Monday:  Opted to skate today at Q. Got there about 10:30 with a few cars in the parking area. I skied the doggie loops, out to the pond via the hilly route, over the little hill, out to the far end and back, over the little hill again, back toward the parking area, around the doggie loops again and home. I got in 21 km in 125 min. Grace did some of the bigger hills and got a tad fewer km in the same time. Hard, fast skate platform - probably the fastest average time all season for me. The classic tracks were noticably better today than yesterday but still not really deep and sharp. We'll probably classic again tomorrow since it's supposed to start getting cold again.

Not so many people today. Saw Ralph J; Gary; Tullio; and Randy F & Marty.

2021 Feb 7 Sunday:  Rested and ready, we put in at Q at 9:45 with a few cars there in front of us. I opted to classic on my skins and Grace picked her skates, on HF/LF Toko Blue. Off we went onto the big dog loop. I noticed that the classic tracks were pretty shallow and irregular. The snow is getting harder so that may be the problem. But, Eric C was not grooming today and that may have been the problem. If they keep to their regular groomer rotation, Eric will be back tomorrow and we'll see if the tracks are any better. I did the big dog loop, the hilly route to the pond, the little loop above the pond, out to the far end and back, the little loop again and back via the switchbacks out to Quigley Road. In 135 min I got in 15 km. Grace did a hillier route and skied farther, getting 22 km in the same time.

While we were skiing two guys were doing the virtual BMT. They were both good skiers but the one in front was really good. It was fun to watch them use the Q trail system the way it SHOULD be skied: V2, alternate V2 and hop skate corners on the flat sections then attacking the hills aggressively with V2, transitioning effortlessly into V1 to the crest, switching at the top to free skate and finally back to V2.

We also saw TWO TONS of skiers we knew. Grace thought she had never seen so many out past the pond. And, most of them were not tourists but really competent skiers. Among them was a large mob of VAMPS (Muffy Vamp, Joney Vamp, Kim Vamp, Kate Vamp, Lucy Vamp, Glo Vamp and Jan Vamp); Jim K & Susan G; Blaine S; Nathan F; Randy F; Brenda S; Jeannie L; and Eric R.

2021 Feb 6 Saturday:  Hate to miss another bluebird day with fantastic snow and no wind, but it's an R&R day for us today.
2021 Feb 5 Friday:  Oh my word, what a workout day! Out on skates again at Q, putting in at about 10. Ej was the only one we knew there. She was doing her virtual BMT which was a medley of skate and classic skis, separated by interludes. After 3 hours she allowed that she had probably done enough. Interesting approach.

After watching Kate Whitcomb a few days ago V2-ing up the big hill above the pond, we crafted the Kate Whitcomb Challenge which required a V2 from the pond to the top of the big hill. Both of us thought it might not be so easy. We headed out to the pond, more or less directly, and started the challenge in the counterclockwise direction. To our amazement, we both did it. We even have ej as a witness since she was in one of her classic segments on the same hill at the same time. After that we skied out to the far end at an EZ pace to recover and then came back. THEN, we went the other way and snagged that as well. So, if 80 year olds can do it, anyone can do it!

After some EZ skiing we headed back via the switchbacks along the road and did a time trial. My pace was the second best I've had all year. The skate platform was firm and fast everywhere.

Saw a bunch of acquaintances along the way: ej; Katharine S & Andy A (who were also doing a virtual BMT); Jim K & Karen B; Sally W, Anne J, CMonte & Susan G; Jim O; Marilyn & Tullio C. But, no Ted A. In an interesting aside, Jim O, who lives in Ketchum, now skis down here where he regards the trail system to be the best in the valley. That's been my opinion for a couple of years now. There are endless amounts of flat winding terrain where you can V2 and there are significant hills. Plus, it's almost 2000 feet lower than Prairie Creek if you want to do meaningful interval training without being hopelessly anaerobic.

We got 2¼ hours and 17/18 km Mel/Grace. One of these days we are going to have to take a rest day.

2021 Feb 4 Thursday:  Another way above average classic day at Quigley. Out on waxables again today using a couple of layers of Swix Violet Special. I had great kick all day but Grace had a few slip issues. She is pretty tired and it may all be operator failure rather than kick wax choice. Got skiing before 10:30 and finished 2¼ hours later with 17 km (me) and 18 km (Grace). Not particularly crowded today. Saw a few acquaintences: Ted A; June L & Ralph J; Gary; and Jim & Linda M. Trails are in spectacular condition, tracks outstanding.
2021 Feb 3 Wednesday:  We were planning to take today off for R&R because it looked like there was going to be a lot of snow overnight. We thought it might be a bit unconsolidated. But, dry as a bone this morning when we got up. Looks like the snow was all north of us with 2 inches or so in Kethum, Lake Creek and Galena. Pretty sharp snowfall line this time. So, we went out again on our classic skins. Noticed that Eric C had again groomed the classic only trail but I've done it plenty of times. Got to Q at 9:30 and the only car there belonged to ej. We pretty much had firsties everywhere. Skied the entire mutt loop and directly out to the pond and on to the far end. I skied the little loop above the pond both ways. Grace skied it once and the big one once. We returned via the switchbacks by the road. Got in 17 km in 155 min. Mostly an EZ ski for both of us.

Along the way we saw a woman skating who we didn't know but had seen out several times before. She is a really good skier and we were watching her V2 up the big hill above the pond. I stopped and talked to her for a while and found out that she's Matt Whitcomb's sister Kate. Matt is the current US Nordic ski team coach and we have previously encountered him in a variety of places, the latest a few years ago in Bend when he was there with the national team for spring camp. He mentioned that his sister lived in the Valley.

Others we saw were Jim K, Blaine S & Liz v; Marilyn & Tullio C; and Jim M. Jim mentioned that where he lives in Hailey there is a family of mountain lions in the neighborhood. He reckons 4 kittens and two adults. He said they were very interesting to watch but have some of the neighbors spooked.

2021 Feb 2 Tuesday:  Another swell skiing day at Quigley. Grace skated. I had trouble making up my mind and ultimately picked my skins. Everything groomed, including the classic only trail. I just couldn't resist that. Today was the best I have felt all week and it was great. Originally we were planning to take tomorrow off but if the snow doesn't come I'll probably go back out. Out for 140 min and I got 15 km. Grace snagged 20 km on what she described as a rocket-fast skate platform.

A few skiers we knew: ej; Randy F; Brian; June L & Ralph J; Lindy C; and Kathy H. Plenty of cars in the parking area when we finished but no problem finding somewhere to park when we got there at 10:30.

2021 Feb 1 Monday:  Skate day at Quigley. Warmer day predicted, so we got out a lot earlier. Arrived a little before 9:30 with only one car in the parking area - Robin P again! I tried out the Turtlewax rock skis first thing. I had been doing a little research on it's use and it goes back to around 2000 or so. Reviews were mixed with the main concern being whether or not the Ceramic (actually SiO2) would permanently fill up the pores in the polyethlene base and prevent further wax absorption. The jury is still out on that last part, but I found the skis not particularly slippy and changed back after about 20 min. My standard skis waxed with Toko HF Blue worked better. Probably will still try out some of the new liquid waxes from ski wax companies.

I was not feeling particularly zippy today (almost stayed home) so I was just out to enjoy the scenery. I stayed pretty low and flat and got in 17 km in 2¼ hours. As usual, Grace skied hillier terrain and got in 20 km in the same time.

Parking lot was busy when we got back - maybe 25 cars - but way less crowded than over the weekend. We only saw a couple of people we knew: Robin P; Carol S & Mary S; Bill; and Gary.

2021 Jan 31 Sunday:  Great way to tie up the month of skiing: 25 days on skis, 25 days at Quigley. One tank of gas this month instead of one every 4 days even to go to Lake Creek. In addition, I saved AT LEAST 30 useless hours in the car when I could be doing something other than driving north to find a spot to ski. On the negative side today, the scenery was perfect, the sky was blue, there was no wind and they groomed the classic only trail. Can't find much to like about any of that. But, in spite of those obstacles, we soldiered on and did 2½ hours of classic and got 16 km (17.5 for Grace). That gives me over 55 hours of training for the month and nearly 300 km of skiing.

Pulled into the parking area at 9:30 and there were some cars, mostly associated with ej's class. When we got back at noon the parking was overflowing again, like yesterday. We saw ej; Robin P (second time in two days, and on classic skis yet); Randy F (he gave me a sample of the Turtlewax to try out); Brian; Brenda S; Jeannie L; and Lisa B.

2021 Jan 30 Saturday:  Pretty good day to ski today, as you can see from the pix above. Almost everywhere was white with most of the brown grass covered by the last storm. Nice! New snow was much more settled today and the grooming was perfect. We opted to skate since it was pretty warm. Put in at Quigley at 9:45 and the only other cars there were members of Sloan's class, with Abby M subbing today. Pretty cold in the shade but great in the sun. Noticed a little breeze from the east when we started. We headed out to the pond by the shortest route. Grace did the big hill and I did the baby. We met up at the far east end and headed back via the switchbacks out to the road. We also did the little dog loop and the canyon above the dog trails before getting back to the car. I got 15½ km in 145 min. Grace got about a km more.

Not a big crowd when we arrived but a massive number of cars when we got back around noon. I have never seen it so crowded - over 75 cars, I estimate, with more coming all the time. Saw a bunch of people we knew: Jim K & Susan G; Blaine S & Liz v; Lindy C; Tullio C.; Nathan F; Randy F; Jim S; and Robin P. I'm thinking that we need to get out early tomorrow again.

2021 Jan 29 Friday:  I should have listened to the advice yesterday from my inner self: don't ski - snowshoe instead. But no, I had to listen to the grooming report on the hotline this morning and I got really optimistic. So, we went out on our skin skis today. Bottom line: if this were all there was to Nordic skiing, I'd find another sport. May have been slightly better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick but not much. Slow, unstable with new snow in the tracks, hard to see. Out for 95 min and got 7.5 km. The good part is that the snow is packing well and, without another big dump, should start to be good by tomorrow. Below is the storm total as of mid morning.

48-hour snowfall totals
  Location   Amount
  Sweetwater in Hailey   15 inches
  Chocolate Gulch SnoTel   25 inches
  Galena Summit SnoTel   24 inches

Saw few people but we know most of them: Ralph J & June L; Marilyn & Tullio C; Carla K; and Randy F. Had an interesting conversation with Randy this morning. He started out on classic skis and later switched to skates. He reported that he was trying out a new 'high tech' wax for his skis, a spray on. No, not Toko, not Swix, not Start but Turtlewax ceramic spray. Huh? He said he got the spray and coated the bottoms last night then let them sit over night. His first impression was that they were pretty fast. I'll check back the next time we cross paths to get a final assessment. Grace and I were planning to go to Sturtos to get some of the new spray on but maybe I'll go to O'Reilly Auto instead!

2021 Jan 28 Thursday:  Another snowy day, another R&R day. I've posted the snowfall totals since the onset of the storm, in the table below. I have not included the problematic Galena SnoTel or either the Galena Lodge or Webb Landscape snow stakes because the latter two are cleared daily. This amount of snow at Quigley should ease us into late winter unless we get some really warm spells. If tomorrow is very snowy, we probably will skip skiing again and go snowshoe instead.

  Location   Amount
  Sweetwater in Hailey   12+ inches
  Chocolate Gulch SnoTel   20 inches
  Galena Summit SnoTel   20 inches
2021 Jan 27 Wednesday:  Looks like it WAS the right decision to ski yesterday and plan to take today off. It's been snowing steadily at our house since about 10:30 this morning. Would not have wanted to ski in this. Forecast is for a lot more, so we will probably take tomorrow off as well. Meanwhile, as of mid-afternoon, the snowfall amounts are tabulated below. First snow since Jan 4 that amounted to anything.

  Location   Amount
  Sweetwater in Hailey   6 inches
  Webb Nursery snow stake in Ketchum   8 inches
  Chocolate Gulch SnoTel   ≈ 6 inches
  Galena Lodge snow stake   3+ inches
  Galena Summit SnoTel   7 inches
2021 Jan 26 Tuesday:  I needed to take the day off today but I'm trying to outsmart the weather so I skied anyway. Grace wasn't as bad off. It was single-digit cold when we woke this morning and we chose to classic again. Same kick wax combo as yesterday. I didn't do any hills today and got 14 km in 2 hours. Barely made it back to the car. Grace did some hills and got a few more km.

Not crowded again. Saw ej; Anne J; Sally W; Andy F; Blaine S; and Brian. It had better snow tomorrow because I need some time off.

2021 Jan 25 Monday:  Not such a cold day today at Q. Cold enough to classic easily, however. Arrived there at about 10:45 and ran into Eric C, one of the full-time groomers at BCRD. Got a little insight into the grooming situation as a result of our conversation. Eric says he grooms M-Tu-W at Quigley and the rest of the time at Galena. On days that he doesn't groom they put out one of their newbies to train on not very technical terrain. That accounts for why we notice differences. On top of that, Eric likes to classic ski and reset the classic-only trail today. Grace had noticed that it seemed to be reset on Mondays and that explains it. He also told us that the other groomers, aside from the full-time positions, are just part-timers and don't stay very long. So there is a constant pool of newbies. He acknowledged that these trainees sometimes do a job that leaves the skier wanting.

Anyhow, we were waxed Swix Violet Special (me) and a mix of Violet Special and Red Special (Grace). We skied the classic only trail out to the pond, up the big hill, out to the end, back to the pond, around the little hill, down to the switchbacks along the road, the big dog loop, the canyon above the dog loop and, finally, back home. Very nice ski. Out for 16 km and 2¼ hrs. Good kick until the end when it got a little slippy. Trails still in great shape. Eric C hand-shoveled a bunch of snow on the bad spot in the canyon above the dog loop. That should cover the bad rocky area. Kudos to Eric.

A lot more people we knew today: Marilyn & Tullio C; Gary; Ted A; Nathan F; Randy F; and Brian. Don't know Brian's last name but he skis at Q all the time. He also wears a US Ski Team hat. Says he worked for them for some time.

Looks like we are in for some serious snow. The models I look at predict around a foot. We'll do one more classic tomorrow on waxables and then see what happens.

2021 Jan 24 Sunday:  Man it was cold today at Quigley. We started about 10:30 on classic skis. I was waxed with Blue Extra and Grace with Violet Special (a tad warmer). Both of us had good kick all day. We were tired but skied about 15 km, including the big hill above the pond. That hill is about 35-40 m above the valley floor, depending on which way you approach it. Out for about 130 min. Trails are just in spectacular shape considering how long it has been since the last snow. Not a scrap of gravel or grass over the entire Mutt Loop. Okay, some elk have been bedding down and they leave a few calling cards.

My eyes got so cold on the way home, because of the wind, that I could barely see the tracks.

Not so crowded again today. Saw Marilyn & Tullio C; and Ashley K.

2021 Jan 23 Saturday:  Recovery skate day today at Quigley. Arrived at 10 am with about 15 cars already there. No real problem parking. Looked like Sloan's class plus Higher Ground again. Not crowded on the trails so we skied the entire Loop de Mutt, out to the far east end (staying low), back (doing the ungroomed lower loop this time) and back to the car after doing the one hill of the day above the Mutt Loop. That hill has about a 100 ft (30 m) climb. Got in 130 min and 17 km on very fast and stable snow. We both worked on balance, doing as much V2 as possible. For me, balance was the main limitation with my race pace ski yesterday: I'm just not getting what I need to go fast and ski efficiently. Trails still in really, really good shape.

Along the way we saw Brenda S; Lindy C; Jim K, Blaine S & Susan G; Gary ?; and Ed & Carmen N.

2021 Jan 22 Friday:  Felt better today. Grace wanted to do a 15 km race-pace ski today. I didn't feel THAT good but opted for a 5 km race-pace ski. Temps were warmer and we did about a two hour skate. Put in at Quigley at 10:30 and there were a fair number of cars in the parking area. Puzzling for a while until we got out on the trail and found a bunch of SVSEF skiers doing off-on skiing in a train. Otherwise, almost no one out.

Grace's route was the whole doggie loop, up to the pond along the high road, over the big hill above the pond, out to the east end, back to the pond, over the little hill above the pond, down the hill to the switchbacks by the road and, finally back home. Nothing but net! She reached 15 km at just about where the dog trails end. My route was a relaxed warmup out to the far east end. My TT started there and wound back to the pond, down to the switchbacks by the road, back along the creek and up into the doggie loop a bit to finish out. The snow was fast today and my time was the best 5 km TT I've had in a couple of years. Grace was pretty happy with her time on a much hillier course (147 m elevation gain, 120 m elevation loss). My course profile was qualitative similar to the 15 km half-BMT, a net loss of elevation (64 m) with some ups (only 8 m) along the way. Trails still good everywhere we skied. Tracks looked fantastic - may switch back tomorrow if it gets cold enough.

The only person we saw today that we know was June L who was just finishing when we put in.

West Yellowstone hill ski - AT QUIGLEY

Yes, it's true. The ski we did last Thursday at Q was as hilly as West Yellowstone. The table below lists the parameters. The column labeled ΔE is the total elevation gain over the course while Emin and Emax are the minimum and maximum elevations.

Location
Distance (km)
ΔE (m)
Emin (m)
Emax (m)
  West Yellowstone   25   285   2029   2093
  Quigley   20   284   1643   1724
  Quigley   22.5   348   1643   1724

The main differences are that the nearly 285 meters of climbing can be done in 20 km at Quigley versus 25 km at Yellowstone AND that the overall elevation is about 1000 feet higher at Yellowstone. If I can manage it, I'll post a map of the route. For now, in words, for the longer ski in the table you ski all the canyons twice except the one just off the arena (which you only do once) as well as the full dog loop.

2021 Jan 21 Thursday:  And today is THAT day. After 7 straight days of training, nearly 120 km of skiing and a total of 16 hours of effort, we just can't go today. Most trainers are fond of advising clients to take a day off per week. But, that's just Biblical and not based on what the body can do. It may be a good general rule of thumb but not necessarily attuned to how the body behaves. Twenty years ago I had an innovative swim coach who guided me to my first two national championships. His philosophy was 'train until you can't, rest until you can.' Grace and I have followed that rule ever since. It does mean, however, that you MUST be critically aware of what your body and mind are telling you. There are a number of pretty accepted ways (resting pulse, sleep, mood, ability to reason) but for us the mental outlook is the number one indicator. That is, if you get ready to train and decide that it would be more fun to stick pins in your eyes, then it's time for some rest. That's where we are today. So, for this cycle, we had 7 days on and now a rest day. If we can't restart tomorrow we will take another rest day. For most of this month we have been on a 5 training days & 1 rest day cycle. This cycle we pushed it harder.
2021 Jan 20 Wednesday:  As the NFL is fond of saying, we are 'day to day,' meaning we will take a day off when we can't stagger out to ski. With the uncertain future in new snowfall we want to ski here as often as we can. So, a very, very EZ recovery classic day today at Q. Put on three layers of Toko Yellow/Swix Violet Special. Great kick all day. It was mostly cloudy so changing track temps weren't much of a problem. Stayed low with only the baby hill above the pond. Got about 2 hours and 15 km.

When we got there, the PB was gone. Still not back 2 hours later. Not a good sign. Hope this is a routine maintenance deal and not a real problem. If there is a problem, they will use the baby groomer and the classic tracks won't be so good. We will skate if that is the case.

Very undercrowded today: saw ej and class when we pulled up; Marilyn & Tullio C; Brenda S; CMonte; and Ed N. No Ted A.

2021 Jan 19 Tuesday:  When I woke up this morning with a headache and sore muscles I said to Grace I did NOT want to ski. We did our bi-weekly grocery shopping and had breakfast. By that time I wasn't feeling too bad so we decided to go ski after all. Got to Quigley around 10:30 after a short stop at Roman's bakery and slapped on the skate skis. It turned out to be a really great day. I just cannot assess what my body is going to do without trying to ski. We were out 2¾ hours and did 22½ (me) and 23 km (Grace). We skied everything, most of the hills twice, and did a 2½ km time trial in the middle. Haven't had this long a workout since March of 2020. Total elevation gain today was almost 350 m.

The worst part of the trail we saw was the canyon immediately off the arena. DO NOT GO AROUND THE NORTH MESA. Lots of dirt and rocks. Grace grabbed on some gravel that was not visible. The rest of the trail system is in pretty good shape.

Saw lots of folks we knew, even though the parking area was pretty empty when we showed up: ej; Andy A; Susan G & Jim K; Ralph J; John F; Anne J & Sally W; and Gary ?. We heard from many usually reliable sources that Charley F was in the neighborhood but we did not see him personally. Did NOT see Ted A.

2021 Jan 18 Monday:  Now that's what I'm talking about! Pulled into Quigley parking at 10 straight up and we were the 4th car. Muy bueno. Back to classic again today. Both on waxables with one layer of Red Special covered by one layer of Violet Special. My kick was pretty good all day except right at the end. Grace skied a bit farther than I did today and had somewhat more trouble. We noticed when we pulled in that the toy groomer had been used and got our hopes up. Sure enough they had groomed the classic only trail again. I had thought they would not be able to do it until there was new snow. In fact, it did a really decent job of breaking through the crusty snow left from the rain-freeze-thaw cycle some days ago. There were a few ice balls in the new tracks but they were easily skiable. At the pond we did the big hill and on out to the end. On the way back we did the small loop and then headed into the switchbacks from the 5-way intersection. Grace and I parted ways at the end and she went back toward the pond while I skied on the flats. She returned on the classic only portion and we met up again and headed back. Finished up on the Little Doggie loop and one of the canyons. We were out for almost 2½ hours and I got 15 km. Grace got 17.

There were more people when we came back. Ran into Susan G; Jim M; and Gary ? who we see skiing at Q all the time. He also runs in the off season and is 78. He told me that when he finishes his ski workout he runs to the grocery store and back. Oh yes, we saw Ted A again today.

2021 Jan 17 Sunday:  Another 10:30 morning at Quigley. Another 50 cars in the parking area. I guess it's the long holiday weekend. We skated today and did NOT go near the Big Dog section of the Loop de Mutt. Yesterday it was nearly empty. Today it was packed. We slithered out past the mutt section and then things cleared up. Not much traffic beyond that. At the pond, I stayed low while Grace did the hills. I'm still trying to recover from last Thursday. The quality of the skate platform was great and I wish I could have taken advantage of it. Just did not have the legs. Out for 95 min and a bit more than 12 km. Still lots of cars when we finished with people coming in as others were leaving. Not many people at the sledding hill, so most of the load was skiers.
2021 Jan 16 Saturday:  Another classic ski day at Quigley. Another 16 km. Another 140 min. Pretty dang boring stuff, if you ask me. Again on Swix Violet Special - good kick all the time. Again the tracks were great. Got a little surprise when we pulled into the parking area: at least 50 cars. Very hard to find a place to park. Turns out that Sloan Storey's class AND Higher Ground were both there. We have not seen such a crowd at 10:30 ever before. First thought was that the trails would be packed but they were not. We skied the entire doggy loop and on out to the pond. Maybe saw three other skiers on the mutt loop and very few others anywhere else. By the time we finished there were plenty of places to park. Trails are all still in great shape except for the second little canyon ½ km from the parking area. We reported this earlier - not particularly changing for better or worse.

Only saw a few people we knew. EJ was helping with Higher Ground; Phil & Susan U (didn't stay long); and Tullio C (didn't stay long). What a kind and helpful person ej is. Wish everyone were that way.

2021 Jan 15 Friday:  Classic ski today at Quigley. Trying to keep it EZ to try to recover from yesterday's uber-hard workout. Both of us on waxables using Swix Violet Special to kick. Worked great all day. The tracks were dyn-o-mite. Two days of reprocessing with the PB has largely restored the snow to the quality it had before the very warm, rainy, freeze-thaw cycle a couple of days ago. Tracks were deep, sharp and well-set. Groomer was just finishing up when we set out at 10:30. Couldn't have timed it better! We did all the low trails and only one hill at the end. Got 16 km in 140 min. I'm still pretty tired and will need at least another recovery day.

Not really crowded. Saw Andy A; Josie A; and Susan T today.

2021 Jan 14 Thursday:  Had an appointment in Ketchum at the dermatologist to get the stitches out and bandages off, around the middle of the day. Got some skin work a week ago to clean up some cosmetic issues. The pic to the left shows the new result. I don't know how you see it but it looks pretty good to me. Better jaw line and forehead looks good. The slight greenish tinge will fade in a while.

So, as long as we were in Ketchup, we decided to try Lake Creek. Wrong!! By the time we pulled into the parking area at 10:45 it was totally full. Maybe another day. Back to Hailey and Q, where we got onto snow at 11:30. Man, what a difference in conditions after a day in the mid-40s with some rain. The snow had completely transformed. In places where they had not groomed it was very icy. The PB was able to re-process that surface into some very coarse-grained ice balls with mixed in powder. It was fast but pretty hard to stand up on. The day was mostly survival - just trying to balance and not fall. However, we got in a 20 km ski, all the hills (the ones at the pond twice) and a time trial on the way back. Out for 140 min.

Not crowded. Saw Eric R; Sally W; Juerg S; AND Ted A.

2021 Jan 13 Wednesday:  Day off today.
2021 Jan 12 Tuesday:  Skate day today at Quigley. I was just flat-out whipped from all the skiing. We did the big dog loop and headed out to the pond. Grace did a few big hill repeats while I stumbled around trying to figure out where I was. I ended up with 13 km and 110 min, the shortest day in a week. I need a day off. Grace wasn't so bad and got a few more km in the time we were out.

We are beginning to see some debris on the trails all over - not particularly concerning at this point but we could use more snow. The NWS models aren't predicting much at this time (<1-2 inches) but the Weather Underground models are a BIT more hopeful (maybe 2+ inches).

2021 Jan 11 Monday:   We put in to Quigley at 10:30 but spent a few minutes talking to Eric Rector about the trails. Got some insight into the situation with currently closed trails: the ponding (and now icing) issues were the result of diverting the flow of Quigley Creek so the developer could put in a bridge near the entrance. By the time this was done snow was on the ground. Eric said that BCRD re-diverted the water flow back to the original creek bed but by that time the damage had been done. On the section of the trail near the base of the hill where there is a barrier there are stretches where the ice is VERY thick. He estimated up to 3 feet some places. There is also ice further out toward the pond on the lower section of the classic-only trail. Consequently, these two portions of the trail system will NOT be opened this season.

Now for the hardcore stuff. Yet another really, really good classic day. We did 17 km and 15 of that had no retraced skiing at all. Both on waxables again one layer of Blue Extra covered with one layer of Toko Blue. Skied all the hills and the classic-only trail which was just groomed right before we got there. Started with the canyon right off the arena and the enclosed pic shows a view from there looking out toward Quigley Road. You can see fields of brown grass with the ski trails snaking through them. Pretty nice view!

Not very crowded again. Hardly saw anyone at the far east end and only a couple of dozen when we got back. Both of us have sore lats and traps and are going to switch to skate for a bit.

Diggins Wins Tour de Ski!!!

2021 Jan 10 Sunday:  At a time when any good news is welcome, the US Nordic Ski Team got a bunch today. Jessie Diggins won the 15th edition of the Tour de Ski with a second place finish on the final climb in Val di Fiemme today. She is the only non-European to have ever won the event. She was almost 1½ min ahead of the second-place skier and 2 min ahead of the woman who won today's hill-climb stage. The US had 4 women in the top 25. Final standings can be found in this PDF file. The photo at left is from 2015 at the SuperTour finals at Galena Lodge. As a result, Diggins is in the lead for overall world cup points and Rosie Brennan is leading the distance cup points. Not bad for a country that can't ski, as one of my friend's Italian wife said.

But wait! That's not all! Gus Schumacher finished 18th overall, the best ever finish for an American man.

And now for the boring stuff. Yet another fantistico dia de classico today at Quigley. We're having so much fun it's making us sick. Oh, for the good old days when we could rake leaves or shovel snow or just go to work. Instead we have to go out, day after day, and ski until the cows come home with no wind and great groomed trails. Uncle!! Mercy, please. Anyhow, we were out on waxables with one layer of Blue Extra covered by one layer of Toko Blue. Worked pretty well all day. Did all the hills on the trail system in 145 min and snagged 16 km.

Not so crowded today. Guess everyone is as fed up with the good skiing as we are. Saw Blaine S; Marilyn & Tullio C; and ej (+ mutt). Still no Ted A. Probably he was still in bed when we were out.

2021 Jan 9 Saturday:  Another great classic day at Quigley. PB groomed everywhere. We were on Blue Extra which gave good kick all day. Put in at a little after 9:30 and the only skiers there were in a Sloan Storey class plus one skater doing no poles on the dog loop. We did the whole thing past the first intersection. Did not do either of the first two canyons. Saw lots of deer hoof prints but no deer anywhere. Got 16 km in 140 min without really pushing it. The entire doggie loop is in great shape - no sign of previous rocks or grass on the switchbacks by Quigley Road. Not even a dark spot on the trails beyond that.

Very, very uncrowded. Along the way we saw Jim K & Susan G; Andy F; Kathy H; and Don & Lisa B. But, no Ted A.

2021 Jan 8 Friday:  In better spirits today, recovered from trip to dermatologist and back at it. Skated for 2+ hours at Quigley. PB groomed everywhere with great looking classic tracks. We skated directly out to the pond. Grace did the hilly loops while I sauntered out to the end. My original intent was to do a TT back toward the parking area but I was feeling underenergetic so I sauntered back to the 5-way junction above the pond and met up with Grace. At that point I still wanted to do a little up-tempo ski so we skied to the top of the big loop. One of my favorite downhill TTs is from the top of the hill above the 18 km marker (the Anderson Creek bridge) down to Baker Creek. So, I started from the top of the big loop above the pond and headed downhill as fast as I could to the junction, then out to the road on the switchbacks and terminated it at a bit over 2 km. Pretty nice course that forces you to work downhills hard with some curves and a bit of rolly stuff at the end. I like it.

Not so crowded. Saw Ralph J & June L; Ashley K; and Carmen & Ed N. No Ted A. June told us that the parking situation up north has gotten way better since the holidays are over.

2021 Jan 7 Thursday:  Day off today.
2021 Jan 6 Wednesday:  Not inspired to write much today - pretty dark day in US history to see people who claim to be Americans or patriots do this kind of shit in Washington. This is what I expect in 4th world world countries, not here.

We did a 3 hour 17 km classic ski at Quigley today on waxables using Blue Extra. Kick good the whole time. Trails in remarkable condition.

Quigley Tour

2021 Jan 5 Tuesday:  Lots of snow - alles groomed. Big snowcat (PB) for the bulk of the trail system and snowmobile for the classic only trail. The above pix pretty much show everything. Left is the entrance to the classic-only trail, middle is the 5-way intersection above the pond and right is the view from the bridge at the far end of the trail system. I'm not sure the classic-only trail has been groomed this season but it was today and we took it. We were on skins. The first thing we noticed is that NO prep work has been done on the little section of trail at the base of the hill. As we reported earlier there was a massive ice sheet there. The entrance is still closed to skiing. From the vantage point of the classic-only trail you could NOT see any evidence of the ice but it may still be there. I'm suspicious that they may not open this section of trail this season. We also skied the upper bench portion of the classic trail. I have not been on it since it was converted from a skate/classic trail. Nice ski!

At the pond we stopped so I could get a pic of the 5-way intersection, shown in the middle pic above. The arrows point to 4 trail takeoff points from the intersection. It has been quite a while since we have been able to ski back on the higher of the skate/classic trails instead of retracing the switchbacks by the road in addition to the upper portion of the classic trail. I was standing on the 5th trail going away from the intersection.

All in all a pretty good day. The skate platform seemed pretty firm and the tracks were great. It was not too crowded but we saw a few familiar faces: Ralph J; Jim K & Susan G; Jim S; Tullio C; ej; and Anne J. But, noooo Ted A. Hope he didn't leave for Brazil with all that cash. We were out for 2½ hours and got 13 km (me) and 14 km (Grace).

2021 Jan 4 Monday:  Back to Quigley for a skate day today. Pulled into the parking area around 9:15, trying to beat the oncoming snow. First thing we saw was that the toy groomer had been used, so we figured that all they did was scratch up the skate lane. To our surprise there were NEW sets of classic tracks as well. That really puzzled me at first but, in short order, we had the answer. They used BOTH grooming machines today! The PB was used to do the normal trails and the toy was used to pack out the classic-only trail. In addition, they also did some prep work on the upper return section from the pond back. Looks like they may open this portion if the snow really gets here.

We were in a hurry because it looked like snow would get us pretty quickly. So, we beelined it to the pond area. I had on my pulse monitor and worked the uphills pretty hard to get to the pond and then did an all-out climb up the hill on the big loop above the pond. I got a max HR of 159 with about a 3½ min effort. That's about a 1½ min faster than I can do it on classic skis. Then we skied EZ out to the bridge at the east end of the trails and took a few minutes rest. With just barely enough fuel in the tank I managed a little time trial on the way back. I only lasted 1 km but Grace got 3½ km. By the time we had finished I was barely able to drag myself back to the car. The clouds had thinned out and the sun was starting to show a bit by 11:30. Looks like my weather intel wasn't accurate. Probably shouldn't listen to the QAnon weather people. As a friend once said to me: "the light in their eyes is just the sun shining through the backs of their heads." Awomen brother.

It was really fun to skate today. The skate platform was smooth, stable and FAST. That's the way skating should be! Happy to take a break from classic and get back to this. It may be a while before we do it again. As I write this report it is snowing. If we get a lot it will be too soft to skate for a few days.

Not so many people today. Smaller crowds are way more fun. We saw Ralph J; Jim K and Carmen N but no Ted A. Where in the world is Ted A? Anyone seen Ted A?

2021 Jan 3 Sunday:  Called the BCRD hotline at 7 and got yesterday’s report for Croy Nordic. Called again at 8 and got a report from a different groomer. This one seemed to have a better grasp on local geography and gave a report for Quigley. He indicated that the REAL snowcat was used and that everything was groomed for skate and classic skiing. Not wanting to fall for another head fake we packed both ski flavors and headed out. Pulled into Quigley at 9:15 and saw the groomer just cleaning up the PB. Tracks were new and skate lane was combed. It was snowing lightly and we again opted for the classic skin skis. Hardly anyone there so we skied everything. We especially wanted to check the switchbacks on canis majoris on the Loop de Mutt. Most were in fine shape. We had reported a few days ago that #4 was down to bare ground. It is now covered but you can see dirt beneath the snow. Still have to be careful here but we got through it without incident.

We also skied canis minoris and it was in good shape. So was everything else. We skied to the pond, up and over the big hill, out to the end (bridge planks are just below the surface - have to pay attention here), back over the little loop up to the road, around the small loop above the pond and home. We got in 170 min and 17 km. I again noted that, if you do all the doggy sections and everything else that we did, you get 13 km without having to retrace a single step. When they get the additional trail open 16 km should be easy even without adding in the Winter Trail Park just off the arena.

Not too crowded on the trails today. Saw Katherine S & Andy A; Sally W; CRank; and Lisa B. Where in the world was Ted A?

Had our first tamale meal last night. A pic of my plate is included. As good as I remembered and I made another couple of dozen while waiting for the first batch to steam.

2021 Jan 2 Saturday:  Called the BCRD hot line about 7:30 and pressed 4 to get the Quigley report. Very surprised to hear a report for Jan 2 at Croy Nordic - repeated twice for emphasis. We went to Quigley in spite of the report and found that the toy groomer (NOT the snowcat as advertised on the hot line) had dragged the comb over the skate lane but there were no new tracks. It looked like they had used the Pisten Bully yesterday, so the old tracks had about 1 inch of new snow. We opted to classic ski anyhow and went out on our skins. Snow temp at 9:45 was 23 F. Hardly anyone there when we started. Probably everyone went to Croy, as directed by the Dept of Misinformation.

Pretty much a strength workout for the first part since we were firsties on the trails beyond the mutt loop. Grace stayed in the tracks but I found it easier to ski on the skate lane. We skied out to the far end before we saw anyone. On the way back there were a few classic skiers who helped pack the track. It was much easier. We were out for 2½ hours and collected 13 km in the process. Another beautiful day with no wind and plenty of sunshine. Trail conditions were very good everywhere we skied.

Saw Jim K & Susan G; Ralph J; Andy A & Katherine S; and Marilyn & C. No Ted A. Parking area was packed when we got back. At least 40 cars and about 1000 out-of-control dogs. I guess the Croy crowd discovered the hot line error and came out to Quigley. Susan reported that they went north yesterday and that the parking is totally chaotic with skiers just parking anywhere on the highway to access the trails. Not a very tempting description. Also, the feeling that we need to get out early was strongly reinforced today. May try for 9:30 tomorrow.

2021 Jan 1 Friday:  Day off today. Spent the day making our seasonal tamales. The included pic (left) shows a tray of 16 pollo y frijoles negros con chile verde tamal. Tomorrow night's dinner plus a few for later. We just have to steam 'em and eat 'em. They will sit in the fridge overnight. Probably will serve them with some salsa cruda made of tomato, green onion and sweet peppers plus slices of avocado and a side of Mexican rice. Also started making some with beef red chile filling. We've been doing these for more than 20 years around this time of year. Where I grew up in the midwest, we thought a tamale was something made by the Austex Chile Company (see pic below) that came in a can (see pic to the right). Kind of ruined me to live in the southwest. Should get about 6 dozen of the rascals by the time we quit. Pretty tired today but I'll be ready to go tomorrow!

2021

2020 Dec 31 Thursday:  Last day of 2020. Was that fun or what? About a half inch of new snow in Hailey. BCRD web site said all groomed for skate and classic BUT all they did was scratch up the skate lane with the toy groomer. We were ready anyhow and had already planned to skate. Again on our no-structure Start Green skis. Tried to keep it EZ to recover from last few days. Skied out to the far east end (last little loop NOT groomed at all) and back. Didn't do any part of the doggie loop. Spent about 1:45 and got a little over 11 km. Saw more skiers than yesterday INCLUDING Ted A. Also Marilyn & Tullio C; and Blaine S & Liz v.

I finished up with 114 ski days, with 65 at Quigley. About 50-50 on skate versus classic (slight edge to skate). I had 525 total training hours for the year, my biggest year since 2015.

2020 Dec 30 Wednesday:  Where was everybody? Lightest day I have seen for many moons at Quigley. We got there at 10:30, snow temp 11 F and Toko Blue kick wax on the classics. They had regroomed with the PB (not the PB & J). New tracks and great skate lane. But, nobody there. Sure, it was cold, sure it was gloomy but there was no wind and skiing was fantastico. I had perfect kick the whole day but Grace was a bit slippy toward the end. On the way out to the pond we saw 4 skiers and not another soul for two hours. We even had first tracks on the little inner loop out above the pond. For a while we thought the county might be under a mandatory evacuation order.

The trails are getting a bit rougher in places. The canyon above the junction ½ km from the parking area has a bad spot: the groomer high-centered on a pretty big rock which now shows in the middle of the skate lane. It loosened some smaller gravel as well. EZ to avoid & Grace says it was there yesterday. Out beyond the pond on the far loop there is quite a bit more grass showing than there was 3 days ago when I last was out there. Everything else we skied was good. Out for 140 min and did 15 km.

We did one up-tempo (>AT pace) uphill on the big loop above the pond - about 5 minutes again. The rest was recovery ski pace. We would have been happy to stop and talk but nobody there. Only people we saw that we knew were Carmen & Ed N; and ej. Again, no Ted A.

2020 Dec 29 Tuesday:  But they DID. They did the whole danged thing (well, almost) with the PB - skate and classic tracks. So, Grace and I split up. I slapped on the classic skis again (Blue Extra, of course) and she took off on Start Green skates. We were both looking for some areas to be able to do some long uphill intervals (we call them Helgeruds, after Jan Helgerud from Trondheim U). I went directly out to the pond and did three sets: first little one (about 1 minute) from the bottom of the hill below the junction at the pond. The second one from the junction up to the top of the hill on the big loop (about 6 minutes) and the third one the entire small loop above the pond (about 5 minutes). I didn't have my pulse monitor but know that I was working at ABOVE the anaerobic threshold (AT) during the high intensity periods. The AT is roughly defined as the maximum speed you can hold for a 30 minute burst. I was breathing hard enough that I could NOT have lasted 30 minutes, hence above the AT. They were all good efforts. And enjoyable!! No heart-rate problems today.

We didn't stay out too long today. I got 11 km in 115 min.

The trails were absolutely spectacular today. Can't see why anyone would ski anywhere else. Saw Sally W; Marilyn & Tullio C; Jim M; Marty L; but, alas, no Ted A. It appears that running the Bully over the trails actually helps to cover up some of the grassy spots. I've had that impression before and it was reinforced today. I didn't think they would use the PB until after more snow but, hey, can't be right on every guess.

2020 Dec 28 Monday:  Another classic day at Quigley. This was pretty slow going since we were both trying to recover from yesterday's hard workout. Definitely walk the dog pace for me sans chien. We were out for 160 min today and skied 14 km. Much easier and I think I'm fully recovered from my ski yesterday. Saw the usual suspects plus a few: Jim M (+ mutt); Jim K, Blaine S & Susan G; Anne J & Sally W; Marilyn & Tullio C; Ivana R (+ mutt); and, of course, Ted A.

We were maybe the second car there at 10:30 but there were probably 30 in the area when we got back. It was windy in town and nearly everyone we talked to reported wind at their house. Not the slightest breeze at Q. Hard to figure. Also, perfect blue sky. Otherwise, pretty nasty. Both of us were on Swix Blue Extra again. Great kick all day. Trails still in great shape. However, if they only scratch up the skate lane as they did today, classic may go to hell.

2020 Dec 27 Sunday:  Classic day at Quigley. After reporting no grooming yesterday, BCRD amended their phone report to say that they HAD groomed mid morning. No update to the web page. Another sucker punch from our Misinformation Bureau. Today, they said (later in the am) that they had done both skate and classic. That's what we found when we got there. PB grooming all the way.

Today we started at 9:45 with very cold air temps. Snow temp was 20 F. We were both on blue extra (Swix V40). No problem with kick all day but the skis were a bit grabby at first. We did most of the trail system with the exception of the canis majoris section of the Mutt Loop. We were not the first ones out today - maybe 10 cars parked when we put in. Anyhow, we didn't run into many people on the way out although we could see hordes on the Big Doggie section. The new snow helped the trails a bunch. There were a few tufts of grass in places. The enclosed pic shows the worst section I found, on the loop up by the road past the pond, but it was nothing to worry about. Did not see any rocks, gravel, dirt or sage twigs anywhere I skied.

Passed a few notables including Jim K, Blaine S & Susan G; Ryan; ej; Jim & Courtney K; and Ted A. We talked to the latter Jim K briefly about his new job since he left BCRD. He's in Ketchup with the CEO of a tech company that is spread around the country. He said it was hard but seemed happy. Not really crowded where we spent most of our time but the parking area had maybe 40 cars when we got back. It looked like most of the cars held skiers because the sledding hill wasn't very busy. We were out 3 hours. I had a little heart-rate issue and only got 16 km. Grace got a bit over 18 km. My heart-rate episode lasted about 45 minutes during which I was pretty much reduced to a walk. After numerous stops and a lot of water intake I was able to get back up to speed. On the way back I did a few pretty hard but short hill climb intervals. In the end it really wiped me out for the day.

On another matter, word circulating on the trails is that the authorities caught the treasonous terrorists who defaced our sacred Russian John sign. Apparently they gutted them like a mess of fish, threw the entrails on the trails for the coyotes and draped the bodies over the fences for vulture bait. That'll teach the bastards.

2020 Dec 26 Saturday:  Taking the day off again. Below are the snowfall amounts as of 7 am:

  Location   Amount
  Sweetwater in Hailey   2.5 inches
  Webb Nursery snow stake in Ketchum   5 inches
  Chocolate Gulch SnoTel   4 inches
  Galena SnoTel   4 inches
  Galena Lodge snow stake   4 inches
  Galena Summit SnoTel   4 inches

Looks like 2½ in Hailey and 4 everywhere else in the Valley. This will really help at Lake Creek. We should also be able to ski at Quigley again for a couple of days. The BCRD phone hot line said they would not groom today but would resume tomorrow. The groomer was optimistic about this helping the bare spots but I would NOT be tempted with this amount of new snow. I'll just stay off canis majoris until we get some more.

2020 Dec 25 Friday:  Christmas Day skate at Quigley. Got to the parking area at 9:45; no other cars there. We got first tracks! Since we were alone, we skied the entire doggie loop. The canis majoris section of the loop was the most problematic. The Q groomer had warned earlier about the switchbacks near the road. His comment was that #3 was the worst. So, we were on the lookout. The first two switchies showed grass and some surface gravel - easy to avoid any bad spots. The third was bad and I grabbed a pretty big rock with one ski even though I was being pretty careful. New snow would help a lot here. But the 4th switchback was the worst: down to total bare ground in some spots. We just tromped over the dirt to get to good snow. The real problem is that, for this spot, new snow will make things worse. Even if we get the 4 inches max predicted by the NWS weather watch all it will do is hide the bad spots. It's going to take quite a bit more than 4 inches for me to want to go back there.

Apart from the trail damage the skate lane was in really good shape and fast. The classic tracks were pretty much as Ted described them a couple of days ago. Those would get a lot better with a new 4 inches. On the canis minoris section there were no problem areas to worry about. Before the last snowfall, this section of trail had some pretty nasty grassy spots showing through.

Beyond the Loops de Poop, alles klar. Smooth sailing out to the pond and on the two loops above. No grooming on the flat loop east of the pond. We were out two hours and skied 16 km. It was fast and we would have covered more ground if we hadn't stopped to talk. On the way out the only other skiers we saw were Marilyn & Tullio C but on the way back it was a different story. We also saw Ryan (St Luke's Radiology Dept); Anne J, Sally W and Jack S; and Lindy C & Laura H. (+ two mutts). Grace thought there were possibly 20 cars parked when we left.

This marked the day that Grace tallied over 500 training hours for the year. Last year at this time she was so deep into her autoimmune response problem that we could not imagine 500 hours for the coming year for her. She has apparently recovered from this mystery illness.

2020 Dec 24 Thursday:  Another classic ski day today. Both of us on waxable skis with Toko blue. I had a few more layers than Grace: she was faster than me on the downhills but a bit slippy in places on the ups. I didn't miss a kick on any of the ups. We put in at the 16.5 km point next to quite a few cars already there, at about 11 am. Saw Bob D and Kim K just heading out to the trail. We skied a bit downhill and back to check on the kick and glide and then headed north. The original plan was to do a few hard uphills leading to the Anderson Creek bridge. I was a bit wobbly and skied on north while Grace did the repeats. We met up again at about the 21 km marker just below the PC junction. At that point we turned around and headed south. I did one hard uphill from the Russian Don (see below) sign to the Anderson Creek bridge. I had finally gotten the kinks out and that felt pretty good. Then we headed back down past the 16.5 km put-in point and on to (almost) the Baker Creek bridge. That was a big mistake. The Baker Creek area had a few diesel-heads roaring their snowmos and it was pretty unpleasant. Think I won't go back there until after the holidays. Got 15 km in a bit more than 2 hours. Great day: blue sky, perfect temps & no wind.

Regarding the Russian Don comment above, I have posted a pic to the left. Some nasty vandals have disgracefully ruined our Russian John sign with this awful political satire. I can't think who would do anything so terrible but I hope the perpetrators get caught for sure. Why, it's just downright treasonous to do this. I hope they send them back to whatever shithole country they came from.

Apart from Bob D & Kim K, we saw Mike W; Kevin ?; Blaine S & Jim K; Sally W, Anne J & Susan G; Marilyn & Tullio C & Roger M; Kris & Susan T; and Mark D. Happy holidays everyone.

2020 Dec 23 Wednesday:  No skiing today - trip to Twin Falls. Ted A sent me the following report late this pm:

"Spent an hour ice skating in the classic track at Q this afternoon (~ 1:30 to 2:30)...good double pole exercise with occasional kick from the skins being employed. I think I'll wait until it snows and they're able to reset the classic track before I go out there again. Skaters were doing okay it seemed but the snow didn't appear to have much give to it despite being groomed earlier in the day."

After getting Ted's report I'm really glad we didn't go to Q before the Twin Falls trip.

2020 Dec 22 Tuesday:  Windy day today. No report from BCRD at 9 am that they had groomed Quigley but they said they had groomed Lake Creek. That's one of our favorite spots and we did not get there all last season. So, that was the choice. With the little breeze we decided against classic skis and used our no-structure Start green skis. Got to the parking area around 10:30, much shorter drive time than further north - glad for that. No one around. We worked our way through the leaf and twig debris out to the main trail. Appraisal: probably they really did groom but only with the snowmobile. It was pretty hard to verify because there was so much blown-in snow. We spent 90 min and skied 10 km trying to do some of the hills but the downs were pretty icy in places from a few freeze-thaw cycles. It was pretty fast, particularly in some directions with the wind assist. The snow at LC is good - didn't see thin spots or vegetation sticking through. It's in very good shape.

Saw 3-4 skiers the whole time. Phil & Susan U showed up briefly but didn't stay long. (They said that LC had been spectacular last Saturday.) On the other hand, the parking lot was FULL when we got back. A lot of SVSEF skiers dropping off or picking up. No place to park. We timed it just about right.

After we got back, I noticed that the BCRD web site reported that Q HAD been groomed today. Customer first - that's their motto - and they lived up to it again today. We have to go to Twin Falls tomorrow but we may go to Q for a brief ski beforehand.

2020 Dec 21 Monday:  Happy first day of winter! We were hoping to do some high intensity skiing today at Quigley. Two things got in the way: First, BCRD did not groom and enough skiers were out yesterday that I was worried the trails would be too rutty. Second, I woke up with a big case of DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness). Grace would have been fine but we decided to head north. The next hope was to ski at Lake Creek since it was reported groomed for both skate and classic today. However, when we got there SVSEF was having a Covid Superspreader event and we decided to pass. Didn't get there all last season but maybe another day. So we headed north again. The North Fork Campground parking lot was full of cars. So was the SNRA lot. Murphy's was busy. Getting the uneasy feeling we would need to implement Plan 9 From Outer Space. But, alles klar at Cathedral so we snagged a spot. Maybe the 5th car in the area.

We both opted for classic skins today because of the warm temps and spitting rain. Skied south for a bit and then headed north to the Anderson Creek hill. I turned around at the base and headed back while Grace went to the top. When we got back to Cathedral I needed a bit more and wound up with 18 km and 2 ˝ hrs.

We hadn't been north since the last snow and the trails were really great. Classic tracks were perfect. It was warm and the tracks were a bit glazy but the skins worked great. Probably my best ski on the skins this season. I stopped at Easley Hot Springs while I was waiting for Grace and got the pic to the right. Wish I had brought my Speedos - might have taken an off-season dip! I don't think the Sheriff would have caught me.

Trails were not particularly crowded today. There were only 4 cars at Cathedral when we got back. We saw a few skiers we knew: Jim & Linda M (first time with mutt, second time alone); Peter W (who said he skied almost, but not quite, to Stanley and back); Bob D, Kim K & Roger M; Ted A (trying to snag a bus ride); and Mark D.

2020 Dec 20 Sunday:  Really nice skate today at Quigley. Put in around 10 am with only a few cars in the parking area. The BCRD phone hot line reported that they had again only touched up the skate lane with the little groomer, going out to the pond but not beyond plus both hilly loops above the pond. That's what we found. I was feeling pretty recovered by today and wanted to try some hill repeats out on the loops by the pond so we went out by the shortest route. My GPS recorded 4 km at the big junction by the pond, about a half km longer than last year. So that extra 1/2 km occurs in the serpentine loops after you get past the Loops De Poop. The trail condition is very good with only a few tufts of grass showing near Quigley Road. No real loss of snow on the parts we skied.

At the junction, we decided to do 3 passes of the big loop (two in one direction, one in the other direction). I personally had not done much hill work for several years and the mission was to ski under control with efficient technique. Skiing hills is an acquired skill that we learned years ago from a coach in CO. Grace has but I have not practiced it much lately.

I would have to rate today's ski a 12 out of 10 on the success scale. My pulse probably did not get over 125 anywhere and I made NO stops on any of the uphills. It was technically good. On one direction of the big loop there are some parts near the top where the trails are off camber and the pitch steepens. These have bothered me for years. Today, I stayed low (posture) and slow and did not miss a step. That's a first for me. Same result for Grace. On the little loop, I continued the same plan but Grace upped the tempo for a different experience. The total workout today resulted in 205 m of climbing. That compares to 285 m of climbing on the West Yellowstone Rendezvous 25 km course. A 140 min ski and 15 km today.

On the way back the skating was fantastic. It was warmer and more skiers had used the trail. This may have been the fastest snow we've had this season. It was tempting to do a little time trial but I want to do high intensity tomorrow so I resisted the urge.

Along the way we ran into Marilyn & Tullio C; Peggy B (haven't talked to her in a couple of years); Jim K & Susan G; Ralph J; and Ted A. Nobody seemed to be having any fun. This sport just can't last. Also, not as many cars in the parking area as I had expected.

The trail is holding up so well that we are planning to keep skiing there. Grace suggested that we might ski the half BMT out there to avoid congestion along the Harriman. We'll lay out a course in the next couple of weeks and give it a try.

2020 Dec 19 Saturday:  Back to classic skiing to recover from yesterday's very long and hard effort. Drove into the parking lot at Quigley about 10:45. Grace was on waxables with Toko red and I was on skins. I thought I might only be able to last an hour at a very slow pace. The pace was slow but I made it for two hours. BCRD reported only scratching up the skate lane (on the hot line), so the classic tracks were leftovers. Where the tracks were on the dog trails they were pretty beat up but elsewhere things were good. I went shortest route out, except for the outermost dog loop, and made it to the junction at the pond. I met up with Grace there who had skied the entire dog loop. I came directly back but she added the big hill above the pond. We met up again at the parking area. I got 10 km and she got 16.5 km. I think the ski gave me what I wanted. I feel pretty recovered this afternoon while I'm writing this report.

There were a lot of cars but the trails were not crowded. There were maybe 25 cars when we left. We saw a few skiers we know. Sally W drove up north with Anne J and Karen B. They were planning a long (20 km) skate today. But, according to Sally, there was so much wind that it was like a sandstorm blowing snow. She turned around and came out to Quigley. Also saw Blaine & Liz; and ej (+Bowie). I think we'll go out again tomorrow and skate, no matter what they do for grooming, and then head back north next week.

By the way, not that this makes an impression on anybody, the Blaine County Dept of Misinformation did not report any grooming at Q today on the web site.

2020 Dec 18 Friday: (updated)   Skate day today at Quigley - change up muscle groups. Arrived at the parking area at 10 after a 5 min drive from the house. Snow temp was 18 F. We were both on structureless Start green skis. Grooming looked great! First thing that greeted us was the patented Quigley 'Double Double' classic track by the Bloom Farm (pic to the left). We were the 4th vehicle there so we skied the entire trail system. Did not see anyone on the way out. MOST of the trail system is in good shape. Along the sections that snake out close to the road it was somewhat thin. As we skied out the only thing we noticed was tufts of grass but coming back we saw some loose gravel at some spots. I found one and did a front dive in open position (degree of difficulty: 1.55; score: 3.7). I lost some time trying to find all my body parts and equipment. I'm thinking that tomorrow we'll avoid the mutt section to reduce exposure to the thin parts. Also, at the first junction east of the parking area there is a barrier to keep skiers from going straight along the base of the hills (pic to the right). They have blocked off the area where we saw the mammoth ice patch last Saturday. This is going to be a BIG problem this year.

We skied out to the pond and I noticed that my GPS was indicating about 9 km. That is about 2 km longer than last year and it looks like they have added some additional trail in several spots along the way. Nice! We continued on out to the east end, doing the small inner loop close to the junction, and noticed further out that the skate lane is showing some sage in places. The pic to the right was taken at the bridge at the far east end. Clearly alles gut hier.

On the return we did the little hill that swings up toward Quigley Road and also the big canyon to the south. That piece of the loop is in great shape - only saw one little tuft of grass near the top. At the junction by the pond I looked at my GPS again and got 13.5 km. The ski so far had NO points of retrace. From here back, we had covered everything before.

We were out for a nickel more than 3 hours and I got 20 km. Grace skied about a km more while I was flailing around in the snow. Today I passed the 500-training-hour point in my log; this is the 17th year in a row I have been able to do that.

By the time we got back there were 25 cars in the parking area with more coming in. We saw a bunch of folks we knew: Carmen & Ed N; Marilyn & Tullio C + Roger M; Josie A (+small mutt); Anne J & Sally W; Jim K & Susan G; Jack S; and Ted A (who is not sending me an independent report). We'll go back tomorrow and plan to go early again. It's going to be packed with skiers all weekend.

2020 Dec 17 Thursday:  Day off today - first since Dec 5. No wonder we're tired! I've tabulated the recent snowfall amounts below, as of mid-morning today:

  Location   Amount
  Sweetwater in Hailey   5 inches
  Hailey Ranger Station   4 inches (estimated from 24-hr precip)
  Ketchum Ranger Station   4 inches (estimated from 24-hr precip)
  Chocolate Gulch SnoTel   5 inches
  Galena SnoTel   8 inches
  Galena Lodge snow stake   5 inches
  Galena Summit SnoTel   7 inches

So, 4-8 inches up and down the valley. Looks like we'll be skiing at Quigley for the next few days. Probably 7-8 new inches of snow since we skied there last Saturday AND they are grooming again. Hot dang!!

2020 Dec 16 Wednesday:   First up, Ted Angle's report on his Prairie Creek ski:

"PC, 12/16/2020, from 1100 to 1230 hrs, excellent snow, excellent skate lane, excellent classic track. Very few cars in the lot and even fewer people on the trails. There was a bit of a light wind in the face from time to time, but it served only to keep me from over-heating. Did 1/2 hour of skating and around an hour of classic. It doesn't get much better. By the way, it was toko dark red, 25 - 30F that gave me good kick today.

On the way home it looked like the CP parking strip was maxed out - too bad; not quite so bad at FBF."

For Grace and me it was another classic only day. Put in at Cathedral Pines. Waved at Ted as he was headed north. We were the 4th car at the parking area. We tried to head south but there had been some wind after the groomer passed and some of the tracks were full of snow on FBF. So, we turned around and headed north. Both of us were on waxable skis with Toko blue. I was carrying some Swix V40 just in case.

Easy pace ski. Both still trying to recover from last few days. Didn't see too many skiers on the way up but it was pretty busy coming back. We saw: Sam E & Marshall P; Mike W & Becky W (head Nordic coach at Bates College in Maine); Peter W; Gabby A; Bob & Jacqui H (first time this season); Jeannie L (first time this season - Mike just broke his ankle on an ice patch at their house); my new (unnamed) friend who drinks wine on the Baker Creek bridge; bunches of skiers who looked like they were really struggling; and a gaggle of overweight men walking and gawking around the hot springs. Tourist season is definitely here. When we finished up there were 20 cars at the CP parking area (as Ted noted above) with more coming in as others left. Pretty busy day. Two and a half hours and 15 km skiing for us today.

Ski story of the day: I've seen a woman skiing out on the trails with a US Ski Team jacket that I had assumed might be Matt Whitcomb's sister who lives a few blocks from us in Hailey. So I stopped her and her male companion and asked her who she was. It turns out that it was Hannah Halvorsen's parents Jon and Julie. Hannah is originally from Truckee CA and her parents moved here a few years ago. Hannah skis for APU and lives in Anchorage. I had noticed the Halvorsen name in some local race results but hadn't thought much about it.

For those of you who follow the world cup skiers you will know that Hannah was hit by a car while crossing the street in Anchorage. As a result she missed an entire year getting rebuilt. This past weekend, she raced in her first WC in Davos and had a respectable showing. Her dad said that she had major reconstructive surgery on one whole side of her body, suffered a fractured skull that still bothers her and lost a part of her vision. She is now 22. I posted a pic of her from 2015 at a SuperTour race at Lake Creek when she was 17. This was at the finish line of one of the sprint races. Great to talk to her parents and hear about her progress.

2020 Dec 15 Tuesday:  Classic ski day with intervals. Both of us on waxable skis using Toko blue. Pulled in to the 16.5 km parking area at about 11 after a visit to Roman's bakery to get our weekly supply. Saw Bob & Betsy Y just going out. Temp at the start was 11 F, a bit warmer than the last few days. Started out down hill toward Baker Creek to warm up and then north to a bit past the 17 km marker. Mission: 2 x 1 km uphill as hard as you could go and measure the HR. First round for me was 8:45 with a HR of about 152. Second round I didn't quite finish because of a persistent HR issue that I've had for about a decade: my HR will SUDDENLY drop by 20-30 bpm leaving me totally anerobic. Today that happened on the second round at about 5 min in where I reached a peak HR of 154. So, I got about 13 min of really hard skiing before this set in. Grace was able to finish the second round OK. Betsy was doing some interval work at the same time.

I have spent too many hours in a cardiologists office with no results to worry about going back. They can't detect the issue with tools that are designed for couch potatoes. I have noticed the problem primarily in running races in the summer when I get really warm. I haven't had much problem in the winter skiing until last season when I noticed it in the Billy Goat Loppet, the Half Boulder and the WY Rendezvous. In fact, I had to quit the Rendezvous because it got so bad. After looking on the web, I suspect that it is a problem with an A-V conduction block that sets in when I get overheated. But, don't really know.

Trails were not particularly crowded today. Most of the people we saw were acquaintences: Anne J, Karen B & Sally W; Andy A; Bob & Betsy Y; Lucy B (skied with her for a while); Kim N; and Marilyn & Tullio C. Tracks were again really, really good. Today was Grace's 100th ski day for the calendar year.

2020 Dec 14 Monday:  Another classic ski day. Again started at Cathedral and skied north up to just past the Anderson Creek bridge at the top of the hill and return for 15 km and 2 1/2 hours. I waxed up my kick zone again but managed to leave my boots at home by the fire with the cat. So, I got my skins back on (boots were in the car) and off I went. Grace was on waxables with a refresh of Toko blue. It was cold again and she was a little sticky at first but things got better through the day. Today was my 100th ski of the calendar year. About 40 on classic skis and 60 on skates.

There had been a couple of inches of new snow and the tracks reset nicely (see pic on the right). Mostly the track was deep, sharp and firm - quite a bit better than the last few days. I guess with Fast Freddy at the helm the snow cat still performs well with the additional coverage. The pic at left is looking west from about the 16.5 km put-in point

Really not crowded today. Much more to my taste. We saw a few people we knew and spent some time talking. Heard some really distressing news about Peter Maier which I won't repeat here. We were also looking for another place to do some intervals and it looks like from about 17.25 km to the top of the Anderson Creek hill will give us a km with some heavy climbing. We found Gabby there today doing 'back and forth' skiing along that same route. She stressed that they were not intervals. We may try some HIIT tomorrow.

2020 Dec 13 Sunday:  Classic ski today from about the Boulder Creek bridge to the 16 km marker and back. Put in at Cathedral Pines at about 11. Snow temp at start was 9 F. Parking area not too crowded. We skied south to about the bridge, then north to 16 km and back. Mostly cloudy and cold today. It started snowing lightly near the north end of the ski and was really hammering by the time we got back to the car. Out for 130 min and did about 15 km all together. Both of us were on waxable skis today. I finally got my mojo back with mine and had a great ski. Both of us were using Toko blue.

Not much to report except that someone was driving a motorized vehicle on parts of the trail between Cathedral and the cabins north of the hot springs. Looked like a two-wheeler to me. Probably belongs to one of the occupants of the cabins. Not much damage overall but some to the tracks.

Quigley Recon

2020 Dec 12, Saturday:   Today was a 'day off' for us so we decided to go have a look at Quigley since two skiers yesterday suggested that it was still skiable. The pix posted show the arena just off the parking area (left) and a piece of the trail about 1.25 km from the arena. There certainly is snow - more than I had imagined. And, it is very hard packed but NOT ice from constant freeze-thaw cycles. We skied out to the first junction, about 3/4 km from the arena, and it really was not too bad. From there out onto the dog loop it was not good because of all the deep craters from the dogs. Going the other route along the base of the hill was also not so good because of all the ruts. Those show pretty well in the right-hand pic. Beyond that there was an ice-rink quality sheet of ice that ran for about 50 yards. We turned around at that point.

My take is that, if this were very early season and this were the only skiable trail available, I would certainly ski there. You can get in about a 1.5 km out and back on pretty good snow. In the past, we have skied early season in far worse conditions than this. However, given the availability of really good snow up north, I'm not tempted to go back to Quigley in it's current state.

There is a good base almost everywhere we looked so that a few inches of new snow COULD be smoothed out with a small grooming tool. In fact, the first part could be dressed up at present. I don't think that BCRD WOULD groom unless there were 4-6 more inches. That doesn't seem likely in the current NWS forecasts.

2020 Dec 11, Friday:  Mainly recovery ski day today. We started out on waxable classic skis. I hadn't used mine in a few years and couldn't remember how long the wax pocket should be. Did NOT take much time for me to realize that I had made it waaay too long. I went to the car and changed into my skates. Grace continued on with classics. We put in at Cathedral Pines at about 11 and headed downhill a bit before turning north. By the time we got back to the road, we met up with Ted and skied with him for about an hour more. We turned around at the 16.5 km put-in point while Ted skied on north. Skied about 16 km in a little more than 2 hours.

There was some minor snow today and there had been a bit overnight. The accompanying photo shows some nice snow clouds over the Boulders seen at the turnaround point.

Saw a ton of skiers we knew: Jim & Linda M (+mutt) when we arrived; Sally W, Liz v, Blaine S, Anne J, Susan G & Karen B; Kris T; Gabby A; and Nello B. One skier who I've seen regularly out there was parked on one of the bridge abutments at Baker Creek having a snack and a glass of wine. Where does it get better than that? I should have gotten a pic!

I heard an astounding report about Quigley from two different skiers today. Apparently it is still skiable if you don't mind a little grass. If we get more snow down here maybe we'll go back there. We were planning to take tomorrow off but maybe we'll go to Q for a little ski and look around.

2020 Dec 10, Thursday:  Today was another honest training day. We were on classic skis at Prairie Creek, both on skins. The ski choice was based on the BCRD website saying NO grooming south of the PC junction or around the loop. Wrong! We fell for the Disinformation Bureau headfake again. We almost didn't drive up this far because of the inaccurate report. However, all was groomed.

Our training plan for today was to do some uphill intervals with the pulse monitor on. We did about a half km uphill from the top of the first little climb about a half km west of the junction on the north side of the loop. Total for this part of the workout was 3 times through with a work:rest ratio of about 1:1. Each uphill climb was approximately 4 min so, with 4 min rest, it was an 8-minute interval cycle. Twelve minutes hard and twelve minutes easy. My heart rate topped out at 147 and Grace's was 165. Neither of us felt particularly stressed and will look for a bit longer uphill the next time out. As it was, we got what we wanted.

Following the intervals we skied EZ until we had about 2 hours total and 13 km. It was during this part of today's workout that we got to the heart of the mission. Cdr Wingnut from Space Force Command had again contacted us to help track down some suspicious activity in the area. He sent out a special alien portal RF detector that we were to use to find the entry point for Bigfoot earlier. With that detector we could accurately locate the portal. For you radio afficianados out there the signal from the portal was 40 dB over S9. Screaming strong to the layman. Then, with the previously supplied x-ray vision goggles, we were able to see into the alien dimension. As the pix below show, what appears to be an innocent twisted limb on a pine tree is ACTUALLY an alien portal. With the special goggles you can clearly see that we are being watched. The left-side pic is without the goggles and the right-side is with goggles.

2020 Dec 9, Wednesday:  Today was a technique practice day on skate skis. We've had enough 'just ski' days building endurance. Today was a day to work on those deficient areas. My main problem skating, for years, is that I can EASILY skate without poles but when I put the poles in the mix, my legs just don't do their part. Today we worked on that. Put in at Cathedral Pines around 10:30 and headed south for about a km just to get warmed up. Then we turned around and headed up to just past the 15 km marker doing nothing but V2. At the turnaround we did the same drill on the way back, stopping at the base of the hotsprings hill to practice some repeats going from V2 to V1 (transitions). We finished up a couple of km south of Cathedral and then back to the car. A total of about 2 hours and a bit more than 15 km.

My hip abductor muscles were completely trashed after the workout. It was cold, slow snow and forcing myself to use more legs in the ski really worked me out. I have been doing hip-abductor specific exercises (Pilates based) all summer and fall and it's about time to put them to some use.

2020 Dec 8, Tuesday:   Very little to report today. Just another boring and tedious 17 km classic ski from about the 9.5 km point up to the 18 km point and back. Put in at Cathedral Pines at 10 and first skied south and then north. Tracks were cold and solid. I was on skins, Grace on waxables + Rode blue extra. Best kick and glide I've had. Didn't kick out anywhere and only grabbed on one spot on the return trip. Grace was losing kick near the turnaround but didn't rewax since we were headed downhill. Skied for about an hour with Marilyn & Tullio C. Saw Roger M & Francette L; and Gabby A. Most of the skiers we saw were on classic skis. We were the 4th car at the parking area when we arrived but there were 16 when we returned. The trails were mucho mas crowded later.

The trail is still in great shape. No sign along this stretch of any meltout. A few days ago the area around the hot springs was starting to look thin with some gravel showing but clean as a whistle today. Didn't see any signs of BCRD moving snow onto the trail so maybe just constant grooming is doing the job.

Out for 140 min today. This is turning out to be a MASSIVE training month so far for both of us. We are both on track for more than 60 hours this month. If we could keep that up all year it would be over 700 hours. I haven't done that much since I was a kid. Or, at least, early 70s.

I got the following report from Ted:

"Classic track at Durrance was icy and not much fun with a slight headwind, but coming back was fast and okay. That said, I wouldn't go back out there until we get some new snow. Skate lane looked to be okay."

2020 Dec 7, Monday:  Skate day on the flats. Put in at around 10:45 at Cathedral Pines with Ted and Grace. Roger M showed up at the same time. We skated south to about the bridge over Boulder Creek. I stopped to get the pic at left of hoar frost on the ground and bushes. Not a bad morning greeting. Platform was hard packed and flat - nicely corduroyed. It was the best skate day I've had this season. Temps are finally getting high enough to make skating a pleasure. On the way down we ran into Blaine S and Liz v who were on classic skis. Blaine has been having some trouble classic skiing this year because of his back but seemed to be okay so far today. We turned around and headed north and Ted peeled off at Cathedral to switch to classic skis. Grace and I continued to just past the 15 km marker at Baker Creek. Both of us felt really good and we decided to do a little time trial south back towards Cathedral. Mine was 3.7 km and Grace's was 4 km. Paces were good. My speed was faster than I did the BMT 15 km last year. The uptempo felt pretty comfortable.

In addition to the skiers mentioned above we also saw Kris and Susan T; Jon H; Jim K; and Nello & Jenny B. I also talked to Dan Pastick the ONLY chef left at Tundra in Hailey. His story about the restaurant business is just overwhelmingly heartbreaking. Kind of ruined my day but I'm not in his shoes.

2020 Dec 6, Sunday:  My goodness, what a mob. We set out from Hailey at about 10 this morning intending to put in at the 16.5 km point just below Spruce Creek. Signs were bad. Skiers everywhere on the way up. Guess we should not have had the extra cup of coffee!! Anyhow, there were NO parking spaces left at our proposed start point and Blaine S was walking with his skis over to the start. And, he had a big grin on his face, so he must have gotten the last space. Remind me to let the air out of his tires one of these days. So, we headed on up to Prairie fearing that we might just strike out today. As it turns out, we got one of the 10 or so left. No problem. But Billy's was pretty tight at that point as well. The pic at right shows the waning moon over the mountain ridge from the parking area.

We slapped on the classic skis and headed out toward the junction. The BCRD web site reported that ALL had been groomed so we planned to head north toward the lodge. In fact, they had not groomed north of the junction but we skied up anyhow. Tracks were still in good shape but very glazed in the bottom. It was a bit slippy at times. We skied up to the 27.5 km point, just at the base of the big uphill, and turned around. Passing the junction again, we skied down almost to Russian John and came back. Adding a little out the loop we got a bit more than 20 km in just a nickel under 3 hours. Only one bad spot to be noted: about a half km north of the junction under some thick tree cover there a a spot that actually goes down to the ground. Elsewise, nothing bad to be found.

Holy Frijole Batman did we see a lot of skiers today. If you weren't out there, where the hell were you? Some of those were Blaine S; CRank & Jon H; Carol M; Mike W & Bob R; Muffy R & Joney O; Linda M & Kate R; Kris & Susan T; and Rick K.

When we left around 1:45, the place was still packed with newcomers filling spaces as other skiers left. The other parking areas we passed on the way home were busy. Must have been every skier in the County.

2020 Dec 5, Saturday:  Rest day.
2020 Dec 4, Friday:  Back to what feels the best - a good 2 hour classic ski at Prairie Creek and surrounding areas. Looks like Fast Freddy the groomer was back because the tracks were quite (unnecessarily) shallow in some places. There is plentiful snow and no sign of freeze-thaw cycles. Oh well, great ski anyhow. I was pretty tired at the start - felt like I was running on about an eighth of a tank. After about a half hour things loosened up and the rest of the ski was great.

The trails were NOT crowded today. Hard to understand. Beautiful day, blue sky and no wind. But, we set out late on the way north and there were only one or two cars in each parking area at about 10:30. We were the sixth car in the PC parking area. Where was everyone? When we got done at about 1 pm, there were only 18 cars in an area that holds 40 or so. The pic to the left shows 4 parking spaces right in front of the trail access point. On the way back to town there were not many cars except at Cathedral Pines and Murphy's Bridge parking.

Our mission today was three-fold: 1) to have a great ski; 2) to check on June L's rumor about bad spots in the PC loop, reported yesterday; and 3) to track down those fraudulent votes in the presidential election that we had recently received secret intel about from Space Force Commander Wingnut.

The first was no problem. Check that one off. The second one was no problem either. Must have been a bogus report from the LameStream Media that drifted June's way. We saw three spots of concern on the PC loop: there were two sizeable rocks on or near the trail that had been clipped by the groomer. One was off to one side and presented no problem. The second was near the far end of the loop and was in the trail. If you ran into that it would be serious. But as blind and immobile as I am at the moment it was not a problem for me. The third hazzard was at the bridge where, on the north side, the groomer is exposing some of the wood planks. Not dangerous but concerning. Apart from these there were a few dark spots in the trail that were the result of trees shedding. Also on the north side were a very few areas under trees on the south-facing aspect where the ground is showing. If we don't get some snow these could grow into a problem. Nothing to worry about now.

The third issue mentioned above can now be shown to the public. Commander Wingnut has reviewed the evidence and finds that everything is in order and suitable for widespread distribution. In spite of the fact that several local investigators reported to us today seeing numerous Croatians destroying ballots, the enclosed pic clearly shows that Bigfoot himself was involved. The pic obviously shows him tampering with US Postal Service tubs filled with ballots THAT WERE ALL MARKED KANYE FOR PRESIDENT. You can see his evil red face and beady black eyes (typical of a Godless Commie) as he revels in the destruction of Federal property (a criminal offense punishable by 5 years to life at Guantanamo prison) and the subversion of democracy. There must have been AT LEAST 7,000,000 uncounted ballots. They were hidden in the cabins on the Prairie Creek loop. Only our secret x-ray vision goggles provided to us by Cdr Wingnut allowed us to spot them. We got into the locked vault where they were stashed using our Space Force decoder ring. We are so glad that we were able to help in this fight to save our great nation. We would accept the medal of freedom, of course, but, please, no Nobel Prizes. We are just far too modest for that.

2020 Dec 3, Thursday:  And now for something completely different! A skate day in the cold snow. Put in at 16.5 km below Spruce Creek and skied up to the Mountain Goat Site a couple of km above the Prairie Creek junction. Added a little at the bottom toward Baker for a total of 16 km. The pic to the right is iron-clad proof that this was not a fraudulent ski. That was much harder work than the classic skiing we've been doing but, hey, we wanted a change of pace. I think I'll go back to classic tomorrow.

Talking to June at the junction, I found out she had heard that there were a few bad spots on the south side of the PC loop. We didn't see any problems along the section of the Harriman we were on. Weather was again perfect. Like the lack of wind even though it results in a 'Stagnant Air' warning from the NWS.

Even with the slow snow, I managed a 1 km downhill time trial on the way back. Fastest speeds were around 2:30/km. Pretty much in line with my other TTs for the last 20 years.

It was pretty busy today. Ran into June L and Ralph J (plus a few Califoreigners) right at the start. Also saw Mike W; Jon H, CRank & Gary B; Hans M (skating!); Sam E (saw Robin at senior day at Albertsons this morning); and a bunch of SVSEF skiers heading uphill.

The parking area at our starting point was nearly maxed out when we got there and again when we left. The other parking places, as we headed south, were mostly pretty full as well.

2020 Dec 2, Wednesday:   Sadly, just another of those ordinary, humdrum spectacular ski days in the Wood River Valley. We are just getting fed up with no wind, blue skies and perfect grooming. Speaking of which, the tracks were back to their way better quality condition. I think this verifies what Steve H told me yesterday. Today, we got a groomer who was a bit more careful setting track. Mostly deep and firm everywhere with only a few minimal shallow spots.

Once again put in at Murphy's Bridge parking and classic skied north to the 15 km marker and back. It's getting easier all the time. Spent two hours on skis. If Grace hadn't gotten down to play in the snow and I hadn't stopped for pix it would have been dang fast considering that we weren't working too hard.

The pix, by the way, are of the Boulders from Cathedral Pines (at left) and the Wood River looking south at the bridge below the hot springs (at right).

Again not so crowded. We were the second car to park at 10:30 and saw only Bill N and Jenny B that we knew.

BCRD Acquires the RudyCat!!

2020 Dec 1, Tuesday:   The newest snow mangler, shown in the pic to the right, was found at Four Seasons Landscaping back east. The owners said it drooled a dark stain everywhere and ruined all their projects. However, Eric's main guy Ross said he could deal with it so here it is! This mangler can butcher any amount of new snow and whip it into a CRAZY groomed trail! Can you believe this? What a STEAL for Blaine County. We sure CHEATED somebody on this one. I hope it wasn't FRAUDULENTLY obtained. That could have SUPREMELY serious legal consequences.

All seriousness aside, another fantastical classic ski day. Put in at Murphy's Bridge parking area around 10:45 and went north to about the 16.5 km put-in spot. (Almost) nary a soul on the trails all day. Saw only very few skiers. Among the ones we know were Teddy R (+ mutt); Steve H; Nello B; Susan T; and C Monte. We got 20 km in about 2:50. Longest and farthest for either of us. I seemed to have shaken the problems of yesterday and had a great ski.

The tracks were variable: very good in some spots and extremely shallow in others, the result of the hard pack snow. I talked to Steve H about this and his opinion was that the equipment is perfectly capable of dealing with the hard pack it's just that the SnoCat drivers are going too fast. Sounds like a reasonable explanation to me.

2020 Nov 30, Monday:  Another classic down low and flat. Trying to recover from yesterday. Skied from Murphy Bridge parking up to Baker Creek and back - a 14 km ski in a bit more than 2 hours. The trails are still good but I noticed that the tracks were a bit shallower now that it's getting so hard packed. With no snow in the forecast I'm thinking we should stay with classic while we can. I really worked to keep things under control but am still pretty tired.

We closed out the month of November with 13 days of skiing. Higher than average for the month. The bulk of the skiing was classic. Three days at Quigley and the rest along the Harriman.

A lot less crowded today since it is not a weekend. I would say that about half of the people we saw today were skiers we know unlike this past weekend. Among those seen were Andy A; Karen B (+ mutt); Jenny B; Sam E, Marshall P and Teddy R (+ mutt); Anne J and Jack S; Darlene Y (+ mutt); Peter W; Don and Lisa B (+ mutt); and Charley F.

2020 Nov 29, Sunday:   Another stunningly glorious classic ski today. We mostly repeated the route that we did three days ago for another 18 km, 2 3/4 hour ski. I was on my skins and Grace was using waxables. I did a little test for the first 5 km or so where I just skied behind her to compare the two. I couldn't see a nickel's worth of difference. I climbed hills just as well (in fact, she kicked out a few times and I did not) and the downhills were similar. I'm still nursing one of my knees from my fall in the BMT almost two years ago, so I scrub off speed and don't ride the tracks. Just don't want to be back in my knee brace again if I can help it. Tracks were deep and firmly set, skate platform was flat and corduroyed. Could not ask for much more. Classic still seems easier. Skaters we talked to complained about the slow, cold surface. Parking at the 16.5 km put-in was crowded. Most people there since we started skiing. Also saw hordes of skiers everywhere on the way back to town. Glad tomorrow is a workday!

Ted texted me that he had a good late afternoon classic ski from Murphy Bridge up to Cathedral Pines and back without many other skiers.

Ran into Hans M; Carol M; Brenda S; Susan and Kris T; Mike W; Roman C; Ralph J; Lucy B; Glo K and Kathryn S along the route.

2020 Nov 28, Saturday:   Day off for Grace & Mel. Time to wax skis.
2020 Nov 27, Friday:  Ho hum, another ski. Stayed low and slow today trying to recover from the last few days. Put in at Cathedral Pines around 10:30 - third car in the parking area. Classic skied down a ways and then up to a bit past Baker Creek (15 km marker). I was back on my skins and Grace stayed with waxable. I played around a bit with my Rottafella Move binding. Pretty neat to be able to adjust kick/glide on the fly even if it did cost more than the ski! Total of 12 km and about 2 hours with all the stops to talk to other skiers. That's 5 days without a break, so tomorrow is a day off.

Ted Angle filed this report:

"I think the trails and the weather are at a point where you can expect pretty darn good skiing from 10 AM to sunset - and then maybe into the moonlit evening...given you are able to hit the wax just right. Today, I did not hit the wax just right!! Nevertheless I classic skied from Spruce Creek to Prairie Creek plus a bit and back and ran into a few friends for the first time this season: Bob and Sarah, Hans M, Jim K, Peter W, Del P and EJ. There were others who passed with a relative closing rate approaching the speed of sound that didn't allow me to make a positive ID."

Can't remember all the people Grace & I saw today but it was a bunch. Here were some: about 10,000 SVSEF skaters with Ashley K trying to control the mob; Marilyn & Tullio; Susan, Jim & Blaine; Pat S; Gabby; and Jim M. Parking area was packed when we got back. It's a good thing that most skiers are sissies who are afraid of the cold. If you want to ski without the crowds, you need to get out early.

BCRD Unleashes the Kraken-1 Trail Bully!!

2020 Nov 26, Thursday:   The new beast, shown in the photo to the left, is known as the SnoKraken locally and is designed to whip the unruly trails into submission. It can also count votes when it's not too busy grooming. The grooming with this thing is truly biblical! It was just finishing today's grooming and, unfortunately, appears to have devoured a hapless skier along the way. We spotted it briefly on our ski, at a safe distance of course. Quoting Tennessee Ernie Ford: "If you see me comin', better step aside. A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died."

Our ski, by the way, was a spectacular 2 3/4 hour classic ski from the 16.5 km put-in to Prairie Creek and back, including some of the loop and a bit more toward Baker Creek. Got a total of 18 km. What a grand day on snow and not very crowded. On the way back we saw more cars at the Cathedral Pines parking area than ever before but the campground parking area wasn't too busy and neither was Easley. There were a few spaces left at the NRA lot. We had NO trouble parking at our spot today.

Saw June, Ralph and Gabby; Carol and Jon; Marilyn and Tullio; Roman; and Jim and Linda today.

2020 Nov 25, Wednesday:  Moose update - Cindy Hamlin sent the following email to Ted Angle, which he forwarded to me:

"Also FYI there are two bull moose on the Harriman so keep your eyes open. I was fortunate to be able to watch them spar on our trail sunday around 4:30. It was breathtaking! Luckily no one was skiing."

The photo at left is Cindy's.

Today was a complete R & R skate session after the last two hard skis. We put in at Murphy's Bridge parking after driving north to find too much snow. As it was, there were 1-2 inches on the ground and it snowed the entire time we were skiing. We went to Cathedral Pines and returned - a bit more than an hour at our slow pace. The pic to the right is the area around the 10 km marker. No sign of moose or tracks today.

Hardly anyone parked at the Murphy's Bridge area and our section of trail was empty. We saw a bunch of cars at the campground parking area on the way back to town. Traffic in Ketchup was heavy.

2020 Nov 24, Tuesday:  Two+ hour skate today from the Murphy Bridge parking area up to the 16.5 put-in below Anderson Creek. Both of us were on structureless skis with cold glide wax. Snow temp at the start was 12 F, notably colder than yesterday. Air temp was also less comfortable. It was slow going uphill but we found a good pace. Probably would have done more but we needed to get to Roman's to pick up our bread order. Got 18 km anyhow and had some pretty good speed coming downhill. Both of us registered times faster than 3 min/km in some spots. Another PDG ski day out here in the middle of nowhere.

Again ran into some people we know: Karen B, Lucy B + friend, ej, Brooke, Carmen & Ed and Carol M. Parking areas were crowded when we drove back to town. Definitely like getting out early. We started about 10:30 today.

2020 Nov 23, Monday:  Not much to report today, just another glorious ski day! Grace and I met up with Ted at Murphy's parking area around 10:15. Snow temperature was 16 F at the start. We were all on waxable classic skis with various combinations of blue kick wax. Everything seemed to work pretty well, except that I had to reapply a bit warmer layer after about a km of slipping. We headed north to Baker Creek on the lookout for a bull moose that had been spotted at about the 10 km marker according to a report that Ted got yesterday. Nada today except some tracks on the river side of the trail.

Uneventful day otherwise. Not very crowded. Longest and farthest ski this year for any of us. All in all a good anti-social ski.

2020 Nov 22, Sunday:  Day of rest today. That's a biblical requirement for you heathens out there. Prepped the waxable classic skis for tomorrow. Start green for glider and a variety pack of kick waxes from sundry sources, topped with two layers of Rode multi-grade blue. Should be ready for the zombies now.

La Tour de Prairie Creek

2020 Nov 21, Saturday:  Spectacular classic ski today around PC. The photos above tell the story. I never saw the loop look so good so early in the season! Fantastico ski. Got there about 10:15 with very few cars in the parking area. Around the loop we didn't encounter much traffic. Saw Bob and Betsy, Mike W and Gary B. After the loop we went down the Harriman for a few km. Got in 13 km all together. Longest and farthest for me this season. Tomorrow is a day off and we are going to prep the waxable classic skis. Enough of the skins for a while. Bob and Betsy said all blue kicked and glided great today.

The parking lot was full when we got back. Counted around 40 cars with people streaming in and out. The trailhead was crowded. Glad we got out early. On the way back to town most of the parking areas had a dozen or more cars. Where did all these tourists come from? When are they leaving?

2020 Nov 20, Friday:   Skate day on the upper Harriman. Put in at the Prairie Creek parking area a bit after 11. Thought it might be really cold since the Galena Lodge thermometer was registering about -5 F when I looked at 7 this morning. Wrong! It was really pleasant: blue skies and no wind. Snow temperature at the start was 15 F. We were waxed cold and on structureless skis. Perfect match. We stopped at the junction with the Harriman and while Grace adjusted a boot I skied out about a quarter of a km and got this fine pic posted to the left. If you know of a better view, please let me know.

As the pic shows, the grooming was perfect. However, it was still slow skiing and tough going. We went north on the Harriman from the junction. I got to the hill just before Owl Creek and turned around. On the way back I went about another km south past the junction. I was hoping to get a bit more time and mileage but I was whipped. Got about 12 km in 1:40.

Grace went on further up the Harriman and turned around at about the 27 km hill before heading back. She did about 16 km in 1:50.

Parking area was loaded with cars but very few skiers where we were. I guess most were doing the PC loop. Saw Ralph J, Jim S, Del P as well as Anne and Jack. Everyone was smiling. On the drive home we noted that most parking areas were packed and people were all over the trails. Pretty dang good day, I'd say.

Ted Angle just sent me this report:

"Skated today between Frostbite Flats and Cathedral 12:30 to 1:45 (many stops along the way for chit chats etc.). Skate lane was just about right for good control and glide. Classic track looked like it had been freshly set (this morning) and friends with skins were having a great time of it...I think it would have skied even better with waxable skis and the right wax."

"Wax of the day for skating - no wax! I'd scraped off the summer storage wax; did a hard brush with brass and nylon brushes; re-scraped and roto brushed with both course and fine brushes removing all but what little was deep in the pores of the base from last year...ie. no liquid wax remover used."

"AND, no wind and pleasant temperature - in the sun the whole time."

2020 Nov 19, Thursday:  Classic skied today for two hours from Murphy Bridge parking area up to Cathedral Pines and back down below the parking area. Put in at 10 a.m. - first car there. Another skier pulled in and got onto the trails before us, but nobody else. Light snow at the start but the tracks were very sharp and well defined and there was still corduroy on the skate platform. Very nice start. We were on skins again and everything worked well.

I originally hoped to ski up to Baker Creek and back. That would have given us a nice 15 km ski. But, by the time we got to Cathedral Pines it was snowing so hard that we could hardly see. Started back and probably had nearly two inches of new by the time we got back to the parking area. Much harder to find the tracks at that point. And less stable and slower. Along the way we met June and Ralph who had tried Prairie Creek and it was snowing too hard to ski there. June indicated 4-6 inches on top of the grooming. They also mentioned a bad spot in the Harriman south of the parking area as we were headed down that way. Sure enough, there was a place where there was ponding about 1 km south of parking. We turned around at that point and headed back. Got in 12 km before we quit. There were 9 cars at the parking area when we made our second pass by. Also ran into Kirsten and Glo along the way.

Ted Angle filed the following report:

"Did classic with skins today from campground parking lot to Murphy's Bridge and back around 12:45 to 2:30. Not bad skiing and not many folks out there. The track was starting to get a little icy toward the end. The only place to watch for rocks/dirt in the track was along the river and under the trees around the 4 km point. The skate lane had about an inch+ of fresh snow and looked to be a bit jumbled."

Susan Giannettino filed this report:

"[I] agreed to meet Anne at Prairie today about 11. Leaving Hailey in the sunshine, a small squall at the hospital and a full on blizzard by SNRA. Roads were a mess, it was really hard to see, and yet [I] motored on towards Prairie because that was the plan. Luckily Anne stopped at Easley, [and I] caught up, and it was an easy call to turn around. [I] saw Grace and Mel coated in snow headed south on classic skis in the blizzard. Big beautiful snowflakes, seriously coming down and no plow in sight. We regrouped at Durrance. With a humbling, 2-3 new inches on groomed slush. As we got done about 12:45, the snow stopped, the roads were plowed and just wet..."

Assuming they groom tomorrow (and the creek don't rise) we'll give Prairie Creek a try with skate skis.

2020 Nov 18, Wednesday:  Rain day, no skiing. Bought Grace a pair of snowshoes. I'll bet that BCRD is happy it saved the snow so that the rain could wash it away. Smart move.
2020 Nov 17, Tuesday:  When I looked at the BCRD trails reports early this morning I was not very optimistic. No grooming anywhere because we 'are saving the snow.' For Santy Claus I presume. Sure don't want it to get used up by the skiers. We were planning on a trip north today but decided we did not need to drive 90 minutes to get the same crummy ski we could get 5 minutes from home. So, after a stop at Hangar Bread and some high fives with Roman, we headed out to Quigley. I figured that we might struggle to get 30 minutes for the log and then head to Sturtos to pick up a pair of snowshoes for Grace.

We got to Q around 10:15, same as yesterday and, sure enough: no grooming - crusty surface - skier ruts. All as expected. What's not to like? But we ran into EJ and she convinced us to slap on our classic skis and give it a try. Bowie seconded that suggestion. So, out one more time in our skin skis.

Bam!!! Suddenly we were transported into a fantastic world of skiing. Unbelievable. May be the best ski of the new season. Tracks were beat up but provided enough stability for a really superior ski. AND, we got to test out the skins in pretty tricky kick conditions. I didn't kick out once today. On top of that, the glide was way faster than two days ago when we first came out. I looked at my GPS and we both hit 3:30/km on some parts of the trail. On waxless skis? Give me a break here. That's not possible. Well, Grace and I have 900 signed affidavits to prove that we aren't lying. Anyhow, we got in 95 minutes without a hitch. Even the skate platform seemed more stable than yesterday. The moral of the story is: Um, I guess there really isn't one. But we will probably head north tomorrow. Maybe they will touch up a bit.

A note about the ponding/ice dam issue reported yesterday. Today Quigley Creek was flowing but completely outside its banks. Water was running down to the ponding spot but we couldn't see where it went after that. The channel that used to carry the water was completely dry. Creeks and rivers are like cats. They just do what they damn well please.

2020 Nov 16, Monday:  Skated today at Quigley. NOT a very good day. No new grooming and the platform had not settled much more from yesterday. Very soft surface. We were on cold wax/no structure - not a good choice for today. However, the main issue was that, for someone of my weight, stepping out on one ski resulted in not much forward glide and quite a bit of sinking on each step. It was a struggle for two hours. We put in at 10:15 and noon would have been better. We skied to the end of the system and back and by the time we got back it was firmer from the warm temps and further settling.

The east end of the trail system past the pond was pretty bad today. The dog loop looked good. The main problem at this point is the ponding at 1.5 km out from the parking lot, where the main loop meets the classic only trail. The enclosed pic shows how it looked today. Yesterday, only a bit of the slushy ice could be seen. Today it's worse. We could see this ponding already earlier in the fall when we were running on the trails. Just a lot of standing water from the creek where it seems to have moved out of it's banks. Looks like this could be a serious issue this season.

Hard to know where to ski tomorrow. We would have been better off to classic again today. If they don't groom at Q tomorrow, we'll probably go north, assuming it will be groomed. We talked to Robin Potts who was walking her dog on Quigley Road. She skied between Cathedral Pines and Russian John yesterday and said it was mostly good with some soft places in the trees around Baker.

Anne Jeffrey reported to Grace that she skied at Durrance and it was very good.

First Day of Skiing for 20/21 Season

2020 Nov 15, Sunday:   Put in at 10:30 this morning at Quigley. The groomer was just finishing up when we arrived. The trails had been groomed with the Pisten Bully (PB100). I can count on two fingers the number of times the PB has been used on the first day of the season. The pic to the left was taken right out of the car in the arena. Looks really good.

Since tracks were set and looked great, we picked out our classic skin skis. For Grace, this was her first run on them since getting them late last spring. We skied the main loop, sans the biggest hills, all the way out to the east end and back. The tracks were firm and stable everywhere except for about 100 yards on the far side of the pond. Grooming was mid-season quality. Some grass and twigs showed through but largely very clean. We had a fantastic 2-hour ski.

It was not very crowded. We saw a few locals we knew but had the trails to ourselves. Some skaters and some classic skiers. The skate platform seemed a bit soft but not much. We'll probably give this a try tomorrow. Should really start to get good after a day of settling and another pass with the groomer.

Some of the native wildlife can be seen in the pic to the right.

2020 Nov 14, Saturday:  Snow report following yesterdays storm as of 7 am this morning:
Hailey: 9 inches
Chocolate Gulch SnoTel: 14 inches
Galena Lodge snow stake: 14 inches
Galena SnoTel: No report
Galena Summit SnoTel: 21 inches

We drove by Quigley Nordic around 10 this morning and someone was on the trails packing. If we don't get a bunch more snow tonight it may be skiable tomorrow although I expect conditions to be soft and unstable. May have another look later today. As of noon today BCRD were NOT reporting activity either on the web site or the grooming hotline.

2020 Nov 9, Monday:  No skiing yet but some new snowfall at Quigley. The included pic was taken above the first bridge just east of Quigley pond. The trails are well defined now with about 1-2 inches of snow. We walked out and back today in steady light snowfall. Most likely the snow was orographically generated.

The SnoTel gauges up the Valley are starting to register small amounts. This is always tough with light snowfall. Also, the webcam at Galena Lodge is showing about an inch on the snowstake. The forecast seems promising for the next week.

2020 Nov 6, Friday:  First report of the new season. No snow, just a casual walk on the BCRD trail at Quigley. The trails have been recently mowed with several passes. The accompanying pic shows the result. This is the view from above Quigley Road, looking south onto Quigley Farm. Click the image to open the full-sized file.

Now we just need some snow!!

New Season

2020 Apr 12, Sunday:  Put in at Easley at 10:45 and skated down to Cathedral Pines, back up to about the 16.5 km point and returned to the car. It was not a particularly good ski today. Most of the trail was very hard and icy with skater's ruts. The grooming web site said that the grooming was done last night, so it looks like the tracks were made before it refroze. At least Grace and I couldn't make skate tracks like that today when we started. But wait, that's not all! At several spots along the trail, the surface was already very mushy, enough that it was very lurchy on the downhill as you passed in and out of the shade. Conclusion: earlier would not have helped, later would not have helped. Just couldn't see how to make anything but a pig with lipstick out of this today. Not really worth the trip from Hailey to do this, so I'm not sure what we'll do from now on. If they groom in the morning, then we could probably get out a bit earlier and have skiable conditions. I doubt that they'll do that.

Also noted significant meltout in several spots, notably around the hot springs. Looked like we might be down to bare ground very soon.

2020 Apr 9, Thursday:  May be our last day on the lower Harriman. Put in again at Murphy Bridge pullout at 9:30 and skated 15 km total. There was a lot of snow loss overnight and several bad spots starting to show. Skiing was good and I got in a 5 km time trial as well. Thinking about not skiing again until Monday when it is supposed to cool down somewhat.
2020 Apr 8, Wednesday:  Another good skate day. Put in at Murphy Bridge parking at 9:30, an hour earlier than yesterday. Made all the difference. Trail was firm/icy with just the right amount of packed powder. Skied down to the bridge, up to Cathedral Pines parking area and back, about 14 km all together. Never really got sloppy while we were out.

A lot of people parked when we left but pretty uncrowded. Some people crust skiing.

2020 Apr 7, Tuesday:  I believe we are through the worst of the plague here in the county, so Grace and I ventured out to ski again. Put in at Easley around 10:30 to pretty soft conditions already. We skated up to the 18 km marker and back. The return trip was dominated by lurchy conditions as we skied in and out of trees. I forgot my knee brace and had to be really careful not to fall. Grace fell once on the way up, polling one ski while V2ing. She got up without having to take off her skis. A month ago she couldn't do that, so that shows how much she has improved in her struggle with the autoimmune disorder.

We need to get out about an hour earlier for better conditions.

Still seeing unnecessary groups of skiers. Boise has shut down all access to public athletic facilities because of abuse and Paris now prohibits all outdoor exercise. It wouldn't take much here for a pissed off motorist to report what looks like non-social-distancing and have the Forest Service shut us down. It already happened in Laramie and Grand Junction.

2020 Apr 2, Thursday:  Probably my last ski for the season was yesterday. This morning, I got ready to go north again for another ski. It is likely that it would have been spectacularly good. Then, I read two recent articles on Karen Bossick's Eye on Sun Valley website. There were pleas from a county commissioner and an ER doctor to stay home: Don't do any unnecessary travel.

We Nordic skiers think of ourselves as special people, elevated above the ordinary population. But, I cannot justify a 60 mile round trip north to ski as 'necessary travel.' It is not and it sets a bad example. It is just to please my own elitist ego. I can perfectly well exercise here at home without making these trips. And, yesterday, we saw several groups of two skiers, obviously not related, idly skiing together and talking as though there were nothing wrong. I no longer can understand why BCRD continues to encourage this. They shouldn't because people are abusing the priviledge, justifying it because THEY are certainly special. I am going to practice what I believe and hope I'm still alive for next ski season.

If the situation changes and, if there is still skiing, I'll head back out.

2020 Apr 1, Wednesday:  Again skated the Harriman, putting in at Easley around 10:45, then skiing down to Cathedral, up to the 17 km marker and back to the car. There were a few inches of new snow that compacted pretty well into the old snow. The skate platform was pretty firm. However, the new snow made the going a lot tougher today. Got 12 km in about 90 minutes.

Still pretty crowded out there but no problem finding a parking spot. This was my 99th day since Thanksgiving.

2020 Mar 31, Tuesday:  Home gym workout today.
2020 Mar 30, Monday:  Skated the lower Harriman again today. Put in at 10 at the Murphy Bridge parking pullout. Second car there. Skated south to the campground then north to Cathedral Pines Road and back to the parking area. About 85 minutes of pretty fast skiing. Noticed that the conditions changed a bit along the route but no problems. Only saw a few skiers and mutts. Got back to the car just as it started to snow and blow. Timed it just right.
2020 Mar 29, Sunday:  Day off today.
2020 Mar 28, Saturday:  Another good and fast skate along the usual route on the Harriman. Out about 90 min.

Still surprised at the apparently callous disregard for the plague we have here in Blaine Co. Why are unrelated people still skiing together? Even if it fits the letter of the law, it really is a bad model to follow. We have already lost one person and business owners that we personally know are struggling. Does your selfie for Facebook really need to be taken in this mess? The human race really deserves what is coming. Now I read that some Chinese patients that have gotten over the disease are again testing positive.

An up-to-date graph of the number of covid-19 cases is shown in the graph to the left. Click the image to see the full-sized image.

2020 Mar 27, Friday:  Another Harriman skate day. Put in at 10:45 at Easley, skied down to Cathedral then up to just past the Anderson Creek bridge and return the same route. About 100 min on pretty fast skate platform. Still saw quite a few skiers out but parking was no problem. Saw Shauna Thoreson who lives in the same complex as Bob & Betsy. She still seems OK.

Also passed Karl and Diana, Susan Thoreson, Nello and Jenny, Bob and Jacquie and assorted others.

2020 Mar 26, Thursday:  Harriman skate from Cathedral Pines to 20 km point and back. Nice 110 minute ski. Everything looked good. No problem parking. Lots of skiers out.

Today the coronavirus hit home. We saw Bob and Betsy where we turned around. They told us that their housing complex at Sun Valley had 6 confirmed cases of the virus with several more results pending. At least one of those was a VAMP that we know. Apparently most of it originated from a wedding of a well-known SVSEF skier. His mom was the first officially-reported case in the WRV and Betsy said she was hospitalized. We had met her and I know her daughter.

Later, the first Idaho deaths from the virus were reported. One of them was Lynn Bockemohle who was a regular BCRD Courtesy Patroller at Prairie Creek for years. We saw him on Wednesdays sitting in his vehicle, reading the newspaper, eager to help. My photo shows him volunteering at a Harriman Trail shovel day in 2014 when we had to haul snow for the Boulder Mountain Tour. Volunteering was what he did. It looks like he may have been one of the attendees at the wedding.

2020 Mar 25, Wednesday:  Home gym workout today.
2020 Mar 24, Tuesday:  Tried to ski up north today. Got to the SNRA and there was 2-3" of new snow on top of the groomed trail. Still snowing and blowing. Didn't look very interesting so we went home. Did a little walk out on Quigley road. We'll try again tomorrow if it is better weather.
2020 Mar 23, Monday:   Same ski as yesterday. Put in at Easley at 11 am, skied to the 18 km marker below the Anderson Creek hill, back down to the Cathedral Pines road crossing and then return to the car. Another 90 min ski. Trail conditions were really good. Everything had been groomed. No icy ruts anywhere. Fast conditions. Not as many skiers out today but the Murphy Bridge parking pullout was jam packed when we drove back to Hailey. We had no trouble finding a place to park.
2020 Mar 22, Sunday:  Skated the lower Harriman today. Put in at Easley, skied down to Cathedral Pines and then up to about the 16.5 km point (near Spruce Creek, below Anderson Creek). Generally good but very mixed conditions depending on where you were: Started out good and then really went to hell at Baker Creek. Looked like they hadn't groomed north of there. Lots of solid ice ruts from previous skiers. Below that it was just packed powder and skied well. No point in criticizing the BCRD because they really don't care whether or not what they post matches reality. Good ski for us. Out about 90 min.

I had talked to Ted a couple of days ago and he said that, on Friday, his chief concern was finding a place to park when he went to Billy's Bridge. We didn't find that problem. Plenty of parking available at Murphy's Bridge parking, Cathedral, Easley and Baker. Pretty tight at the 16.5 km point.

Skier numbers were another matter. I can't remember seeing such streams of skiers, ever. It was jam-packed on lots of sections of the trail. Don't think anyone violated the 'social distancing' rule but lots of people nevertheless.

2020 Mar 21, Saturday:  Sheltering in place. First day of state-ordered isolation for the county. Can go out to exercise. Will try skiing again tomorrow.
2020 Mar 20, Friday:  Pretty scary day of skating today at Quigley. Major sections of the trail are now showing bare ground and/or rocks and gravel. In many places where it still was covered my poles were hitting ground right underneath. I almost bailed when I saw the conditions. In the end, we did spend about an hour skating with no mishaps but I'm too cautious now to chance it again. Otherwise, the snow was pretty fast and it was a good ski. So long Quigley until next season. This was my 78th day since Thanksgiving. Not as many as last year but we started earlier this season. Just didn't have the snow on the back end like last year.

We'll continue to ski up north as long as they can groom. Tomorrow is rest day.

2020 Mar 19, Thursday:  County now on total lockdown thanks to the coronavirus. We skated for 100 min today at Q. It was fast and great. What an experience! Just for fun I skied every last meter of groomed trail today. Except for the unavoidable out-and-back stretches I probably only re-skied about a half km of trail. I haven't been able to do this all season until today.

Don't know how much longer we can do this since the lockdown order may affect grooming. For now, we'll take it.

2020 Mar 18, Wednesday:  Very slow skate day at Quigley today in a few inches of new snow. Coverage was still good even near the parking lot; didn't go through anywhere although we are going to have to portage soon. We got in about 80 minutes of painful, hard work but it beats lifting dumbbells in my basement. Today was my 50th day at Q since the first of the year. Seventy six total days this season. I am still amazed at every day we get to ski out there at this point.
2020 Mar 17, Tuesday:  Squeezed out another good, fast skate day at Quigley. I'm astounded. Also still using the big machine. Setting classic tracks not doing much good. They could probably pack up The Leslie and get by with smaller equipment.
2020 Mar 16, Monday:  Skated today at Q. Very fast and EZ for first hour but slow when it softened up. Need to get out a bit earlier than 10:15. Surprisingly good but not possible to guess what tomorrow will be like. I felt pretty good but Grace was a little sluggish. With things shutting down fast here due to covid-19 it will be interesting to see how long we can ski.
2020 Mar 15, Sunday:  Day off.
2020 Mar 14, Saturday:  Day off. An inch or two of new snow, more in forecast.
2020 Mar 13, Friday:  Must be our lucky day! We skated today at Q and it was fantastic. No sign of yesterday's bad spots. The regroom really did the job. Probably WILL make it through the weekend after all. We lasted a bit over an hour on fast snow. Wish WY had been this good.
2020 Mar 12, Thursday:  Another classic day at Q. I was again on my skins and Grace on Zeros this time. Hers are soft flex and worked great. Lasted almost two hours. Very discouraging to watch the melt-out in real time: a large section of classic track disappeared in about an hour leaving bare ground. Not sure we will get through the weekend.
2020 Mar 11, Wednesday:  Another classic day at Quigley, my 45th since Jan 1. Trails still holding up for the most part but some major melt out at bridges. Rumors are that Q will not be open next week. We'll stick it out until the bitter end!

My skins were again working well. No kickout and even tried my first hill at the east side. Grace, on the other hand just couldn't manage. We extended her wax pocket, put on universal klister as a first layer and red klister over the top. She still slipped. Not a great ski day for her. After we got back, we broke out the Zeros to see if they would work any better. Another try tomorrow. If that doesn't work it's back to skating.

2020 Mar 10, Tuesday:  Classic ski day at Quigley. Don't know why the snow is holding up, but it is. I tried out a brand new pair of Madshus skin skis that I got from Free Heel and Wheel in West Yellowstone. That shop is really good. I wish we had a ski shop in the Valley that compared. Of course, it helps that Kelly is married to Jack Hart who is the Madshus rep. As a result, FH&W has a very extensive quiver of demo skis. I was able to try out something that worked for me and then buy a comparable ski. It also doesn't hurt that the skis and boots were 40% off this near the end of the season.

Anyhow, they worked great. Grace was using klister and wasn't having as much luck. My skis really worked well on the icy track. I don't think I kicked out once! Too bad Grace wasn't able to find a pair that worked for her. Her demos were good but there wasn't anything left on the sale rack that worked.

2020 Mar 9, Monday:  Return trip to Hailey.
2020 Mar 8, Sunday:  Trails groomed with a snowmobile and tracks set. We classic skied on skin skis to test them out. I liked mine and bought a pair. Grace couldn't find a pair that matched her although the demos worked fine. Had a GREAT ski for two hours, much of it with Jeff and Mo May who we haven't seen for 20 years.
2020 Mar 7, Saturday:  It was NOT!! Doug's PB broke its tiller bar last night. The renovator was in place and dredged up random big chunks of ice that were not pulverized. The trail was a mess to ski. Way above my pay grade. I skied to the 3rd aid station and bailed out. Recorded a 5 km time for my records. Just nasty hard. Grace was able to finish and destroyed her competition.

A bit disappointing for me but, hey, better than getting drunk on Cold Smoke. Oh, wait...

Joined a bunch of rowdy old CO friends at the bar later that night. Made the trip worth while!

2020 Mar 6, Friday:  Well groomed Rendezvous trails, very fast and great skiing. If it's this tomorrow, it will be an all-time fast ski!

Saw Shawn and Tyler Scholl at bib pick up. Haven't seen them in a dog's age. Tyler is huge. He's going to run for CU next year. This is his gap year.

2020 Mar 5, Thursday:  Skied Rendezvous trail system briefly. As usual, not groomed a few days before the race. I need to learn to come late Thursday and skip the ski.
2020 Mar 4, Wednesday:  Day off.
2020 Mar 3, Tuesday:  Last day to ski before heading out for West Yellowstone. Skated for about 75 min today at Quigley. Red wax and some structure was the call of the day. Easy skiing now. Hope for these conditions at WY.
2020 Mar 2, Monday:  R & R. A bit windy, no interest in skiing.
2020 Mar 1, Sunday:  Skated for 90 min at Quigley. Put in around 11:30 and surface was soft and very slightly mushy in some places. But it was rocket fast. I was back to my rock skis with Swix LF Pink and some structure. I could hardly stay on the horse! Felt pretty rested and managed a little time trial on the way back. Pace was about 3:40/km. Not the fastest this season but I couldn't squeeze out any more. Skis were faster than my ability.

Things still holding up pretty well. Not much sign of loss of trail. Some grass on the Back Canyon trail, a brown spot or two here and there but overall good. The classic tracks, on the other hand, are really shallow in most spots. I'm not inclined to try classic skiing again unless we get more white stuff.

2020 Feb 29, Saturday:  R & R.
2020 Feb 28, Friday:  Recovery skate day at Quigley. Really, really EZ skiing. Track was firm and fast. We both used mildly structured red wax skis. Kinda wish it had been this easy yesterday! Out for about 70 min. Starting to see some rocks and gravel come through in a FEW places. I ran aground in the arena on a buried rock. Put a little extra structure in one of my skis. I'm thinking it will be pretty bad out there when we get back from West Yellowstone, unless we get some help from above.
2020 Feb 27, Thursday:  Hard skate day at Quigley. Did a 12 km skate at what we hope is race pace for West Yellowstone. I was happy with the ski but had some drink logistic issues that reminded me of my solution for the BMT: a short sleeved bike jersey over my race jersey so I can get to the fluid bottles.

Today was day 40 at Q for the current year out of 47.

2020 Feb 26, Wednesday:  Another EZ skate at Q. I was much better today. Grace a bit more sore. Did about 15 km today. Very empty parking lot. Surprising since conditions are still really good.
2020 Feb 25, Tuesday:  EZ skate day at Q for me. Still feeling pretty worn out. Grace seemed fully recovered and did some hills. It is still in pretty good shape out there. The trails are hard-packed powder but not particularly icy, even in the worst spots. Tracks are getting harder to set and are shallower than they have been. We definitely need new snow. Saw Ed C today and he said that the snowpack in the Wood River Valley is now down to 50% of normal. Does not bode well for spring and summer as it stands. We should make it at Q through the Rendezvous but I'm not optimistic about March.
2020 Feb 24, Monday:  R & R.
2020 Feb 23, Sunday:  EZ 100 min skate today at Q. Conditions were, once again, really fast. Tracks looked much shallower today. The parking lot was not crowded today but there were way more skiers at the far east end than we have ever seen. More skiers than dogs today!
2020 Feb 22, Saturday:  Recovery classic ski today at Q. Out late enough that we used our klister skis. Nice kick, good glide, well-defined tracks. Nice to be back where the skiing is good! Overall, a short, easy day. Out about 75 min.
2020 Feb 21, Friday:  Put in at Easley parking around 10:30. Snow temps were really cold and the snow was slow and grindy. We skied up to the Billy Goat overlook marker just short of the 24 km marker and back. That was a slow, painful ski. There just were not any gifts on the trip either way, including the downhills. The 24 km ski took us 3 hours to complete and we were really struggling to make it back to the car. If this is how WY skis, we are going to switch to the 10 km!

Once again, acutely aware of how much faster and better the skiing is at Quigley. The Harriman tracks aren't very deep and the skate platform is too slow. Still a LOT of debris just south of the Anderson Creek bridge.

2020 Feb 20, Thursday:  Another low intensity classic ski at Q. Same hard wax as yesterday for me, Grace was using Swix Violet. Great tracks, great ski. Tomorrow skate up north.
2020 Feb 19, Wednesday:  Nice little classic ski today at Q using hard waxes again. I was on Toko Yellow and Grace was using Swix Blue Extra over some Oslo Blue. I didn't do any hills of note. Grace did one little one at the east end. Not a very big crowd today. Saw Roger & Francette prepping for the WY classic race. Saw Ralph who is leaving for the Birkie tomorrow. He says he is ready.

Out about 2 hours.

2020 Feb 18, Tuesday:  R & R. Expect to classic the next couple of days.
2020 Feb 17, Monday:  Another skate day at Q. I was on my old blue-waxed unstructured Fischers and Grace on similar. Today was V2 practice starting from the arena and going all the way out to the east end, including all the uphills, downhills and straightaways. About 12 km total; probably the longest I have ever done at one time. Tried not to use any pole stroke unless it was V2. Otherwise free skate or ride the classic tracks. Feeling pretty confident about V2 now.

Ran into Anne who is skiing better than ever. She is really getting something from her coaching.

Met a woman who was skiing with two dogs, not on leashes. When she saw us coming she stopped and had her dogs sit still beside her until we passed. One was only 4 months old, so it can be done even with puppies. When I stopped to thank her and told her some of my recent experiences she said that these kinds of owners have no business bringing their dogs out in public and probably shouldn't have dogs at all. She said it really makes her furious to see the uncontrolled behavior. Too bad thoughtless people ruin it for others.

2020 Feb 16, Sunday:  A really, really good skate day today at Quigley. I was using my structured red/blue waxed SpeedMax skis and Grace was on blue unstructured skis. We did a lot more than I had originally planned to do because conditions were so good. We did the hills at the east end of the trail system and the South Canyon trail as well as a little time trial on the return. Out about two hours again today.

Very few dogs today and practically none in the arena.

Dog Incident No 2:  At the end of today's ski I wanted to talk to Blake Turner a bit but there were loose dogs everywhere. It may have been the worst day I have seen at Quigley. Two pretty large dogs were playing and managed to run into my bad leg. They were completely unaware of anything else around them. A woman who was the owner of one of the dogs told me that it would not run into me. Clearly she had not been paying attention or she would have seen that it already did. She didn't seem to care that I had a bad knee and didn't want to be hit by her dog.
2020 Feb 15, Saturday:  Great day classic skiing at Q today. Again using Swix Universal Klister. Both of us had good kick. Out for two hours.

As an aside, the pickup truck that was stuck on Quigley Canyon road the last several days was finally towed away. According to Eric Rector, the bozo who got it stuck managed to burn out his clutch trying to get back on the road. Apparently, he found another bozo to help him get it out.

2020 Feb 14, Friday:  Skate day at Quigley. Using Toko Blue skis with no structure. Put in at around 10:45am; snow temp at start was 16.5F. Probably should have been on classic skis; tracks were spectacular. May try tomorrow. Out for 90 min and did a 2 km up-tempo ski on the way home. Otherwise, nothing to report. Day 25 at Q since start of 2020.
2020 Feb 13, Thursday:  Skated the HairyMan today from the 16.5 km put-in (below Anderson Creek) up to the 25.5 km point, plus out to the PC parking area and back. A grand total of 20 km! Second one this week. We were on Toko Blue, structureless skis and had pretty fast glide most of the way. Saw way more skiers up there than we normally do at Quigley. Too many to name.

Lots of evidence of a high wind event recently. I counted about 8-10 downed trees between the 18 km marker and the PC junction. All had been cleared off the trail but plenty of deebree still on the trail. It kind of ruined the return trip for me since I really like to work the downhill from the Anderson Creek bridge back to the car. Just too much junk to take a chance. Also noticed several major changes of air temperature along the way. Peculiar stratification in the atmosphere at the moment, I guess.

2020 Feb 12, Wednesday:  Another day off.
2020 Feb 11, Tuesday:  Skated today at Q on unstructured skis with Toko LF Blue. Perfect match between the skis and the snow. Stayed flat for 90 min but ticked off some good distance.

The ice pond near the South Canyon Trail has completely disappeared.

2020 Feb 10, Monday:  Another great classic ski day at Quigley, again on Swix Universal Klister. We were joined by Ed Cannady today and spent about 1hr45min skiing. Temp when we put in at 10:45 was 10F. We did our usual loop plus once around the hill at the east side. Had a look at the remains of the animal pelt pictured previously and, after consultation with Eric Rector who skied by, decided it was part of the hide of a mule deer. Probably would NOT have been killed by a bobcat, so the tracks may just have been a casual investigation by the cat. Or, who knows?

Back to skating tomorrow to get back into the groove for Yellowstone.

Ice pond starting to retreat today.

2020 Feb 9, Sunday:  Arrived about 10 am at Q to classic ski. Because of the freeze-thaw cycle, we put on Swix Universal Klister out of a can (just sponge in on and ski). That nailed the wax. The tracks are very hard and shallow but the kick was great. Turned out to be 100 min of full recovery skiing to unkink from yesterday. With the forecast temps for the next few days, we will probably keep it up.

Ice pond still prominent where it was yesterday.

2020 Feb 8, Saturday:  Good night's sleep. Morning pulse back to normal (42). It's gonna be a great day. We put in at Q around 10:30. Didn't check the snow temp but was pretty worried about the freeze-thaw cycle. I put some additional structure in my Fischer Speed Max. Didn't need to worry. Everything worked today. We put in our first 20 km ski of the year at Q and only the second for the season. Skating was fast today. Did the hills at the east end twice for good measure and the near one (not the Winter Park trail, which wasn't groomed) once. I'm convinced that we can do the 25 km skate at Yellowstone, if conditions don't turn bad. We can make a final decision at the bib pickup on Friday. Cold Smoke Scotch Ale and the Slippery Otter here we come! About 2hr15min total ski time.

Did notice that parts of the trail are starting to deteriorate: the Outer Loop at the far end (south facing aspect) is beginning to show some meltout and the main loop next to the hill near the start of the South Canyon Loop is showing some ice ponds.

2020 Feb 7, Friday:  Tired! Morning pulse waaay high (48). Ted said we should take the day off, so we did.
2020 Feb 6, Thursday:  Put in at Q at 10:30. Saw Marilyn & Tullio & Roger M when we started. Tullio measured 16.5F for snow temperature. We were skating on mildly structured skis with Toko Red/Blue mix. Things were slick in places but pretty grabby later when the air warmed up more. I'm going to add some structure to my skis for tomorrow. We worked the hills and tried for some distance. Got about 2 hours of skiing in. We were both pretty tired from a big week of skiing. Maybe try for a shorter day tomorrow.
2020 Feb 5, Wednesday:   Arrived at Q around 10:45 again. Snow temp today 12.5F. Another classic day with no hills for me a few for Grace. I was kicking with Toko Yellow and she was on Swix Violet. Tracks were great everywhere with no blown-in snow today. We stayed out for nearly two hours and I really tried to keep the pace down to recover from yesterday. Ran into a few SVSEF skiers at the east end who were doing intervals.

Saw the critter pelt again today but no sign of the bobcat tracks. Check the photo at left to see if you can identify the owner.

2020 Feb 4, Tuesday:  Feeling fully recovered from the BMT: muscle soreness mostly gone, good night's sleep, anxious to ski.

No wind at Quigley at 10:45 when we put in. Snow temp at start was 4.5F, the coldest I have recorded since I started keeping score. Grooming good, tracks set everywhere, snow blown in many places. We planned a looong classic ski today to begin prep for longer races at West Yellowstone. We were kicking on Toko Blue. I had no slippage at all today. Grace had a bit more trouble. Out for 2hr35min, the longest ski so far this season. We did the hills at the back of the canyon.

Four legged predators were clearly in evidence. We stopped and talked to Rick Sanders east of the pond and he alerted us to a critter pelt up the trail. He thought it might be the remains of a beaver. He also saw tracks for 3 coyotes and what he thought was a wild cat of some sort. He mentioned seeing a small herd of deer up in the hills to the north of the road. We saw the deer, maybe 6-10. Also spotted the tracks and the animal pelt. No idea what the critter used to be but it did have pretty long hair. The tracks appeared to me to be a bobcat. They were clear and distinct around the pelt. Too bad I didn't have my camera along today to make a record. Also saw the coyote tracks in the mix.

2020 Feb 3, Monday:  R & R: tired and too windy.
2020 Feb 2, Sunday:  Quite a bit of DOMS from yesterday's race. Didn't have a great night sleep last night. Did Demo Day at Sun Valley Nordic in light snow. Around an inch of new over the groomed surface. Tested out a few pairs of Rossignol R Skin skis. Liked the way they slid on the flats (double polling easy) and downhills. A little too stiff for me on the uphills. Now looking for an R Skin Premium in a bit softer flex. I'd really, really like to do the West Yellowstone classic race one more time and not have to rewax in the middle. Also, I need to get rid of the fishy scales. The light snow and some fresh in the tracks was a perfect test for me. These are traditionally hard for me.
2020 Feb 1, Saturday:  BMT day. Great race for both of us. Right skis, right wax and great weather! What's not to like?
2020 Jan 31, Friday:  BMT tomorrow. Picked up bibs and did last bit of work on skis. Finally decided on red JetStream with light structure. Otherwise, just R & R.
2020 Jan 30, Thursday:  Last day on skis before the BMT. Really feeling good today. This is the first time I have tapered for a ski race when it has replicated the feelings of a swim taper: feel bad the first few days and then like superman the last few.

Put in at Quigley today at 10:45 am. Snow temperature at start was 15F. Temperature two hours later, when we left was 18F. Similar to Frostbite Flats yesterday. Tried both pairs of skis and got a clear indication that the Atomic Betas (20-years old) were the better pair. They were the ones that were waxed Toko blue before and were consistently better than the newer Fisher Speedmax skis. That nails the choice of skis. The red/blue wax seemed to be a good decision. So, the only remaining choice is the topcoat. If there is wind (as forecast) the blue is the better choice since there will be windblown snow in the tracks. That stuff is very sharp and draggy. Ergo, a cold, hard wax is right. If there is no wind then 400 skiers in front of us will have worn off all the sharp edges and the red topcoat will be right. I'll have to decide tomorrow afternoon when I look at the updated forecast. Otherwise, alles gut!

2020 Jan 29, Wednesday:  Put in at Frostbite Flats (Murphy Bridge) parking area at about 10:45 am. Snow temperature was 14F, the coldest I have measured this week, but probably because of location. Tested both blue and red wax skis and the call was pretty even. Didn't get a qualitative feel that one was performing better than the other. The time tests were similar: the red wax skis had a better average time/km than the blue ones but the blue ones had a very slightly better maximum speed. Conclusion? I am going to wax both pairs red:blue and test again tomorrow at Quigley where the snow temperatures are a bit higher. I'll just pick the ones that feel the best. Out for about an hour today. Snow temperature was still 14F when we left even though the air temperature was coming up fast.

Starting to feel good today after feeling sore and shitty the last few.

Met up with Ted briefly and Cindy H at the signpost. We discussed the BIG problem with uncontrolled dogs on the trail system, particularly at Quigley.

2020 Jan 28, Tuesday:  Another snowy day. Ran some errands and put in at Q around 11:45 am for a little more skating. Snow temp at the start was 24.5F. About an inch of new snow on top of the groomed surface and light snow still falling. Tried both blue and red skis again today. Qualitatively, the blue skis felt somewhat faster and the red skis just a tad grabby. I could easily V2 in the blue pair and only awkardly in the red pair. My GPS sort of confirms that: Fastest times with the blue skis was 4:21/km and with the red skis 4:28/km. This is not a super quantitative test but I tried to keep a pretty even ski pace (without thrashing or even trying race pace) on the section next to the hill on the way back to the car. Score another one for the blue wax skis.

Lasted about 45 min plus time to change skis. Planning to try Frostbite Flats tomorrow late morning.

Dog Incident:  While we were speed testing our skis in the arena Grace and I were charged by an aggressive, barking, large dog who seemed to be stimulated by our speed. I have been bitten twice in the last 9 months and am wearing a knee brace as a result of a ski accident last February. Both make me very nervous when I am charged by a large, out-of-control dog. I don't know the breed but it probably weighed more than 60 pounds. The owner was just practicing his skiing in the arena and let the dog run loose. He apologized to Grace for the dog's behavior. However, when I approached him and told him about my situation, he pretty much dismissed my concerns. His comments were: that I should be able to see that his dog wouldn't bite; that he could not control his dog; and that he wouldn't put her in the car because she loved to run around so much. Since I made no headway talking to him, I reported the incident to John Forsyth who was working the Quigley Courtesy Patrol at the time. John talked to the dog owner who subsequently put the dog in his car. The incident was seen by Ted and the dog's behavior was noticed by another skier in the area who commented to me that I could not know for sure that the dog wouldn't bite because it was so aggressive.
2020 Jan 27, Monday:  Met up with Ted for some skating at Q. My goal was mainly to test two different sets of skis: little/no structure, one with Toko Red the other with Toko Blue. Temperature at 10:30 was 18F. I did a few slides down the hill closest to the yurt and got not very convincing results. The hill course was about 0.15 km and steep enough to get a good start on release.

Blue wax skis: 25.6±0.6 sec   Red wax skis: 26.3±0.2 sec That's not even a 1-sigma difference. Statistically insignificant. Probably will just pick the ones that feel good.

Blue wax skis felt a bit better just skiing around. The red ones were pretty fast in the sun but draggy where the sun don't shine.

Spent about 75 minutes today. Not many km.

2020 Jan 26, Sunday:  ANOTHER rest and recovery day. Snowed most of the day and not very appealing to go out to ski. About 0.2 inches of precipitation recorded from Hailey up to Galena. I measured 3 inches of snow in our driveway mid-morning. Grace and I planning to get together tomorrow with Ted at Quigley to test out some skis, structure and wax. Time to start getting serious!
2020 Jan 25, Saturday:  An EZ recovery skate today at Q. Snow temperature at 10:30 was 22.5F. We were still on Toko HF Blue with Jetstream (left over from the Loppet a week ago). Toko's web site says that we should be using red or yellow. Nonsense! Skis were running fine. Skiers have known for a long time that these cold waxes run way out of range on the warm side.

A little up tempo on the way back yielded about 4 min/km with ease. I think I can keep up that level of effort for the half BMT. For me, that would be a great race time. Snow a bit fast for my skill level today.

2020 Jan 24, Friday:  Rest and recovery today. Getting ready for the BMT. Last hard workout yesterday. Spent a lot of today fixing the results file from the BG Loppet. All the published men's race times have a one minute error (i.e., the reported times are too long by one minute). The corrected version is posted on this web site in the 'Local Race Results' page.
2020 Jan 23, Thursday:  Skated at Quigley nearly 2 hrs today with Grace and Ted. Same general workout as earlier: technical work on the hills. This time we did some steeper longer ones trying to keep the technique under control and maintain an even pace to the top. Pretty tiring and rewarding. I tried a little longer TT (2.5 km) on the way back and was running at 2:25/km. The skate platform was faster and less stable for me today. It was faster than my skill level. As a side note, I fell today while I was warming up. No particular reason, my left knee just gave out when I stepped out onto the ski. No pain and no lasting aftereffect. However, this is the first time since my fall in the BMT last year that this has occurred. I'm going to wear my knee brace until after the race.

Saw Anne & Sally; and Andy. About 25 cars in the lot at 1 pm when we left.

2020 Jan 22, Wednesday:  Classic skied nearly 2 hrs today at Quigley. Tracks are getting harder to set, even with The Leslie, and were shallow in many places. Still skiable. I used two layers of Toko Yellow over one layer of Swix XF60. My skis were good in the beginning but got a little slippy after about an hour. I kind of wanted to do some of the hills on the east side but didn't because the kick wasn't great and I didn't want a big arm workout. Grace was on two layers of Swix Violet and had pretty consistent kick until the end. Not a big turnout at Q today. Saw Ralph at the far east end.
2020 Jan 21, Tuesday:  Went out to Quigley for some technical skate work today. Tried to keep the effort somewhat lower to continue recovery. Met up with Ted Angle and spent about 90 min working on short hills to get the climbing technique under control. After each hill climb we stopped and described how we felt and commented on each other's technique. Very profitable session! In between was relaxed EZ skiing, mostly working on V2 and V2 Alternate to get more glide and time on one ski. Finished up with a short, high-speed burst back toward the parking area, about 1 km. My pace was 3:20/km, the fastest since year before last. The skate platform was muy rapido. A lot of fun.

We also saw a bunch of people we knew today: met Tullio leaving as we got there; Leslie Howa (she said it was her first time there ever); John Forsyth looking ready for the BMT; and June who skied the whole thing several times I think.

2020 Jan 20, Monday:  Skated about 90 min at Q today on Toko HF Blue/no structure. Still recovering from Saturday but managed about a 3 1/2 km TT on the way back. Skate lane was pretty fast; we were running at 3:40/km. That's almost 90sec/km faster than the BG Loppet at SV on Saturday.

Saw Marilyn & Tullio; and Karen Bossick looking really happy, but pretty uncrowded in general.

2020 Jan 19, Sunday:  Pretty good recovery day of classic skiing today at Quigley. Kicking on Blue Extra was just a little slippy but that may have been tired muscles from yesterday. Definitely had not replenished the glycogen stores yet. Skied for 95 min.

Parking lot was packed, as usual, when we left at noon.

2020 Jan 18, Saturday:  There is no question that there is a God and that she is female. A reasonable god would just rain fire and brimstone down on me for my sins and be done with it. But no, that's too good for me. Instead, She creeps into my head in the middle of the night and convinces me to enter ski races. That's waaaay more suitable punishment for my behavior.

So, the BG Loppet has come and gone and I'll probably do it again next year if it exists. However, it was a complete miserable experience from start to finish with cold temps, slow snow and not enough juice in the tanks. My pace was about the same as last year but I only did the short race this year.

The turnout was better than last year: Jenny said 79 (I think) today - about 50% more than 2019. Thanks to her and Ted for putting on the race.

2020 Jan 17, Friday:  What a glorious day at Q today. Skated for about an hour with Susan G. testing our wax for tomorrow's BG Loppet. We were using Toko HF Blue. It was great. An effortless 3 km ski at the end at 4:17/km. Using The Leslie makes a Yuuge difference. As Jim Santa told us today: the skate platform is so wide that I don't know where to ski!

Looking forward to tomorrow GLWATCDR.

2020 Jan 16, Thursday:  Rest and recovery today. Getting ready for the BG Loppet.
2020 Jan 15, Wednesday:  Well, bless my soul Brothers and Sisters! They brought out The Leslie for the first time this season. That pig really can groom the trails. Skate lanes uber perfect, classic tracks uber, uber perfect. What a day. We really have achieved privileged white folks status at last.

We classic skied for 2 1/2 hours today on Toko Blue. Sweet kick and great glide. Did a little scrape down of the kick zone and then applied one layer on each of our skis. We even skied the Winter Trail Park today for the first time. The thermometer said 'colder than the underbelly of the arctic ice cap' but we put in at 11:30 anyhow. It was not really that cold feeling and we turned out to be overdressed. A really, really fine day of skiing.

Ran into CRank on skates; John Forsyth training for the BMT; and June & Ralph. CRank looked faster and more aggressive today than she has in years. She must be feeling pretty swell.

About 25 cars in the lot when we left. Ben says he may be able to get back onto skis shortly.

2020 Jan 14, Tuesday:  I heard my inner self today and classic skied. On Blue Extra. Everything was groomed and the grooming guy was out on the snow mobile for about an hour after he finished with the Pisten Bully, just packing the classic only trail. He finished off by setting track in same. This guy is good and careful. He's the one who spent all the time Christmas Eve in falling snow. Soft today but should be good tomorrow in the polar temps predicted. There was about 5 inches of new snow at Sweetwater this morning. That's 18 inches in the last three snowfalls.

We skied for 1:45 today, mostly with Marilyn & Tullio. Didn't see many others out there. A good day of skiing.

2020 Jan 13, Monday:  A lot of new snow at the south end of the Valley: we had 10" at Sweetwater and the Quigley groomer reported 11" there. Precipitation at other stations were 0.6" at Hailey Ranger Station, 0.5" at Ketchum Ranger Station, 0.3" at North Fork, 0.4" at Chocolate Gulch, 0.4" at Galena and 0.3" at Galena Summit. Clearly more precipitation in the south from this storm. It will be interesting to see whether BCRD brings out The Leslie for this. More than a foot in Hailey from the last two snows.

No Leslie and The Muffy looked like it had a problem (at least the cab was up and Ross was poking around inside). Not all the trail system had been groomed. It was soft and cold but we tried to skate anyhow. Stupid mistake: only got 4.5 km today with a lot of work to show for it. Should have listened to my inner self who said CLASSIC.

Not very many people today.

2020 Jan 12, Sunday:  About 3 new inches of snow. Classic skied at Q today using Blue Extra; worked great for both of us. Started out sunny but clouded over later. Flat light at the end.

Saw Jim; Ted; Anne & Sally; Brenda & Mimi; and a bunch of skaters from up north. More than 55 cars in the parking area when we left. I have never seen so many skiers at Quigley. Part of it was the ski free day for BCRD. Good thing they are using the Pisten Bully now.

2020 Jan 11, Saturday:  Rest and recovery today. Waiting for new snow.
2020 Jan 10, Friday:  Second great classic day at Quigley. Most of the system groomed for the third straight day with The Muffy. Classic tracks are getting harder to set and are shallower now. Should get better with more snow.

We skied for 90 minutes using yesterdays kick wax. Both of our skis worked perfectly.

Ran into Andy and Katharine; Marilyn and Tullio; and Ryan. Everybody smiling.

2020 Jan 9, Thursday:  What can I say? The grooming was perfect today at Quigley. The best all year by a big margin. The ran The Muffy over the entire trail system with TWO guys in the cab. That surely means one instructor and one newbie. Anyhow it was GREAT. The only thing is that the BCRD Mis- information Dept reported that the classic only track was reset. That ain't so, folks. They did some repair work at the far end where the ATV drove and moved some snow onto the far bridge.

We classic skied for a nickel more than 2 hours and covered most of the trail system without overlap. I was kicking on Toko Yellow (first time ever) and it was dynamite. It's warmer than the temps indicate, but I need a warmer wax with these stiff skis. Slipped maybe once or twice. Grace was on Swix Violet and was a bit more slippy.

The usual 20 cars in the parking lot at 12:30 when we left. Didn't see a patroller.

2020 Jan 8, Wednesday:  Skated at Quigley on groomed trail. The grooming? They ran The Muffy on the mutt loop and the connector to the Back Canyon Trail, then back on Shady Lane and up and around the South Canyon Loop. The rest was done with the Bobcat. The result: beautiful groomed trail for skate and classic on the mutt loop with TWO separate sets of classic tracks but unrepaired classic track + barely scratched up skate lane on the rest of the system. We were out for 1:45 and had a nice workout.

Ben reported some excitement in the parking lot. Some young female driver pulled in, then immediately pulled back out and smacked an incoming car. Then, she fled the scene. But, no matter, the Fuzz nabbed her pretty quick and justice was served.

I posted the Snowmaker Classic race results just now. What a shadow of it's former self this has become: 37 skiers this year; 120 each of the first two years we were here (2010-11).

2020 Jan 7, Tuesday:  Nice, easy nearly 2 hr classic ski at Quigley today. Good recovery from yesterday's death march up the Harriman. The grooming? The grooming report? No correlation between the two. Also the guy who doesn't know what classic tracks are for was out today 'touching up the skate lanes.' Result: driving over the classic lanes with the drag really DOES destroy the tracks. John Forsyth noticed it today and said he would report to Cindy. I doubt it helps much but good for John and thanks to him.

If he hadn't re-set the classic only track it would have been a shitty classic day. Skating looked fine.

About 15 cars in the lot when we left.

2020 Jan 6, Monday:  Put in at the 16.5 km parking pullout below the Anderson Creek bridge and skated to the PC junction, out to the road, and back down. Most of the way was pretty slow going. The lower section was newly groomed and fast. Above the Bully exchange, just north of the bridge, it had snowed 1-2 inches on top of the grooming. THAT was pretty hard going. Originally, we wanted to do the PC loop but it was just too much. Saw one patroller (Susan G) and one skier (Nello B) during the entire 2 hour trip. On the way back, I looked at my speed south of the bridge and I was hitting 2:20/km, so it would have been pretty nice if there had not been any new snow.

We were the only short-term parked vehicle at the 16.5 km pullout. Saw a FEW cars at PC. Only one at Murphy's etc, etc. Guess the party-goers went back home.

The round trip from my house is 64 miles. So, C-footprint wise, that's one trip to the parking area today or 16 trips to Quigley. If you love Exxon, BP, smog, oil spills and burning gas go for it. If you want a small footprint, better go to Q!

2020 Jan 5, Sunday:  Rest and recovery today. Going to skate from the 16.5 km put-in up to Prairie Creek on Monday.
2020 Jan 4, Saturday:  Nice little 2 hr classic ski today at the big Q. I used two layers of Swix Violet over one layer of XF60 (silver). Grace was on one layer of Blue Extra over one layer of Violet. A little slippy but great glide. About 25 vehicles parked when we left at around 1 pm.

The little Bobcat was back in the corral today. Looks like it was used to groom.

2020 Jan 3, Friday:  Maybe the Infinite Monkey Theorem doesn't really work at Quigley. As of 3 pm, the Ministry of Silly Reports stated that all trails had been groomed for skate and classic except the classic only trail. What we found at noon was that the classic only trails had been groomed today and everything except the South Canyon Trail was newly groomed. The skiing was good and it looks like The Muffy had again been used. The little Bobcat is now about 1/2 km closer to the corral than it has been for the past week. Keep at it little kitty, we'll have you home in no time.

We skated on cold wax and unstructured skis. The ski was pretty fast: we both recorded maximum pace times around 2 1/2 min/km. We skied out to the far east end and saw the section of trail where some bozo had driven an ATV on the trail system. I did a little time trial on the way back and was running around 3:40/km. That's the fastest this year and betters any from January last season.

Saw Frank and Miss Sue as we were leaving. He said that he was at Prairie Creek yesterday and recorded over 100 skiers there, most from out of town. He also said that moose had been seen at the far end of the loop by the bridge. Probably going to try a classic ski tomorrow at Q if it doesn't snow too much.

2020 Jan 2, Thursday:   The Ministry of Silly Reports was at it again today: all trails at Quigley groomed for skate & classic except the classic only, as reported on the web site. In fact, about half of the trail system was groomed and the other half left lying as it was after the snow yesterday. The good news: they used The Muffy to groom what they did do. The pic at the right shows the groomer returning to the corral around 10:30 when we started out. One thing he did NOT do was the dog/bike loop.

Got a two-hour classic ski done at a nice, recovery pace to make up for yesterday and the day before. Waxing wasn't quite right which really surprised me. Grace and I were both kicking with blue extra which should have been perfect: new snow, newly set track, cold snow temperatures. In fact, we were both slipping a bit. Could probably have used a component of violet in the mix. Still, not really an arms only workout.

Saw Jim, Susan and Sally; Tullio; Ted; Don and Lisa; and Karl and Diana along the way. Otherwise peaceful and quiet. Dead cat still lying out in the field. Looked like Ross headed out to help when we quit.

2020 Jan 1, Wednesday:  Put in at Quigley at 10:45 in falling snow. About 3 inches of new on the trail. SnoTel data looked like 5-6 inches north of Lake Creek. It was completely blind skiing for us for about 50 min. Didn't make many km on our fishy scales. Passed Ivana and youngest on our way back but not many other skiers. Sledders abounded. The ski today was on a par with tooth extractions I have had. Only this one didn't have the usual anesthetic.

Ben amended his skier count from a week ago to 135. He sold all the day passes that Cindy gave him.

2020

2019 Dec 31, Tuesday:  Skated from Baker Creek to the SNRA with Grace & Ted; then Grace and I did another 6 km from Baker north to end up with 20 km total. That's our longest ski of the season. Grace really had a good ski today. It's the best day of exercise for her since the onset of whatever plague she got in Laramie. Off meds, no pain killers and a great ski. She and I are registered for the 1/2 BMT and she's ready!

The skate platform was damned fast today. Had not been groomed since yesterday, no matter what they said on the web site. As a result it was pretty unstable for us. We just aren't used to skiing in such fast snow. It was a good test. We were running about 4 min/km most of the way. Hope to do that well in the race.

Today was my 110th day skiing since Jan 1 and my 16th year in a row to make 500 or more training hours. That was in spite of two moves and one busted knee.

2019 Dec 30, Monday:  Rest and recovery today. Going to skate from Baker to the SNRA tomorrow to prep for the 1/2 Boulder.

An Ode to Quigley

2019 Dec 29, Sunday:  Skated today at Q. Probably my last ski here for the calendar year. Using start green on structureless skis. Generally a pretty low-key session but found enough energy to do a 3 km time trial on the way back to the car. The grooming today was good. Skate and classic lanes where we skied were all re-done. Skating was much faster than a few days ago. Ran into Jim, Susan, Anne and Sally. Jim and Susan mentioned seeing tracks at the far east end of the main loop that they thought were cougar tracks. Grace and I saw them but can't confirm the ID. They weren't distinct enough for me to get a good pic. Anyhow, just to be on the safe side, we kept looking over our shoulders on the way back.

The light was flat again today but not really bad. There was a pretty good crowd again with more dogs than people on the doggie section. No wonder the big cats are starting to hang out at Q.

2019 Dec 28, Saturday:   Well, as you can see from the pic at left, Ross was NOT able to fix the problem. So, no Bobcat grooming and a not very encouraging report on the Dept of Mis-information web site or phone report. Our experience yesterday wasn't particularly good with the classic tracks. However, it was so cold that we decided to classic anyhow. Got to the Q parking lot at about 11:30 and ran into a couple of competent classic skiers. After we described what we had found yesterday they said the tracks were fine. So off we went. The older the snow gets the harder it is to get the wax. I had 2 layers of Blue Extra over one layer of XF60. Grace had one layer of Blue Extra. Blue Extra was what the skiers we talked to had used. Mostly, it worked pretty well. I slipped a few times but not bad. And, LO AND BEHOLD, today's groomer HAD repaired some of the damage from yesterday's groom. Not everywhere but east of the pond the tracks were really really good. All in all, a very good day of skiing. Got in about 2 hours at recovery pace. Just what we needed!

Talked to both the proctors and everyone was in good spirits. Pretty crowded today but don't have a count. Looked like 40 cars in the parking lot when we left at 1:30.

2019 Dec 27, Friday:  We are back to being second-class citizens again today at Q. You know, we are the ones who don't live in the protected communities up north. We wouldn't know good grooming if it snuck up behind us and barked. Anyhow, The Muffy had disappeared and no one seemed to know where it went. Our grooming was done by the Bobcat which, by the way, broke down on the trail so that the grooming job couldn't be completed. Saw Ross Coleman take a snow mobile out with a bag of spare parts to try to do a repair job. Should have called Fish and Game to shoot it.

The other thing is this: not all groomers are created equal. Whoever drove today just didn't pay any attention to where their drag was going. As a result it destroyed a bunch of classic track, at least on one side. So, what could have been been preserved to avoid resetting has been trashed on a lot of the trail. No matter, folks who live at this end of the Valley don't really amount to much. Who cares? Not BCRD, for sure.

Pretty good classic ski today in spite of the trashed tracks. I used Blue Extra and Grace used Toko blue. Just stayed flat and used it as a recovery day. A little over 90 min.

2019 Dec 26, Thursday:  OMG Boys & Girls, Moms & Pops, how can this be? BCRD brought out The Muffy today. That's the smaller of the two Pisten Bullys on site. The bigger one is The Leslie. They packed for skating and set track on most of the trail system. The exception was the Winter Trail Park, even though the web site says it was groomed. We skated about 2 hours today and did almost everything. Start green worked well for me; Grace was on Toko blue. Still a little soft. A couple more days of settling and grooming should make it perfect. Today was my 85th day at Quigley this calendar year. Since I resigned from the Exxon Mobil Board of Directors, I no longer feel the need to burn a tank of gas a day. Looking forward to a really, really good day of classic skiing tomorrow.

Ran into Anne and Sally; and Tullio today. Skied a bit with Ted, who was on classic skis.

2019 Dec 25, Wednesday:  Happy National Christian Commercial Holiday! A great Xmas ski at the big Q. Everything groomed, more than reported on the Department of Mis-communication web site. Don't know why they won't use the Bully but the grooming was almost perfect. The guy can make two passes with the ATV and not leave a trace of the overlap. We classic skied today for 2 1/4 hrs on Blue Extra kick. Put in at 10:45 and Ben said that it was 10F a short while ago. Kick was mostly good. The main problem I had was ankle stability: the bottom of the tracks was not as hard as it would have been if they had used Leslie the Pisten Bully. That resulted in more wear and tear on the legs than it could have been

Started off on the mutt trail and got to the tracks before the crowds. Nice! Did most of the trail system except for the bigger hills. Ran into a lot of skiers we knew: Ryan from St Lukes on skates; Tullio, Marilyn and Roger on skates; CMonte, Jim & Susan on skates AND Ted A on skates. By the time we finished at around 1, Ben said he had counted 84 skiers. His biggest day for the season. As we were driving out we saw at least 6 more skiers headed for the parking area. This doesn't include the hordes of sledders.

Speaking of which, the parking at Q finally has been improved to handle the crowds. What an upgrade!

2019 Dec 24, Tuesday:  Ah, the magical thinking of the BCRD mis-communications department. Last phone report for Quigley this morning as of 8 was for Sunday 12/22. Nothing on the web site then or as of 2 this afternoon. Grace and I went out expecting to do about a half hour in deep snow. But, much to our wondering eyes, they had groomed and were still out. When we left by 1 pm the guy was heading out for more. May his stocking be filled with good beer and roast beef!

The skiing still wasn't very good. Total whiteout. I went off the trail a number of times. But we spent about an hour anyway. I'd rate the ski just below a poke in the eye in terms of enjoyment. As a result, I did not have to take a zero in my workout log. It was a skate day.

The storm delivered a fair amount of snow locally. Up and down the Valley I got 3" at the Hailey Ranger Station, 4" at the Ketchup Ranger Station, 4" at Chocolate Gulch, 2" at Galena and 4" at Galena Summit. This is for the 24-hour period ending at noon today. Anecdotally, it looked more like 5" in the Quigley parking lot. Again, very few skiers. We only met one on the trail and only saw a couple of others.

If they reset classic tracks tomorrow it should be great skiing. Supposed to get colder.

2019 Dec 23, Monday:  Well, the creek did rise but we did our time trial anyway. Put in at Murph's parking pullout at about 10:50. We were the first car but another guy showed up a few minutes later. It was overcast and snowing lightly. There was about 1/2 inch of fresh snow on top of the groomed surface. We skated north to Cathedral Pines and time-trialed south toward the bridge. It was flat out hard work. A little secret we learned from the SVSEF Gold Team a couple of years ago is that any new snow, no matter what the temperature, has very sharp crystals resulting from its fall through the atmosphere. Just use cold, hard wax and no structure. We did. The sharp little buggers really were out today! But, hey, got it done. Probably will assist in getting to heaven in the afterlife. Probably won't.

Again, a paucity of skiers out. We ran into Ted skating on our way up. Had to do a double take. Saw another skier with a dog and that was it. When we finished our ski down and were leaving around 12:15 there were six cars in the pullout. Some of them must have been driven by dogs. Does everyone have 12 dogs?

2019 Dec 22, Sunday:  Rest day today, no skiing. Just prepped some skis for the coming week. Tomorrow, good lord's willing and the creek don't rise, we'll do a little time trial south from Cathedral Pines to about Murph's Bridge. Skating of course.
2019 Dec 21, Saturday:  Back to visually-impaired skiing at Q. Did a 90+ min recovery skate today on unstructured skis with Toko LF blue. I had a shiny new set of Salomon Pilot bindings I found at Sturtos and they worked great. Skied most of the trail system that we could see. Ran into Ted A on the classic only track and Tullio and Roger skating. Otherwise not very many skiers. More mutts than people it seemed. I guess skiers were out hunting down lumps of coal for their stockings.
2019 Dec 20, Friday:  First day to ski visually unimpaired at Q for a loooong time. Nice to see the trails, finally. In some cases, we were surprised at the trail location. Anyhow, skated for 90 min on scratched up skate lanes. Really good skiing and hardly used. I guess the fancy folks are going north again. Did some more intervals today and one time trial on slightly downhill terrain (you know, it matches the lower Harriman for the BMT). Unstructured skis with Toko LF blue were working well.
2019 Dec 19, Thursday:  Classic skied today in flat light at Q. Used best skis with one layer of Swix V50 (violet) over one layer of XF60. Pretty good kick when I paid attention, even though new tracks haven't been set for several days. Skied about 90 minutes. Gordon reported low 20s skier count at noon when we left. Maybe 15 cars in the parking lot at that time.

Today was my 80th day this calendar year at Q and 100th overall. Grace is a few days ahead of me.

2019 Dec 18, Wednesday:  Skated today in flat light at Q. As Andy Andrews said "this is braile skiing at it's best." Skate lanes had been scratched up everywhere and were pretty good. We were on race skis, no structure, waxed with Toko LF blue. Really couldn't let it out because of the poor visibility. Still, we managed to to a set of 4 X 2 minutes interval skiing on modest uphills, just to get the tempo and heart rate up. I topped out at 158, about 90% of my max.

The first bridge east of the pond was repaired today. Everything good again. Not much of a crowd. Ben said we were the 3rd and 4th skiers when we arrived at 11. When we left at noon thirty, he said that the count was 17.

2019 Dec 17, Tuesday:  Unbelievably good ski day at Quigley! Classic skied for about 2 hours. We used our best skis. I had blue extra over V50 over blue extra. Great kick even though track was three days old. By the way, for the first time this season the grooming reports agreed with what had been done: no grooming reported, no grooming done. This agreement is a corollary of the Infinite Monkey Theorem. Given enough random grooming reports once in a while the report and reality will agree.

Noted that the first bridge to the east of the pond was trashed. The groomer said that his equipment caused it to cave in. Also noted a rather large skull on the bridge from some animal war games. The groomer said his equipment picked it up somewhere on the dog trail and dropped it at the bridge.

Stopped to talk to Ed Cannady for a few minutes. He really seems to have found his groove since retirement. Also spotted Jacqui Howard. Don't think she has ever been to Q. Getting along OK with her new knee.

Not too crowded today. When we arrived John Forsyth told us that he had counted 5 skiers. We were 6 and 7. Only saw a few people on the trail. Maybe 10-15 cars parked when we left at 2 pm.

2019 Dec 16, Monday:  Too tired to ski! Rest day.
2019 Dec 15, Sunday:  Maybe the best day of skiing so far this season. Classic skied for 100 min today at Quigley. Most of the trail system was newly tracked. For once, what was there pretty well agreed with phone and web site reports. It looked like they used an ATV to groom today. It just showed up a few days ago. We (and some others) noted that it left TWO tracks on the groomed trail instead of the one from the snomo. It also didn't produce the best set of tracks at the far east end of the trail system: the track setter seemed to be interacting with one of the treads and one track would come and go. Apart from that, the new track was dynamite!

We used our best available classic skis today, waxed with blue extra as the final coat and LF red on tip and tail. My skis today are quite a bit stiffer and shorter than my previous rockies. They are faster, ride better in the track and aren't as squirrely out of the track. Today was supposed to be recovery from yesterday but, hey, when the conditions dictate it, let it out! We are supposed to rest tomorrow but the conditions are just too good. If we feel OK in the morning, we'll ski again tomorrow.

2019 Dec 14, Saturday:  Skated today at Quigley on unstructured skis with Toko LF blue. Most of trails groomed; still doesn't agree with phone or web site reports. We started around 11 and quit about noon thirty. Crowded in parking lot - more than 25 cars when we left. Did our first intervals in hills at back of trail system. Got my pulse max to 166. Pretty hard effort. Skied for 95 minutes. Good day. Skis ran well. No need for rockies anymore.
2019 Dec 13, Friday:  Classic skied today at Quigley. No new snow and some of the trail system groomed. Once again, the grooming did not match either the BCRD phone or web site report. Again, no obvious reason why the whole system wasn't groomed. There are more snow vehicles there than cars at Goode Motors. Ah, the inscrutable collective mind of the BCRD grooming section. I have noticed in the past that Friday can be a minimalist grooming day. Used the same skis as 10/10 with no change in kick wax. The track was noticably faster today and skied pretty well. We were out about 90 min going around the classic only trail, which was all that had new tracks. Too bad more wasn't groomed, it was a better day than our first trip up north.

A couple of other folks complained to us about not having the whole system groomed and that the Bureau of Collective Recreational Disinformation was active again. Maybe it's related to Friday the 13th.

My 75th day at Quigley this calendar year and 95th day of skiing.

2019 Dec 12, Thursday:  Skated today at Quigley. About 3-4 inches of new snow and about half of trail system groomed with snow mobile for skate and classic. As usual, the grooming did not match either the phone report or the BCRD web site. No obvious reason why the whole system wasn't groomed. The coverage is really good now and the new snow helped a bunch. Hopefully, one of the snow cats will be used soon. I skied with structured skis waxed with Toko LF red. Pretty slow going, not particularly soft, but skis not gliding well. Out for about an hour.
2019 Dec 11, Wednesday:  Skated today at Quigley. No new snow and only skate lanes were groomed with the snow mobile. The bad dog paw prints I saw from two days ago had been pretty well cleaned up. The surface was in good shape: level and not particularly rutty. I was using un-structured skis waxed with Toko LF blue and they were probably the fastest I have had so far this season.
2019 Dec 10, Tuesday:  Classic skied today on the lower Harriman. Put in at the Murphy Bridge parking pull-out and skied south to the bridge. Tracks were really well set in and the skate platform looked great. What a difference the Pisten Bully makes! At the bridge, we turned around and skied north to about the 10 km marker. The track was pretty slow for us. We were waxed with one layer of Swix Violet covered by two layers of Extra Blue. Probably too cold for the warm under layer. We had to be careful not to grab and pitch. However, north of the parking pull-out, the tracks were slicker. I've noticed this before and it may have something to do with the proximity of the river. Also noted the re-route of the Harriman between the parking area and the bridge. Maybe this will help with the flooding during the spring. Anyhow, nice ski. Our first trip away from Quigley this season.
2019 Dec 9, Monday:  Skated today at Quigley. No new snow and only skate lanes were groomed with the snow mobile. There were bad dog paw prints all over the dog trail; pretty unpleasant skiing on this part. The rest of the trail system had been scratched up enough that the skating was OK. Not the best ski but probably better than a poke in the eye with a ski pole. I was using un-structured skis waxed with Toko LF blue.
2019 Dec 8, Sunday:  Skated today at Quigley. New snow from yesterday mixed with rain. Produced an interesting surface. The trail system had been groomed. We skated and linked up with Jim & Susan. Using structured skis with LF red wax. Pretty good ski overall.
2019 Dec 7, Saturday:  Rain and snow today. Stayed home and took a rest day.
2019 Nov 29, Friday:  Day off from skiing to wait out the snowstorm. Should be good from here on. Looks like the South Valley is doing better than Galena. Local reports of 18 inches were common.
2019 Nov 28, Thursday:  Thanksgiving! First day of skiing. Skated at Quigley in lots of new snow. Grooming was pretty much one pass with the snow mobile. Lane was soft and narrow.

2019