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First hand Trail Reports

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Reports: 56
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Seeking New Trail Reports for: Hyland Lake(2), Mount Itasca, Greenbush.
Minnesota Metro Area

Twin Cities area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 27Lake Elmo Park Reserve    
Lake ElmoRay Johnston
Conditions: Thin but skiable. Classic only as skate would cut through to the ground.
I did the entire outer loop on both the east and west side. The east side is better. The west loop is very rough. I classic skied using blue hard wax. I skied on the side of the trail when on gravel based trails. Avoid the spur on the far east side due to ruts made by some truck. Skip the west trail until we get a thicker snow base. I had a wonderful ski today.
Nov 23Hyland Lake Park Reserve 
Grooming Scheduling 
BloomingtonSonja Bercich
Three Rivers Park District
Conditions: Hyland began making snow last Thursday night. Snowmaking has stopped due to temps rising above 28 degrees. Trails are closed.
The plan is to start up the snowmaking on Thursday night based on the weather forecast. Visitor Center is open until 6pm Mon-Wed, Fri for selling ski passes.
Nov 23Elm Creek Park Reserve 
Grooming Scheduling 
Maple GroveWayne Iseri
Three Rivers Park District
Elm Creek was able to make good progress on snow making this past few week but unfortunately the temps have risen into the upper 30's so we have to pull the plug on the snow guns and wait until we get more COLD weather. Let's hope for a week of low temps so we can open our ski trails and other winter activities.
Nov 23Theodore Wirth Regional Park 
Grooming Scheduling 
MinneapolisTroy Tschida
Minneapolis Parks and Recreation
Theodore Wirth snow area is fully staffed and ready to make snow when conditions are favorable. Currently the weather is not looking very consistent which is challenging at Wirth since we need temps in the mid to low 20's in order to make snow at this facility. Unlike other facilities in the area we do not have a cold source of water to make snow with which makes it difficult in marginal temps. We will be making efforts anytime we have an extended period of cold temps. We thank you for your patience.
Nov 20Hyland Lake Park Reserve    
Grooming Scheduling 
BloomingtonSonja Bercich
Three Rivers Park District
Maintenance is making big efforts towards making snow when temps will be up and down! A shout out to the Hyland Maintenance! We still have a couple of weeks before trails can open, but we are getting closer.
Nov 19Elm Creek Park Reserve    
Grooming Scheduling 
Maple GroveWayne Iseri
Three Rivers Park District
Elm Creek will start making snow tonight and continue until temps rise above freezing. Unfortunately the long term forecast is not cooperating for continuous days of snow making. Ideally we need cold temps into the teens and continuing day and night so we can make snow 24/7. Remember that Elm Creek Winter Recreation Area makes snow for X-C ski trails, tube hill, alpine lessons areas and a terrain Park. Be assured that our snow making crew that is staffed 24 hours a day is dedicated to opening these areas ASAP but we are dependent on Mother Nature to lend a helping hand. (Photos: Mark Lahtinen)
Nov 18Hyland Lake Park Reserve 
Grooming Scheduling 
BloomingtonSonja Bercich
Three Rivers Park District
We make snow when temps are below 28 degrees. We plan to begin to make snow tomorrow night (Thursday); night time only. We cannot make snow during the day until the temps drop below 28 degrees. As soon as daytime temps drop; we will make snow 24/7. We are anticipating it will take 2 weeks to get anything open; weather permitting. The colder the weather is the key to producing larger amounts of snow, faster. The warmer daytime temps will slow down the process. Trails are closed until we get enough snow made.

Minnesota Northeast

Iron Range area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 17Mount Itasca 
Grooming Scheduling 
ColeraineBob Conzemius
We are filling up the pond at Mt. Itasca, and the cold weather should arrive Wednesday night. By this weekend, we will be making snow at Mt. Itasca! The plan is to start Saturday morning, Nov 21st at 8:00 A.M. and continue until the temperature becomes too warm or the snowmaking is complete. It usually takes about two weeks.

Minnesota Northwest

Detroit Lakes area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 22Maplelag Resort    
Firsthand Scheduling 
CallawayJay Richards
Maplelag Resort
Conditions: Thin coverage, diehard conditions.
We had a few skiers out on the trail this weekend, skiing on the thin base. Suicide Hill has the best coverage and provided good hill workouts. Beautiful frosty mornings helped take off the edge but we still need 2-4" to officially open the trails for safe skiing.
Nov 20Maplelag Resort    
Firsthand Grooming Scheduling 
CallawayJay Richards
Maplelag Resort
Conditions: 1-3" fresh snow on top of warm wet base, slowly freezing down. 10-12km smoothed and combed. 21 degrees, brilliant sunshine. light NW wind.
The weather finally turned favorable for us Nordic nuts that enjoy cold and snow. The snow that fell yesterday fell on warm ground but slowly dropped to the upper teens by mid morning today. The snow insulated the ground and freezing down has been slow. To help facilitate the freezing, we ginzu groomed 10-12km of trail smoothing and combing including Sukkerbusk, Suicide Hill and most of Skaters Waltz. For the first groom of the year on such little snow, it went really well. Thanks to a fall season that has seen us put more miles on the mowers than any other year and the fact the ground was not frozen making for a softer ride. Later afternoon I skied on the trails I combed and found some pretty nice sections including most of Suicide Hill. We still need 3-4" additional to officially open. However, if you enjoy the thrill of taking risks on skinny skis and gliding through the forest, contact me.

Minnesota Southern

Rochester area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 23Honey Tree Farm 
Grooming Scheduling 
AustinStephen Williams
Back to grass. It was nice while it lasted.
Nov 23Honey Tree Farm 
AustinStephen Williams
Thin and a little rough but very ski-able until 10 AM when it got to warm. We will see what is left in the morning.
Nov 21Honey Tree Farm 
AustinSteve Williams
Conditions: Thin packed powder with no track set but the classic skiing is very good for Nov. 21st on 2 km of the south prairie trails. The trails in the woods are not ski-able yet.
Three inches of snow has been packed into thin layer that is very good for classic but too thin for skating. There should be good moonlight skiing tonight and skiing should be good tomorrow morning.

Wisconsin Northwest

Cable/Hayward area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 27Telemark Resort Trails 
Firsthand Secondhand 
CableAndy Schwartz
Conditions: Pretty good overall. Nice Skate surface. Serviceable classic track in most places. Good even surface for the first on-snow effort for folks like me who struggle with the transition from roller skis to snow.
A hamster loop for sure but a nice flat(ish) surface and a real climb. Plus it should be better tomorrow when they get the whole climbing loop finished.
Nov 24Telemark Resort Trails    
Grooming Scheduling 
CableBruce Adelsman
CXC has been making snow the last 4-5 days and will have a roughly 1K loop open for their Thanksgiving Nordic Festival. Hours are 9am-9pm Tuesday/Wednesday, and 8am-10pm on Thursday.
Nov 21Telemark Resort Trails    
Grooming Scheduling 
CableYuriy Gusev
Central Cross-Country Skiing
Snowmaking on-going at Telemark, planning to groom on Monday.

Other locations
Nov 25Trollhaugen downhill area    
DresserHenry Reich
Conditions: Standard skiing at Troll for a 45 day on manmade snow during Thanksgiving week.
Fun to see a decent number of people and teams taking advantage of one of the few on-snow possibilities in the metro area!
Nov 25Trollhaugen downhill area 
DresserBen Mullin
Conditions: Soft and slightly dirty coverage of a small area.
The base was covered from in front of the chalet to Valhalla this morning as well as a few of the downhill runs. Not much to do but go up and down the hills, but it is better than nothing. The snow was pretty soft since it was already 40+ degrees. It looked like the Anoka HS team was there early and the Hopkins team later so the place was pretty busy.
Nov 24Trollhaugen downhill area 
DresserJeff Bolte
Conditions: Trollhaugen Downhill Area early season. I was one of fours skiers, the only one on classic gear.
Ruts, holes, little combed snow, snow snots, grass, boilerplate, no track, all on the bunny hill out in front of the lodge, PERFECT! All the rough stuff is in one place on an easy hill! It was basic classic drills for about an hour and twenty minutes on the small hill. The no wax B set was first followed by the woodies, then back to the no wax. Here's the drills: stride up the hill, run flat skis down. Herringone up the hill, edged skis down, snowplow stop before the ugly stuff. No poles herringbone up the hill. Run one ski in a rut going down. Ride the uneven seams where the machine went along. I repeated various drill combinations then started running it over the messiest stuff as the hill flattens out to the grass. I like drills. The described conditions will take a good classic skier down a peg or two. This condition is not for beginners. The no wax skis behaved well; the woodies were a bit squirrely and slow. Grip wax was not working well at 40 something degrees air temp. The A set of skis never came out. The skaters were doing great on the long run down the valley. They had issues to dodge as well but looked to be getting a good edge everywhere. If you like a challenging condition to ski, it won't be there long when snow production starts again. Then, the challenge is elevation gain!
Nov 23Trollhaugen downhill area 
Grooming Scheduling 
DresserBruce Adelsman
Trollhaugen has a couple of hills now covered along with a small portion of the basin, and will be offering hours for XC skiers this week. Tuesday's schedule is 3-5 pm, and Wednesday appears to be 7-11 am.
Nov 23Trollhaugen downhill area 
DresserMatt Kramar
Conditions: Troll Hollow won't be open this year but the downhill area is open for Nordic Mon and Tues 3-5 pm and Wed morning this week. Thanks for the early snow access.
Downhills groomed. The base of the hill wasn't groomed and was a bit rough, but there was solid coverage and it was good to be back on snow. Surprisingly I was alone most of the time (only two other skiers).

Wisconsin Northeast

Rhinelander/Eagle River area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 27Minocqua Winter Park Nordic Center    
Grooming Scheduling 
MinocquaTim Collins
Minocqua Winter Park and Nordic Center
Conditions: All trails are closed. 2" of sleet, snow, and graupel fell yesterday. The snow compacts down to 1/2". It's not enough for skiing, but is sticking to the frozen ground. Once we get 10"-12" more, we'll begin grooming our trails.
Minocqua Winter Park is an active deer hunting area. If you do venture onto the trails, please wear blaze orange.

Wisconsin Southeast

Madison area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 24University Ridge Golf Course 
VeronaMike Ivey
Conditions: Fair to good in spots but excellent for November in southern Wisconsin.
Still hanging on. This has a chance to become a premier destination XC venue in southern Wisconsin. With all the budget cuts to the DNR and local governments, grooming is likely to suffer this winter. Nice to see the UW staff pick up the slack. Can't wait for the next dump down here to the full 17K of trails at "U-Ridge".
Nov 23University Ridge Golf Course 
VeronaDan Dudley
Conditions: Thin layer of soft snow-groomed but too thin for tracks.
Good but slow with a few brwon spots.
First time at the Ridge, I was very impressed with this new venue. Snow holding up well on the Zimmer loop although thin and a bit slow but good for the first snow. Don't understand why all the other venues where I usually ski did not groom. Rumor has it ground too warm and it will warm up again-hey its Wisconsin-not like this is unique for this time of year. Sorry for the digression. I did ski part of the Badger and Glacier loop as well, found more bare spots here and grass since the grass under these trails are not cut as short as the Zimmer loop. Talked to the folks at the Clubhouse-want to make this a great place to ski. I think they are off to a good start!
Nov 23Blackhawk Ski Club Trails    
Grooming Scheduling 
MiddletonDan Osborne
We have started blowing snow at Blackhawk with great success! Cold weather after the natural snow allowed us to pile up the snow all weekend long. Mother nature is kicking back this week with another warmup so hopefully we can keep the fantastic mountains of white stuff and get back to making later in the week.
Nov 22Monona Golf Course    
MadisonJim Bolton
Conditions: Much improved over yesterday. Very decent for wax-less striders.
Hard freeze overnight made for fun skiing this morning. Some of yesterday's skied-in tracks were pretty icy today, of course. Laying down new track was very doable and advisable in some areas. Early tomorrow is probably last hurrah for the foreseeable future?
Nov 22Rockport Park 
JanesvilleKara Barr
Conditions: Grooming still intact but icy.
Really fun to get out skiing again! Not too bad, but be prepared for numerous icy patches.
Nov 22Odana Hills Golf Course 
MadisonHarry Read
Conditions: Good for classic, fair for skating.
The cold overnight temps have firmed up the snow--what were slushy tracks yesterday are now icy. Many have skied there so there are tracks to follow. Some stretches are excellent, nice snow; other are icy but not bad. Grass poking through, so don't bring your best racing skis, but not necessarily your rock skis either. Blue extra worked well. The snow is not so deep that you can't skate in the open, untracked areas, but it is largely a good double poling. Glimpsed a large animal (fox or coyote). Wonderful early winter skiing!
Nov 21Rockport Park 
JanesvilleTod Benson
Rockport Park received about 8 inches of heavy wet snow today and last night. Started packing around noon and set classic only tracks, no tracks set on orange loop because on large tree on trail. With a overnight low on 5 degrees I would expect fast conditions is some areas. With the warm temps forecast tomorrow should be a great day on the trails. We are lucky to have per Thanksgiving snow so get out while you can.

Milwaukee area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 23Fox Hill Nordic 
West BendRuss Sobotta
Conditions: Fox Hill is open thin but skiable.
About 25% of the Fox Hill trail system now open, rolled. Its clearly rock-skis only but very skiable. Ski from the new lot on Sleeping Dragon Rd and ski the upper fields, farm loops, Apple Tree Lane. West loops and lower loops not yet groomed. Its thin but well packed for skating with some green showing through in spots. Should be good until the warm up this week.
Nov 22Fox Hill Nordic    
Firsthand Secondhand 
West BendJeff Grotenhuis
Fox Hill is open! About 30% of the system has been groomed for skate skiing. Trail conditions are fair to good, rock skis recommended.
Talking to groomer Jerry, he plans to groom again tonight around 7:00. Should be decent skiing for another day and a half. A few changes to the trail system, but the big change is the parking. There is a lot off of Sleeping Dragon Rd. Look for the green dot on the picture. [ New trailhead, Farm East, is now included on our trail listing -- Ed. ]
Nov 22Minooka Park 
WaukeshaPetter Jennik
Conditions: Great! full coverage, 4 to 6 inches. Not groomed.
Excellent early season skiing for skate or stride. Hikers and skiers helped to self groom trails. Softer powderish snow, over good base. Maybe only 2% of trail is frozen boot tracks, much less than at Lapham. Downhills were just fine.
Nov 22Lapham Peak 
Firsthand Observation 
DelafieldTom Davenport
Conditions: Lots of snow but not groomed! Unsuitable for skate skiing.
To my surprise, three of my favorite trails were ungroomed. First at McMiller, then Nordic (both of which had around 8 inches of snow) and then Lapham Peak! They had about 6 inches of now. I did get out on my skis at Lapham but it proved unskiable to me (skate ski). Very surprised and disappointed. The parking lots weren't even plowed at McMiller and Nordic.
Nov 22Fox Hill Nordic    
West BendBob Bodensteiner
Good skate skiing on meadows trails. Thin but full coverage on red, green and brown loops over all grass base from Farm East parking off Sleeping Dragon Road. ~1.5 K total. Too many dirt spots on other trails. No tracks. Ski free until this snow melts----Monday afternoon?
Nov 21Fox Hill Nordic 
West BendJerry Gensch
Upper fields were groomed tonight, should set up overnight and be good for a couple of days.
Nov 21Lapham Peak 
DelafieldPetter Jennik
Conditions: Great! Six inches! Good coverage on the whole black loop for striding. Minimum slush at the bottom. Wasn't real wet slushy snow at all.
A pleasant but tough day to ski. For Sunday, I don't know how solid the boot print are going to freeze up, without being groomed. If the snow dries up a bit before freezing, it may be manageable. If it freezes solid, the down hills could be difficult to do. Sorry, no pics, as my camera and skis both iced up.
Nov 21Wales Community Park 
WalesBrad Baas
Conditions: Good coverage. Not groomed.
Snow cover is consistant and makes for a great first ski!
Nov 21UW-Parkside Ski Trail    
KenoshaJay Garman
Conditions: Heavy snow, slow and sloppy.
I Was out on trails at 3 am, found the cross country course is minimally covered. Grass fields are better but if you stop moving you take the snow with you on the bottom of your ski.
Nov 19Lapham Peak 
Grooming Scheduling 
DelafieldBrett Johanen
Wisconsin DNR
Staff and volunteers are looking forward to another successful snowmaking/ski season even with the mild El Nino weather prediction however there will be a few changes we wish to inform you of. First off, there will be no grooming done at Lapham Peak or Southern Unit after this weekend's snowfall due to warm ground temperatures and warm weather returning the following week. New this year at Lapham Peak... the trail lights will be turned off at 9pm daily and the property entrance gate will close at 9pm every day of the week, year round. Trail lights will be on daily except for Sunday nights. Snowmaking at Lapham Peak will begin when temperatures fall to 18 degrees or below for a minimum of 8 hours and the extended forecast must remain cold enough. Grooming at Lapham Peak and Southern Unit will continue to be a priority and done with the same care and dedication as in the past however it may not be done as frequently.
For further information/explanation we encourage you to follow the Friends of Lapham Peak Snowmaking Committee Meeting Minutes or attend/become involved with this group. We are offering a chance for those interested in volunteering to make snow or groom to attend a meeting at the Lapham Peak maintenance shop on Tuesday, December 1st at 5:30pm. A new snowgun has been ordered and we hope to take delivery of it around the first week of January. Trail expansion will be delayed until next season and future trail expansion details are being discussed to determine sustainability.

Michigan Upper Peninsula

Ironwood area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 26ABR 
Grooming Scheduling 
IronwoodEric Anderson
ABR Trails
Conditions: Not yet skiable.
I am just coming in from checking the trails as the snow is stopping. We received about a good solid 2 inches of wet snow which is now drying out. We will not be able to turn this into a skiable surface for Friday. We will check again on Friday after the temps cool to see if we have a chance for the weekend.
Nov 22ABR 
Grooming Scheduling 
IronwoodEric Anderson
ABR Trails
Conditions: Trails are still not skiable again after last weeks melt.
We are packing the trails daily and driving the frost into the base so it should not take too much more snow to get us open.

Marquette area [ forecast/conditions ]
Nov 22Pictured Rocks Golf Course    
MunisingSten Fjeldheim
Had a nice sunny ski with NMU ski team today in Munising, MI, just 45 minute drive east of Marquette.

United States
Nov 24Bruces Trail    
Firsthand Grooming 
Steamboat Springs, COScott Beattie
Very good conditions at 9,700 ft on Rabbit Ears Pass. 5 k groomed about every other day. Snow depth is 24-30" off trail and 8-14" packed. Classic skiing Tuesday was just about perfect with temps in the high 20's. Trails in town are pretty thin due to warm weather this week. More snow in forecast for Wed-Fri.
Nov 24Snow Mountain Ranch    
Granby, COStephen Lee
Conditions: Trail conditions still very good. Almost all of our trail is open for skiing, groomed for classic and skate.
Shawn our groomer has been able to open Blue Ridge which gives access to our higher trails. Lower Blue Ridge has thin snow (no tracks yet), but Blue Ridge above the Loop has very heavy snow cover. New snowfall is forecast on Thanksgiving Day and thru the weekend.
Nov 23Rendezvous Ski Trails 
West Yellowstone, MTMoira Dow
Yellowstone Ski Festival
Conditions: Clear and 19 F. Trails groomed: Rendezvous, Dead Dog, and Deja View. Too many night skiers in the stadium area and out on courses to continue grooming this evening. Safety and not having to worry about hitting someone or backing over a skier is more important than a bit of fresh corduroy.
Grooming operations occur daily between 7pm and 12am. All skiers must stay off the trails during this time. Don't be the ones to ruin skiing for everyone else!
Nov 20Rendezvous Ski Trails 
West Yellowstone, MTMoira Dow
Yellowstone Ski Festival
Clear skis and 7 F. Two to three inches of new overnight snow. Trails groomed: Rendezvous, Dead Dog, Deja View, Sheperd's, Drewski, Spencer's, the Biathlon Range and Penalty loop, both Sprint loops, Jerry's and the Doodle, and Volunteer. Machine groomed powder, skate and classic. Skiing is getting very good.
Nov 19Steamboat Ski Touring Center    
Steamboat Springs, COScott Beattie
6 k now open after initial packing firmed up. Classic set on 3k. More snow predicted tonight thru Friday night. Skied both classic and skate today and trails are thin in spots but really good overall. B skis best.
Nov 19Rendezvous Ski Trails 
West Yellowstone, MTCharlie Dee
Conditions: Excellent. Solid base with two new inches of dry powder on top this morning.
Leave those rock skis at home. Marvelous conditions in West Yellowstone, light snow on and off today, more in the forecast. Arms, shoulders and back sure prefer pole planting in white fluffy to pounding asphalt.
Nov 19Rendezvous Ski Trails 
West Yellowstone, MTMoira Dow
Yellowstone Ski Festival
19 F and light snow falling. Trails groomed: Rendezvous, Dead Dog, Deja View, Volunteer, Jerry's and the Doodle, Biathlon Range and the short Sprint Loop. Skate and Classic, machine groomed powder, very good conditions.
Nov 17Steamboat Ski Touring Center    
Steamboat Springs, COScott Beattie
8 inches of new snow on Monday on an old thin firm base allowed packing of several trails. Fish Creek Trail 2K is groomed with snowmobile and Tidd Tech out and back. Very good for skating and no classic track yet. Stadium area all packed and graded. All other trails packed but waiting to let it set up. Forecasts for more snow tonight and for next few days. We hope to have 7 k open by Thursday morning. Packed base is 3-4 inches with 8-14" off trail. Bruce's Trail is still being groomed on Rabbit Ears Pass with about 30 inches on the ground. Nice start to the season!

Nov 22Toivakka    
Toivakka, FinlandAhvo Taipale
Finn Sisu
Toivakka, Finland on my way to Ruka world cup opener. Fresh snow 10cm, -2C. Just Beautiful.

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