Monday, December 31, 2018

Grooming Report #7 Re-Tracked and signage

Due to heavy snowfall an abbreviated track pattern was set. The River trail in the gorge, Mud Lake, River Bypass, Ruby Marsh, and Diagonal were not tracked. Expect some normally double tracked areas to be single tracked. With increasing wind, tracks will not last long. All trails will be rolled and tracked early Tuesday morning. We also put up snowmobile signage on Tomasi rd. Pictured below, these signs help keep some snowmobile traffic off the ski trail.

Since no rolling was done before setting tracks, a lot of snow was being pushed to the sides of the trail. Tracks still set up well.

These signs help keep snowmobiles off the ski trail. We have "no snowmobile" signs posted before these signs, but occasionally there are snowmobilers using this road.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Grooming Report #6 Very good!

Today we rolled all Maasto trails and drug all Churning Rapids trails. Tracks have been set everywhere except on sections of Mud Lake and the New River trail. All trails in Churning Rapids are quite firm from dragging this morning, so expect slightly better conditions than Maasto. Very good conditions almost everywhere.

All Churning Rapids trails saw much improvement from the drag

One of the better sections on Mud Lake

Friday, December 28, 2018

Grooming Report #5 Good to very good!

Today all trails were rolled and tracked. With the snow we received we were able to set tracks on the New River trail, Mud Lake, and our new Spring Creek reroute trail. These trails still remain a bit rough, but are getting better. Tracks set today will not last long with the high winds, and some tracks will be completely covered in more open areas. Overall we have seen good to very good conditions today. We hope to start dragging some trails tomorrow morning.

Very good conditions around St. Urho's loop

Setting tracks up Sunset trail

There were a few small trees and branches on the trail from the wind

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Candle Luminary Ski December 26,2018

Night skiing is always a very special adventure and especially so right after Christmas for the Candle Luminary Ski. There is no other night like the luminary ski in the Copper Country. But all those luminaries don't appear on the 2 km St. Urho's loop by magic though it may seem that way skiing the trail at night. 

Besides the background organization and publicity, it takes about 26 positions to complete the necessary tasks to bring the event to life. That includes making a few ice luminaries, getting the St. Urho's Loop groomed for skiing and snow biking, folding luminary bags, filling them with sand, placing candles in the bags, distributing filled bags on the trail by ice fishing sleds and carefully spacing them, lighting 160 luminary candles, lighting the fire pit, picking up luminaries and cleaning up when it is over. Not to mention staffing the Chalet with a host. 

This is what the Candle Luminary Ski looks like from start to finish.
Julie Meyers and Norma Veurink taking out luminary bags and spacing them on the trail

Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club President Jay Green lighting a votive candle with a propane torch

Dusk begins to highlight the lit luminaries

It is almost 6 pm as night falls and skiers get ready to hit the trail from Hancock's Four Season Chalet

It is fully dark and magic comes to the St. Urho's trail 

A lot of families with children enjoy the wonder of the night
People had a chance to warm up, socialize with friends and enjoy refreshments in the Chalet

Yes, that is a real ice globe

Thanks to the many volunteers who made this wonderful night in Hancock happen and the 325 or so participants who shared it with their friends and family. Bon Hiver!

Monday, December 24, 2018

Grooming Report #4 New snow! Mostly good everywhere!

The 6" of new snow was rolled early this morning, and tracks have been set everywhere except the New River trail and the middle section of Spring Creek between Ruby Marsh and Diagonal. There are still a few rough sections on the Quincy trail, New River trail, Mud Lake, and the River trail in the gorge. Expect to see mostly good conditions everywhere. Trails remain a little soft until we have enough base to drag, but it looks like we may be dragging by the end of the week or early next week.

John P pulling the big roller with our new Can-Am Outlander

On the Tower Loop

Double tracks were set on St. Urho's

On the Meadow trail. This trail was opened this year to allow access to the gorge

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Grooming Report #3 Re-Tracked Fair to Good

Today all trails besides Mud Lake, Spring Creek, and the New River Trail were re-tracked. It has been over a week since any grooming was done due to no snow conditions. The 2" of new snow was enough to improve some areas, but most areas saw very little improvement. City-side and gorge trails are still rough and have many areas of exposed ground. Tracks set up quite well in Churning Rapids. With snow in the forecast we plan to roll and reset tracks tomorrow.

Seen on the Outback trail. Exposed areas like this are common throughout the city trails and gorge

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Mark your calendar for the 6th Annual Candle Luminary Ski which is fast approaching on the evening of December 26th. Next Wednesday from 6-8 pm a 2 km trail illuminated by the glow of candle luminaries will be open, starting from behind the Four Season Chalet on the north side of the Houghton County Fairgrounds at 1500 Birch Street in Hancock. This free and family friendly event is open to skiers, snowshoers, snow bikers and even walkers subject to trail conditions. Join us for the most magical night of the year at Maasto Hiinto. Refreshments will be available in the chalet afterward. If you have them, bring your leftover Christmas goodies to share. If you would like to volunteer to help set up for the event Wednesday afternoon contact John Diebel, or (906) 281-1486. For more information go to:

We hope to see you out on the trail next Wednesday night!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Give some love and appreciation to the Portage Health Auxiliary which has been a loyal sponsor of our annual Barnelopet. For 2019 they have awarded the Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club a $500 grant to help sponsor the Barnelopet. This is a timed but non-competitive course that Keweenaw Nordic Ski Club and the Sons of Norway have been offering for many years now to Copper Country youth. It is a family friendly event with parents skiing with the youngest skiers. Four courses of distances varying from 1 km to 6 km are available to choose from based on ability and age. The next Barnelopet is scheduled for the afternoon of Sunday February 10th. Come ski, cheer on the participants or volunteer. Below we have a picture of Portage Health Auxiliary Directors Billie Bloomfield (far left) and Ronda Bogan (far right) presenting the check to KNSC Treasurer John Diebel and President Jay Green at a ceremony Wednesday afternoon. Nine other community service organizations also received funding from Portage Health Auxiliary in this round.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

If you haven't had a chance to meet our new Chief Groomer, here is Colin Pekkala setting tracks in Churning Rapids earlier today. Stop and tell him hello if you see him on the trails. His father John Pekkala is also grooming Maasto and Churning Rapids this winter.

Here are some other shots from Maasto and Churning Rapids today. The trail is still a little rugged and will be until we get enough snow to level it out with the drag. But there were no big water holes and the kick and glide were excellent.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Grooming Report #2 Mostly Good!

Early this morning all trails were rolled. Tracks were set everywhere except for Mud lake, New River trail, and most of Churning Rapids. We will try to set tracks on all Churning Rapids trails tomorrow, excluding the Spring Creek reroute. Conditions are improving and we're seeing mostly good conditions everywhere. The Quincy trail, Mud Lake, New River trail and the River trail in the gorge still remain pretty rough. The River trail still has a couple wet spots as you will see in the picture below.

The worst section of the River trail is pictured here. This is next to the Railroad Ravine

Between intersections 4 and 5 on the Pine Loop

Double tracks were set on St. Urho's loop

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Grooming Report #1 Fair to Good

All trails were rolled today, and tracks were set on the city-side trails. There isn't enough base yet for us to drag trails, so expect many bumps and uneven trails. There are still a few open water spots, but most are freezing up. Trails are pretty soft since we are not adding any weight to our implements. Adding weight on our implements in low snow conditions will potentially damage the comb. Current conditions vary from fair to good.

On the Quincy trail between intersections 7 and 8. This section is in great shape since the trail is so smooth

The New River trail is one of our roughest trails. It will take much more snow to get this trail level

Right by the Tomasi trail head. Tracks were not looking to bad

Seen again on the Quincy trail. This was the only trail that was double tracked today

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Intersection 3 Fixed!

Today we took our John Deere tractor out to fix one last spot before grooming begins. Intersection 3 is right at the start of the Pine Loop off of Tomasi Rd. Large holes were dug on the sides of both trails to keep trucks from driving through. We refer to these as "tank traps". Next year we hope to install a double gate here to simplify the fall to winter transition.

There was around 6' of clearance between the tank trap and the tree. Our roller is about 10' wide

We would be able to get through this spot, but the pile of dirt on the right would be a problem all winter

The 6' of clearance before is now over 12'

The piles of dirt were cut back and moved into the tank trap. There's plenty of room to get our roller through now!

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Trail closed signage and more rolling!

Today we put up closed trail signs at intersections; 9, 16, and 18 on the River trail along the river gorge. We are only able to open the middle section of the River trail due to flood damage. We also put up closed trail signs at the south end of the Outback trail and intersection 28. We did not have enough time this fall to fix the washout near the cemetery. The last two closed trail signs were put on the old spring creek trail in Churning Rapids. We relocated this trail further back from the creek, so we will be able to groom through there this season. These closed trail sections are shown on the new map.

Seen at intersection 9 off St. Urho's loop

At intersection 18 by the pedestrian bridge

Our new Can-Am Outlander was taken out for the first time with the new tracks installed

Most of the city-side trails were rolled while putting up signage. We also rolled the Mud Lake Bypass, Spring Creek, and Diagonal trail in Churning Rapids. There are still too many wet spots and exposed stumps and rocks to do any grooming until we get more snow. We will need around 1' of new snow to continue grooming.

There are many wet spots like this that remain