The Nordic Club’s most venerable snow machine is Alice. The 1985 Skidoo Bombardier was dubbed Alice by long time groomer, Van Bennett, but the machine’s history with the club goes back much farther than even Van’s service. The Panhandle Nordic Club was about to take over grooming of the Park N Ski Area in 1990, but had no snow machine to accomplish the work. The State of Idaho gifted the club with Alice to fill the need. Alice went on to groom the area for twelve years until an eighteen-year update of the Bombardier was added to the club’s snowmachine fleet. Willem Huender, his son Spenser, and Van Bennett coaxed and cajoled Alice, holding her together with clamps and baling wire to make the rounds at Fourth of July. With the addition of a third snow machine in 2012, Alice was effectively put out to pasture, called to duty on occasion to groom the odd golf course, but typically kept stored in the Forest Service’s Fernan Station bone yard.
The current season has been a challenge. Early wet snow brought down many trees across the ski and snowshoe trails and a subsequent heavy snow added to the bounty. To make matters worse, the newest snow machine suffered a failure in its electronics that will require a couple weeks to cure. We were down to one machine when we need two. Alice was called up. Of course, she had not budged from her birth in the boneyard for three years minimum and to add to the insult, the old gas poured into her tank contained an over-the-limit ration of water. After a couple days of tender loving care that included drying her out, replumbing her gas lines, and more than a few carburetor adjustments, John Lee managed to bring the old girl back to life. Saturday, Alice rode to the rescue grooming the inner core trails at Fourth of July, while her newer cousin was off on a tree cutting expedition.
The inner loop trails (Havin Fun, The Swoop, High Road, Loose Moose, and Skateaway as well as Elderberry out to Treetop View and Treetop View are all cleared. All these trails with the exception of Loose Moose were groomed and a track set this morning. Skywalker is packed and clear between the trail’s head and Skateaway. Fallen trees are still down across the rest of Skywalker and Moonrunner, The Eagle Run and on Elderberry about a mile out from Peaceful View. These will be cleared as the month progresses.
A ramp down from the graded snow on the entrance road has been built to allow easier access for snowshoers to Jannettes Jaunt. No major obstructions are report up to a mile out the trail. Twisted Klister has numerous trees down between the lower junction with Skywalker and the Snowshoe Hut, but a manageable trail exists. Above the Snowshoe Hut more trees are down but snowshoers and skiers are getting through. It appears that skiers and snowshoers are going out Makin Tracks as well. Fallen trees hindering passage will be removed as we remove more trees from Skywalker.
We are slowly getting the area back on-line after the big snowfall experience last week. Unfortunately, this snow again brought down a new crop of trees. The Department of Transportation was able to clear the road and parking lot last night. Paths to the toilet facilities, Jannette’s Jaunt and the Panhandle Hut have been shoveled out. A snowmachine packed trail around the inner core system is in place with obstructions to passage cleared, but more removal required to groom. The snow is very good, but tree wells can be an issue in places especially down Loose Moose. Beyond the inner core trails obstructions may bar passage, however the warm weather at the end of the big snow and currently, has congealed the pack, so skis generally run atop the pack sinking in only a couple inches.
The recent snowstorm followed by rain and then a hard freeze last night has essentially blocked the road into the Ski & Snowshoe Area. The wet snow yesterday required a grader for IDT to clear the road and parking lot. Obviously, they were unable to get the work done last night. Since the road froze up in the night, IDT will likely wait until afternoon or evening to attempt to clear the road again. A few vehicles have hazarded the drive to the top of the hill, but we do not advise it, as the road will soften in the afternoon making the trip out difficult if not impossible. To use the area park out on the highway off ramp and proceed in from there. No grooming has been possible. The snow surface will be fast for skis until the pack softens in the afternoon. Snowshoeing should be fine for travel over all the new snow.
Happy New Year! Hope everyone is still in good health.
We finally got snow and a lot of it. If you haven’t ventured out yet due to the cold temperatures, you’re missing a winter wonderland up at 4th of July. Granted its cold but dressing up to beat it is worth the effort. It may be some of the best conditions there could be for skiing and snowshoeing. Deep fine powder, and it’s possible to stay pretty dry. The only draw back at the moment is the snow is so powdery the conditions are not very good for grooming. But as of this week the inner loop ski trails were packed down with the snow machines, so when temps warm up, they will be ready for grooming. Goeff will be leading the charge to catch up with packing and grooming as conditions prevail.
The groomer gang has also been busy clearing down trees off the trails. The weight of the snow has knocked down quite a few and blocked the trails. There is still a lot of work to do, but the gang got the inner loop ski trails open this week and will be working on the others in the near future. FYI – in case you want to ski it, Loose Moose didn’t have any down trees but does have a lot of smaller trees bent down over it. Hopefully when the snow melts some of them will pop up again. The gang will be going through with saws soon, for those that don’t pop back up.
If you hadn’t put it on your calendar yet the BEST HAND FUN SKI and SNOWSHOE event is scheduled for the January 8th, or one week from New Year’s Day. For those that may not be familiar with the event, the purpose is the clubs annual fund raiser to help cover the cost of maintaining the facilities at 4th of July and keeping the trails groomed and cleared of down trees. More information about this event is posted on the WEB site, so encourage your friends to check it out and join us. As a reminder if you would like to help out with registration of handing out cards and didn’t sign up at the last club meeting, see Nancy Lewis at this week’s club meeting. Also, if you have anything you would like to donate for a prize bring it with you on the 8th and we gather them up at the registration tent.
Finally, we will be meeting this month at the same location as last month (Community United Methodist Church). The meeting is Tuesday, January 4th and will start at 7:00 PM. Hope you all can make it! PS – please bring your masks and please wear them properly (i.e., cover your nose and mouth) while in the building. The Church is allowing us to use the facility at no charge, but they do require all of us to adhere to their mask rules. We’re afraid that if they see our members not complying, we will be asked to stop using the building.
Cross-country Ski and Snowshoe Fundraiser Event
Sat., Jan 22, 2022, 10:30am-2:00pm
4th of July Pass Snow Sport Area, Exit 28 off Hwy 90
Free Ski Day Park & Ski pass not required for the event.
**$12(adult), $5(under 13), $25(family) to enter; ski or walk as far as you want to get 5 cards for a poker hand. Come at 10:30am to register, begin at 11am, finish by 1pm, prizes at 1:30pm
**Prizes donated by local businesses and club members
All proceeds go to finance trail grooming for this season
Since we rescheduled from the 8th we have lost volunteers for the 22nd if you can help contact Nancy Lewis. firstname.lastname@example.org
**Sponsored by Panhandle Nordic Club of Coeur d’Alene
Those snowshoers and non-groomed trail skiers who use the snowshoe hut for a rest during their outings at Fourth of July will find a welcome addition to the hut: a new stove. Using a propane tank, some additional materials, his welding skills and following internet instructions, Greg Lewis fashioned the new stove. The hut was set up on Wednesday, December 1st and the new stove was both installed and tested. Unlike the old unit that hugged the ground and was hard to operate, the new stove stands tall, making fire building easy. Its capacity is small for a reason, so fires do not get too large for the hut, however it warms the hut nicely. Currently the stove door must be kept open for it to draw. Greg has a solution for that problem with a damper design, but we will not get it in this year. There is kindling in the in the plastic box and we’ll try to keep the hut “wooded up”, but keep those fires modest and enjoy the heat.
Based on members responses from the October Newsletter inquiry, the board decided that club meetings will begin again in December! Regardless of whether or not you responded we hope that folks will consider attending.
The meeting will be held at a new location this season. Thanks to the efforts of Greg and Nancy Lewis they discovered that the church they attend would be happy to host our meetings. It is the “Community United Methodist Church” which is located at the intersection of Hanley and Ramsey in Coeur d’Alene (Address: 1470 W Hanley). The church will not charge the club anything for use, but the board agreed we should make a one-time donation to show our gratitude. As in past years, meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of the month. For December that is 12/7/21, meeting will start at 7:00 PM. Goeff and Skip have agreed to put on their presentation for being prepared, “Who’s Got the Best Kit” challeenge.
Due to the fact that COVID is still with us, and unfortunately probably will continue to be, the board did agree that it will be necessary to still take precautions. The church is large enough to allow people to maintain social distancing, and the church does require folks to wear masks. So please bring your masks with you.
The board hasn’t seen any responses to the October inquiry regarding ideas for generating a list of club skiing or snowshoe activities for the season. The subject will be brought up again at the first meeting, so if you have ideas be prepared to bring them up. As of now the board agreed that the club should put on the Poker Run and Rock Soup, so there may be a list at the meeting for volunteers to help out with passing out cards, etc.
A couple of other items that the board was reminded of that take place annually include: ski/snowshoe swapping and cookies for the Idaho Transportation Dept (IDT) plow truck drivers. If you have any old equipment that you want to get rid of, bring it to any of the future meetings. Perhaps someone else is looking for equipment and will take it off your hands. Every year, to thank them for keeping the parking lot open the club gives a basket of cookies or treats to the guys from IDT. We try to deliver the basket in December as a reminder about the parking lot. So, if you like to bake cookies bring some to next week’s meeting so we can get the basket ready to go! Thanks in advance for contributing.
If you’ve already decided to stick with the club and have signed in to the WEB site and renewed your membership the board wants to thank you. If you haven’t got around to it yet, we would encourage you to do so as soon as you can! The sooner your renewals are taken care of, the earlier a membership list for the year can be completed. Trying to renew at club meetings is not a good option. Please renew and pay dues via the WEB site. Using the WEB site is much more efficient and it makes it a lot easier to enter information into the membership list.
Last but not least, winter will get here sooner or later. Based on appearances, it looks like later. But let’s start hoping for some snow and soon. There was about three inches up on Eagle Run and the Twisted Klister a couple of days ago. But I have a feeling the warm temperatures we’ve had has caused abit of melting to occur. If anyone has any influence with Old Man Winter or Jack Frost, encourage to help us out.
See you at the club meeting December 7th. 7PM, Community Untied Methodist Church.