Grooming and track setting was completed on the inner loop and Skywalker (Road 614) out to Eagle Run. Loose Moose is in pretty good shape so was left untouched. Eagle Run was groomed to the intersection of the cut across trail. Conditions are beginning to look like spring (i.e. corn snow) but are still in fairly good condition for skiing. Snow wells (bare ground) are beginning to show up on Havin' Fun (i.e. West of the Loose Moose junction) and on the West end of the HIgh Road.
Spring Skiing may be starting! Hope everyone have been able to get out and enjoy this seasons skiing and snowshoeing opportunities.
Fortunately the weather for skiing and snowshoeing at 4th of July has been favorable since the end of January. While it has been wet and soggy in the valleys, the mountains have repeatedly received new snow and the temperatures have been low enough to keep it around. As such, the grooming crew has been able to maintain the area on pretty much a weekly basis through February. I apologize if the grooming reports were not getting out regularly for a while. No fault of Geoff’s, but with him not being able to be involved as much this season it took us a bit to work out a different reporting system. Hopefully it has gotten a little better in the past few weeks.
The windfalls resulting from the windstorms have continued to keep the crew busy clearing the trails. But all the heavily used trails within and adjacent to the inner loop, and the snowshoe trails out to the Goeff’s Chalet (e.g. warming Hut) have been cleared of trees that interfered with their use. There is still work left to do on Moonrunner, and the snowshoe trails Makin Tracks and Ski & Shoe. From the reports received the down trees on most of these trails are passable. So if you are planning to travel these trails this spring be aware that you may have to go under or around a few obstacles. These will be cleared in the future, but it may be after the snow melts.
In the next few weeks you may notice flyers on windshields of cars in the parking lots. As previously mentioned Nancy and Greg Lewis developed an information flyer to help educate users of the etiquettes related to snowshoes, mountain bikes and dogs related to groomed ski trails. The club is trying to spread the word that these uses are more then welcome on Skywalker and the snowshoe trails, but can cause hazardous skiing conditions if used on the groomed inner loop trails. If you happen to get a chance to read one, it would be greatly appreciated if you could help by spreading the word to your friends and neighbors that might be planning to use 4th of July for winter recreation in the future.
Another development that has come up is the clearing of windfalls from the Jeanette’s Juant trail. While snowshoe use is welcome on this trail during the winter, it is actually managed for equestrian use in the summer. Due to its length and accessibility clearing usually occurs during the spring and summer months with the assistance of the Back Country Horseman Club. If you wish to snowshoe this trail please note that there may be obstacles along the way that will not be removed until after the winter season.
Ya-I-Du-Ski & shoe has not been forgotten this season. Hopefully you’ve all been keeping track of your accomplishments. Due COVID we won’t be able to hold a meeting to give out awards this year, but as soon as meetings can be held again awards will be made. If at all possible we will start meeting again next season and if so your Km’s will be tallied and awards will be given for the 2020/21 season. For your
accomplishment tallies Roberta Truscott asks that you keep your 2020/21 accomplishments separated from any you may acquire early in the 2021/22 season.
There are still going to be a couple of group outings coming up in March. The first one will be a skiing opportunity from Lookout Pass to the Hale Fish hatchery. It is scheduled to occur next weekend (i.e. Saturday, March 6th). If you are interested in participating I will meet you at the Cherry Hill Park at 8:30 am.
The second event will be a loop at 4th of July on March 20th. We’ll go out to Ian’s Hut, come back by way of Eagle Run and Skywalker. If you are interested in participating I will meet you at the 4th of July Parking lot at 9:00 am.
For a full description of these events take a look at the “Club Events” section on the Club WEB Site.
The past month has been very eventful. Not much snow, unfortunately, but lots of wind! The wind event/s have kept the grooming crew quite busy trying to keep the trail systems opened. But special thanks needs to be made to Dwight McCain, who single handedly took on the windfalls on the snow shoe trails before the grooming crew got to them. After working into the early evening he accomplished a lot and save the sawyers on the crew a great deal of time and effort. So if you see him on the trails skate skiing express your gratitude. Thanks Dwight!
Regarding the current condition of the trail systems a lot of work has been completed, but a lot remains. In addition to trying to stay current with the grooming of the snow that is there, the crew has been able to keep the inner loop, about half of Elderberry and Skywalker (Road 614 from the barrier to Eagle Run) logged out. But there is a lot of work left to do on Eagle Run, Elderberry and probably the rest of Skywalker out to Rose Saddle. Hopefully by early February these trails will also be cleared of windfalls, for a while, and finally get their first grooming.
Base on the days I have been up to 4th of July the ski and snowshoe trails are pretty popular with folks other than club members and other local users. There have been recreationists parked at both the upper and lower parking areas every time I’ve gone up. Many are from out of state, and when visiting with some of them they mentioned they based their visit on seeing the club WEB site. It appears the WEB site must be working and 4th of July is getting regional if not national notice.
Educating the users regarding the protocols while using the ski trails has always been an issue when people new to the area visit 4th Of July. Nancy Lewis and Karen Williams have made a valiant effort to educate users when their on patrol, and Skip and Goeff put up information signs every season. But the issues related to snowshoe use, hikers, bikers and dogs on the groomed inner loop ski trails still occur from time to time. To address this, the Board has decided to try the idea of placing information cards on car windshields. Possibly late this season or next season these cards will be placed on out of state vehicles and cars that are not known to be members of the club. One hundred cards will be produced and used as an experiment to see if it makes any difference in how the inner loop is being used, and/or if we end up picking up a lot of discarded cards in the parking area. So Nancy and Karen have agreed to take the lead on designing and getting the cards printed, and getting them distributed in the future.
Last month it was mentioned that the Board was making an effort to put together some group ski or snowshoe events. Unfortunately the ideas proposed for January fell through due to unexpected weather and logistics issues. But if anyone is interested in getting together in February and March there will be events to participate in. The calendars and descriptions of these events will be posted on the WEB site very soon. Event leaders will post a message in advance of the scheduled date to let interested folks know if it has to be canceled due to lack of snow. But we will try to stay optimistic that good conditions will prevail.
As a preview, the first February event is scheduled for the 13th. In order to keep it close to home it will be a ski trek from Fernan Saddle to Burnt Cabin Summit. It consists of approximately two miles on
the groomed snowmobile trail out of Fernan Saddle and approximately one and a half miles of non-groomed trail to the north of the snowmobile trail. If you’re interested in participating take a look at the full description posted on the WEB. Even though we will be outside, having face masks with you and maintaining social distancing while gathering for breaks is encouraged.
In closing, let’s all hope a big snow storm arrives in February! Without it the season on the lower trails at 4th of July might be coming to an end by the end of the month.
Meet at: Cherry Hill Park
Time: 8:30 AM
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Trip Leader: Don Garringer
Directions: From Cherry Hill drive East on I-90 to Lookout Mountain Ski area parking lot. Due to COVID, it is recommended that participants should consider driving themselves rather than share rides. If there are other participants that you are comfortable riding with, it is your choice.
Description: The route begins at the Lookout Mountain ski area parking lot and goes West on the old Northern Pacific railroad grade. The final destination is the Hale Fish Hatchery, near Shoshone Park. The route is approximately six miles long and is essentially a downhill, gentle grade ski. It is at times groomed and does receive use by snowmobiles from time to time.
Meet at: 4th of July Ski Area Parking Lot
Time: 9:00 AM
Level of Difficulty: Easy/moderate on Cut Across Trail
Trip Leader: Don Garringer
Directions: Drive to and meet at the Ski area parking lot. Due to COVID, it is recommended that participants should consider driving themselves rather than share rides. If there are other participants that you are comfortable riding with, it is your choice.
Description: Round trip is approximately 18 Km. Route starts at the parking area and stays groomed trails within the inner loop (Havin’ Fun) and elderberry to Ian’s Hut. From there, ski up the Cut Across Trail to Eagle Run, and follow Eagle Run out to Skywalker (FSR 614). Follow Skywalker to Skateaway, turn left down Skateaway and ski until reaching Loose Moose. Ski back to the parking area on Loose Moose and Havin’ Fun.
Happy New Year! Hope everyone is still in good health.
Currently it would seem that the winter weather is not being very friendly to 4rth of July this year. Although, the brief snow storm that occurred last week left enough snow at the lower elevation to allow the groomer crew to get some work done. If you hadn’t already seen it in Geoff’s grooming report, the inner loop was packed and groomed on New Year’s Eve. Also, the stretch of Road 614 (Skywalker) from the Skateaway intersection to the barrier near the freeway was completed and Moonrunner was packed all the way out to Rose Saddle.
Then the warm temps and rain arrived “again”. It was reported over the weekend that the grooming at the lower elevations was getting mushy, but hadn’t melted away. Hopefully it’s still intact and the packing that was done will allow it to hold until more snow arrives and the grooming can be performed again.
The Board is currently working up a group skiing or snowshoeing events. The draft ideas are based on single day local events due to Covid concerns. Being outside, there should be adequate opportunities to maintain safe distance separation while still allowing participants to socialize a little. Two events will be scheduled for every other Saturday, or possibly Sunday, in January; February and March. As soon as all the board members have responded to the drafts with their input the dates will be posted on the WEB site and announced through and e-mails. So stay tuned for more information, and join in if you can.
If you know anyone who:
1. May be interest in joining PNC this year please let them know it is very important that they fill out and submit the membership form electronically. By doing so it makes it much more efficient and simpler for creating the annual membership list. So please pass on the word if you have the opportunity.
2. Would like some cross country ski instructions Nancy Lewis has volunteered to assist them. She is willing to meet them up at 4th of July to give pointers. They simply need to give her a call and work out a time when they can meet her there. (If you need to know how to contact her, see membership list). contact info is also on our website in the PNC Board tab.
The club was recently contacted by: Mickael Stevens, the recreation supervisor with the City of Rathdrum, Parks & Recreation. They were offering and snowshoe for beginners get together, but unfortunately the person that was going to lead it had to back out. So he was inquiring about finding someone to fill the role. He also offered a small instructors fee. If interested, please respond to me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. I will assist you with getting in touch with Mr. Stevens.
Thanks to Skips efforts, with help from a few volunteers, preparations for grooming are well under way. The trails were cleared and the snowmobile and groomer shelters have been setup. He also installed six new trail signs and nine trail maps.
Come the 15th of December, and enough snow, the gates on the main road (i.e. Road 614) will be closed and the gates on Twisted Klister, the inner loop and Eagle Run will be opened and the grooming will begin. So keep your hopes up for a big storm in the next few weeks.
In November’s letter it was mentioned that the snowshoe warming hut was not going to be put up this season due to COVID-19 concerns. The board revisited the decision and decided that as long as it is signed with the same warnings it wouldn’t be any different than the Panhandle Hut. So in the near future the snowshoe hut will be going up.
Several members have come forward and volunteered to join the crews that groom and patrol the trails. Two will be joining the groomer crew and one will be helping Nancy and others patrol the trails to provide user information this season. So you will be seeing some new faces on the snowmobiles or wearing the trail patrol vests this year. So cheer them on for the efforts they are putting in to make 4th of July a pleasant experience.
Last month, a call was put out for ideas to create a winter activities schedule. Up to now there have been no ideas offered. So once again, if you have any ski or snowshoe activities in mind that you wouldn’t mind others sharing the day with you on let Karen, Randy or I know. If you wish, one or all of us can help you get the word out to the membership.
The Club recently received a donation of two pairs of cross country skis that are in very good condition. The donation consists of two sets, complete with poles and boots - one set for a man and another for a woman. These are available for free to the first person(s) that claims them. You can take either pair or both but cannot break a package (i.e. Just take the skis or boots separately). Specifics are:
Ski brand: Fisher; length: approximately 78 inches (same for either pair)
Binding brand: men’s pair: Salomon, women’s pair: Rottafella
Shoe brand/size: men’s: Salomon, size 44 (Euro); women’s: Alpina, size 40 (Euro).
Both pair of skis are the waxable kind and the packages include various waxes and an iron for wax smoothing.
If you are interested call Mike Zagar at 208/610-3894.
FYI - If you are interested in getting new equipment this year, the board was informed that the Ski Shack in Hayden may not be offering X-country ski equipment this season. But it was also reported that Fitness Fanatics may be a good place to shop as they have a good supply of new and used.
If you have a snow dance that will get us some snow, feel
free to start doing it. For at least the 3,000 ft. elevation and above!
Panhandle Nordic Club
Monthly Newsletter/Presidents Message
November 1, 2020
Hopefully this finds you all still in good health and ready for the coming ski and snowshoe season! The pandemic had definitely put a strain on what had been planed for the summer activities, but hopefully everyone will be able to get outside and enjoy the winter. Given the current circumstances, surely everyone will understand that the board has had to make some changes in how the club will function this season.
To begin with, to avoid gatherings in enclosed areas it will not be possible to hold monthly indoor meetings. Instead, the board agreed that a monthly newsletter will be prepared and posted to the Club WEB site by the first Tuesday of each month. An email will also be sent out to the membership prior to the first Tuesday as a reminder that the newsletter is available.
As we have always done at the first meeting of the season, we again want to create a list of winter activities for the club member participation. If you have ideas in mind, you are encouraged to let Karen, Randy or I know so that a list can be prepared. Please include who will lead the activity and which weekend/day it could be scheduled for. Also refer to the Club WEB site information regarding what the activity leaders’ role entails. The info is on the club members page
To address COVID issues, proposed activities should be: 1) limited to day trips only, 2) shall be outside activities, and 3) unless you are comfortable with traveling in vehicles with others, everyone may want to be prepared to drive themselves to activity locations.
Unfortunately, again due to COVID the board has decided that in the best interest of the clubs members the Poker Run and Rock Soup will not be put on this year. You might be able to guess that since they both have involved large gatherings in the warming hut, the risk was too great to take a chance of someone contracting the virus.
One other change the board decided to make is the setup of the snowshoe warming hut. For the same reasoning as discussed above for the Panhandle Hut, it will not be set up for use this year.
Preparations for the grooming of 4th of July are well under way thanks to Glenn Truscott (Skip) and handful of volunteers’. The inner core trails, Loose Moose and Elderberry have all been cleared of windfalls and mowing of encroaching vegetation will be started this coming week.
Skip will be scheduling a day in the near future to set up of the groomer shelters, and shortly after the snowmobiles and grooming equipment will be moved in.
If anyone is interested, the grooming crew could use more help. Unfortunately, John Lee will probably not be available this season and Goeff Harvey may only be able to provide limited participation on the ground. So for now we have five folks to rotate through as the winter progresses. If the crew could be up to six or eight it would really help to spread the work load out if it is a big snow year.
For your information, the club was notified that the Forest Service (FS) is initiating scoping for a future vegetation management project (i.e. Rosie Cedar Project) in and around the cross-country skiing/snowshoe area. Scoping is the stage of planning process where the FS attempts to gather up information that can assist in developing a plan forest management projects. Skip, Goeff and I see this project as an opportunity to potentially expand and/or accomplish improvements to the area at a minimal cost to the club. We have responded to their request for input with a letter of proposed needs of the area that could be accomplished in conjunction with vegetation management activities. Some examples of our proposals include: 1) Widening narrow sections of the roads (trails) they may need to use for access to their treatment areas. This would improve our ability to groom in the future, 2) Removing dead and dying trees near to the roads. This would reduce the number of windfalls we now have to clear during the summer and winter, 3) Removing trees with boughs that overhang the roads, preventing sufficient snow from reaching the surface making sections of the trails prone to faster melting. Over the course of the winter boughs also creates tree wells (shallow snow and holes in the groomed surface), 4) Allowing the club to create new loop trails using over grown roads that will be reopened for access to treatment areas, 5) Restricting vegetation management operations so that the ski/snowshoe trails are still available to the public during the winter months.
Typical of the FS Planning process, it may be several years before this project is implemented. So we’re not foreseeing any changes happening in the near future to the ski/snowshoe area.