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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

grooming update 3/31

Mid-winter conditions today with the temp around 0 degrees(F) early this morning and not getting out of the teens when I left at 2:00 PM. About 10" of new snow on a 6 1/2 ft. base.
As we transition toward the end of the season, we are going to groom less KMs during the week. We will still provide excellent skiing, but with fewer skiers, we will not groom all the trails within the system.


Monday, March 30, 2009

grooming for week 3/30-4/4

Looking like Tues, Thurs. then Sat. for the grooming schedule this week. As always, subject to change.

The GMNC board has decided to extend the grooming for another week due to the fabulous skiing conditions we are experiencing. We will shift to a modified grooming schedule and focus on the weekend for the last week of the season.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

grooming update 3/28

Yesterday (Friday) Kenton was only able to complete Skyway due to the late start and the new snow. If all goes as planned, he will finish up County Line today and work at Skyway to firm up the soft trail conditions.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hwy 65 closed tonight

CDOT will be conducting avalanche control work on Hwy 65. Beginning tonight about 7:00 PM the road will be closed over the top of the Grand Mesa until around noon tomorrow.
Grooming at Skyway/County Line will begin in the afternoon.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Spring Version of Winter... Saturday is The Pick Day

After last week's big warm High Pressure, winter weather has returned to the Grand Mesa. Sunday's big winds put a lot of dust on the snowpack, that may have implications for our crust skiing in April and May, and speed up the snowmelt in May and June. For now, that dust layer has been buried under more than a foot of new snow.
Light snowfall will grace our trails Wednesday. A larger amount of snow will fall on Thursday along with gusty NW winds. This storm is arriving from north of the Aleutian Islands tracking north to south through Utah. The Grand Mesa is on the western edge of the best forcing with the cold front passing in the morning. Another foot of snowfall is possible by late Thursday night.
This will bring wonderful skiing weather for Friday and Saturday. Friday will be cool with highs in the low-mid 20s, perhaps a wonderful waxed-classic ski day. Saturday should see high temperatures around 32 degrees, for fast skating or fishscale classic.
This progressive and active pattern looks to continue into early next week at least, with windy snow storms passing on Sunday and a stronger one on Tuesday.



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

GRooming update 3/24

John groomed all of Skyway/County Line with about 14" of new snow, with flurries all day.
He will do some additional grooming Wed. AM at Skyway.
Next grooming will be on Friday.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Grooming week 3/23-28

Back to winter conditions! Will groom on Tues. the 24th, then probably on Friday the 27th. and late on Sat. or Sun. AM. for the weekend skiers.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sublime Skating

One of the best days of skating I've ever had. Thanks to Kenton for
grooming! Pretty much perfect conditions: firm and fast.
Chuck from Paonia

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yipeeee! Crust Skiing comes early.

Wow! What an incredible day. I got to County Line about 11am hoping there might be a nice crust, but assuming that I'd arrived too late to take advantage. Was I wrong!

The snow off-trail at County Line/Skyway had developed a wonderfully hard crust, perfect for skating. For nearly an hour, I went crazy, skiing anywhere and everywhere.

That's the thing about crust, it's nature's equivalent of groomed hardpack. Instead of slogging through deep snow off-trail, you can glide wherever your heart desires.

By noon, the crust was getting soft enough that I was punching through the crust in sunny spots, so I skied back on the groomed trails, which remained in excellent shape--hard and fast. The grooming is holding up well.

With a new weather system rolling in soon, the crust may not last. Enjoy now.


grooming update 3/21

Skiing was great on Friday after John came through with the 'cat. Prior to that, it was a little dicey with the ruts and frozen chicken-heads that had developed since the last grooming.
Still debating whether to have groomed today(Sat.)' so would love some feedback from anyone going up.
Kenton will groom on Sun.

The snow has corned up in the open meadows, and will support a skier on a southerly aspect. Still breakable crust on other aspects.

Expecting a change in the wx pattern next week, so will set the grooming schedule accordingly.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

grooming update

Kenton groomed yesterday, trying to find the sweet spot during the day when it wasn't too icy nor too slushy. John will start on Friday around 9:00 AM and hope he can get a lot done before it's too soft.

Let hope for snow next week and a return to 'normal' conditions.


Race Results Posted

Race results for the 2009 Mesa Mesadown and final race series standings are now posted.

Tom and Jerry

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2008-2009 Race Series Winners

Another wonderful Grand Mesa racing season came to a close with the March 14 Mesa Meltdown races and the 2008-2009 Point Series winners were crowned. Dave Aschwanden and Suzi Evans took home the honors and the great LOKI outdoor gear Grand Prizes. The mix of races through the season tests consistency, technique, speed and endurance and these two came out on top. Last year's winner Helen Carlsen pushed Suzi in all of the races but kept coming in a notch behind to capture second in the overall standings. Al Fournier won the 50's age group but couldn't ever catch the youngster to move up from second male overall. A large contingent of citizen racers followed these top dogs, all happy to be out there challenging themselves, getting some fresh air and exercise and enjoying the homemade soup.

These were the Age Group Winners:
Females Maddy Pill-Kastens (<10), Brooke Bosman (<20), Christie Aschwanden (30's), Helen Carlsen (40's) and Suzi Evans (50's).
Males Tre Anastasia (<20), Patrick Aschwanden, Terray Sylvester and Adam Cadez-Schmidt (20's), Denis Reich (30's), Dave Aschwanden (40's), Al Fournier (50's), Jean Jacques d'Aquin (60's), Tom Jones (70's) and yes! Bill Ela (80's).
Great racing, all of you!

Special thanks to Shirley Ela, head soup server and registrar, Bill Ela, chief of clean-up, groomers and course setters Kenton Shaw and Jon Canty, and official timers Terry Brown, Leslie Broadhead, Bryon Lawrence and Joan Dennan. Rest up, we'll do it all over again next year!

Full results should be on the web site soon.


Grooming for week 3/17-22

On Wed. 3/18, all of Skyway/County Line will be groomed, most likely in the afternoon. As the weekend approaches, we will groom on Friday PM, and again on Sunday.
No grooming at Ward is planned for the rest of the season. Expect backcountry conditions for the rest of the season.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Limited Edition Poster Update

We still have available some of Kari Sewell's handsome commemorative posters for the 2008-2009 season. The price for one of these signed and numbered suitable-for-framing posters is actually a mere $10 for GMNC members and $15 for everyone else. Kari is generously donating all proceeds to the GMNC so all of your $10 goes directly into more grooming for the trails. Contact me and I will get one of these keepsakes to you:
Tom Ela

Friday, March 13, 2009

Limited edition posters are here!

A limited number of commemorative posters to celebrate the 2008/2009 GMNC race series will be available for purchase at the Mesa Meltdown tomorrow.

The poster features a beautiful pastel painting by artist (and GMNC member) Kari Sewell. The painting is a landscape of the trails at Grand Mesa.

Posters are printed on 11x17 glossy poster stock and are signed and numbered by the artist.

Cost is $15 for GMNC members, $20 for non-members and proceeds go to GMNC. Our thanks to Kari for donating her fine work to the GMNC.


How are we doing?

The GMNC board wants to hear from you.

What have we done well this year?
What could we improve on?
How has the grooming been?
What did you think of our programs and events?
What events or programs would you like us to add?
Comments? Suggestions?

Come talk to the board in person this Saturday, March 14 at the GMNC spring BBQ at Skyway from 2-4pm (after the Mesa Meltdown race).

If you can't make it to the party, feel free to send comments to or post comments below.

We're always willing to listen.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Grooming 3/11

Skyway/County Line and Ward groomed today with 12" of new snow on a 6 ft. base (at Skyway).
Fabulous conditions so get out there while you can.
Next grooming at Skyway/County Line will be on Friday PM, in preparation for the Mesa Meltdown 20 km race. We will reset the course Sat. AM if needed.
And due to feedback from some skiers, we will groom Ward again next week after the next storm passes.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Photos from the Barneloppet

Thanks to Tom Ela and the Sons of Norway for putting on a great kids' race.  The grooming was awesome and the kids did a great job. 
~Annie D.

Is This the Last Week of Winter?

This Tuesday morning, the winter storm is winding down as the cold front pushes into New Mexico. The Grand Valley got cheated as Montrose got their 1-2 inches and stole Grand Junction's too! The Grand Mesa got its fare share though. Powderhorn, and the towers at Mesa Lakes and Park reservoir all reported around 8 inches of new snow. The gusty west winds will continue to whip it and drift it this afternoon.
Tonight, clear skies and a dry airmass will allow for very cold low temperatures into Wednesday morning. But with afternoon temperatures climbing back into the mid-upper 20s, any style of skiing should be marvelous. Don't forget the sunscreen.
Thursday and Friday, a different pattern sets up for the remainder of the week. A weak Low Pressure system ambles towards us from southern California pulling moisture up from the Southwest. The San Juan and West Elk mountains look favored to get snowfall Thursday and Friday. The GMNC trails could get some light accumulations but without the gusty winds of late.
As the California Low shifts east, Saturday looks nice for the race and post-race party. Some mid-level moisture lingers with perhaps a few scattered afternoon light snow showers. Low temperatures will be less-cold than previously thought, 10-15? Afternoon highs in the mid-20s, with race-time snow dry at 17-23F?
Sunday, an open Pacific trough of Low Pressure passes bringing snow and gusty west winds. Enjoy those freshies, for strong High Pressure builds in from the west next week for warm and dry conditions. Can crust season be far behind? 



Party this weekend on the Mesa

The GMNC will host a spring BBQ at Skyway on Saturday, March 14, following the Mesa Meltdown race.

Board members will be available from 2-4pm to listen to your concerns and ideas or to just have a beer and brat (or hot chocolate and tofuburger) and a friendly chat.

Don't worry, this date does not mark the end of our grooming efforts--it's merely an opportunity to socialize and get to know other members and the board. 

We'll provide a grill. You bring your preferred beverage, items to grill and a chair. 

Hope to see you there!

Christie Aschwanden
President, GMNC

Monday, March 9, 2009

grooming for week 3/9-15

Both Skyway/County Line and Ward will be groomed on Wed., as the next storm passes. Depending on the timing and strength of the next system, this could be the last grooming at Ward for the season.
Friday PM will be the next grooming at Skyway/County Line, in preparation for the Mesa Meltdown 20 km race on Sat.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another Winter Blast this Week

I hope all the Barne skiers enjoyed the winter storm on Saturday and stayed warm. After a cold start this Sunday morning, today is a bluebird day on the Mesa. Any activity you choose should be a pleasure with lots of natural vitamin D available.
Monday, pre-frontal SW winds increase to 15-25 mph and gusty in the open areas. A strong Pacific Northwest cold front sweeps through Western Colorado late Monday night. The front will put an inch or two of snow into the Grand Valley, probably less in the North Fork valley, for your Tuesday driving pleasure. On the GMNC trails, expect 5-10 inches of new windblown and drifted snow by Tuesday sunset. 
Wednesday through Friday look like pleasant ski opportunities, with afternoon high temperatures in the 20s. Now that we are on daylight savings time, this brings some nice after-work ski opportunities. Wednesday is officially the full moon date, but still expect the moon to rise about 40 minutes after sunset. Friday may bring some light snowfall, but no accumulations expected for now. Cold morning and snow temperatures still favor cold ski waxes and good waxable classic skiing.
First outlook for the Mesa Meltdown next Saturday, is sunny skies and light winds. Race time air temperatures in the upper teens to mid 20s, but snow temperature remaining cold and dry for easy waxing conditions.
I will update this week if, as usual, the weather proves to be more complicated.



Friday, March 6, 2009

Wind Waves

Wednesday's wind created some interesting snow sculptures near the trail junction at Scales Lake and Lions.

Don't be scared off though, the wind sculptures are mostly off the trail and the tracks are in fine shape everywhere else. But these photos will give you an idea of some of the extra work our groomers do.

The trails will be freshly groomed again tomorrow (Saturday). For details, see grooming report below.

Enjoy our trails? Thank a groomer, and consider making a spontaneous, kind-hearted donation.


weekend grooming

Slight change in plans for Ward due to wind and forecast. Al will groom on Sat. afternoon or Sun. AM as storm moves out.
Skyway/County Line will stay the same, with morning grooming both days unless it's out of control with blowing and snowing.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Perfect tracks...

What a day! A warm breeze and perfect tracks at County Line. Best part: no dog poop! Let's try to keep it that way...



Grooming for week 3/4-8

Plan to have Skyway/County Line groomed on Wed., Fri.P.M. , and both days on the weekend if needed.
Ward will be groomed on Friday PM, and possibly again on Sun. Due to the warm temperatures, it is getting difficult to groom at Ward.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

weather outlook... or alms for Ullr

Last Friday I promised you a winter storm this Thursday that would produce some good snowfall.  This is not to be.
Now some of the NWS forecasters are talking about a perisistent long-wave western ridge, and geeky stuff like forecast model performance during transitional periods. But you and I know in our heart of hearts the norse god of skiing, Ullr, is unhappy with us! If you have not yet "made a spontaneous, kind-hearted donation to GMNC" here is your opportunity to bring winter back to the GMNC trails!
The outlook is for breezy and mild conditions to continue through Thursday. There is a chance of snowfall starting on Friday and into the weekend. The current forecast models do not produce much snow over the Grand Mesa through the weekend, but alms to Ullr could change all that!
Cuurent forecast for the Barnelopet, is cloudy with a slight chance of only light snow. Breezy SW winds in the open areas will gust to 20 mph or so. Temperatures in the low-mid 20s.
But be flexible, bring some extra clothes for your child, and watch the current conditions and evolving forecast here




Monday, March 2, 2009

Barnelopet Weekend

This Saturday 3/7 brings us the Barnelopet at Skyway. Please note that due to the expected big crowd, the scheduled adult lessons for the day have been cancelled. Also note that parking may be tight so it's especially important to carpool if possible.

The Barnelopet is the free ski day for kids 3-16 brought to you by the Sons of Norway Vestafjell Lodge and the Grand Mesa Nordic Council. Registration is from 10 until 11 AM. After registering kids can get a free ski lesson tailored to their ability. Finally there will be a fun non-competitive ski race starting at 12 PM with a choice of distance and challenge. Hot drinks and snacks will be available with no charge. Kids must bring their own or rental equipment with them. There will be none available on site. It's a great day for kids to get a taste of cross country skiing. For more info give me a call or write.

Tom Ela