2019 April 21, Grooming Report

2019 April 21, Grooming Report;  

To quote Chicago Cubs late, great grooming report announcer, Ho-Le Cow!  Was skiing great yesterday.  Check out the massive snow field near the 510 end of my run to Forestville and back.  At 8:00 am it was already shirt sleeve skiing with rock hard crust.  The sun glinting on the surface crystals was like so many diamonds on a giant ski file.  Early in the day even the gradual down hills were hair raising.  In wide areas one could find virgin crust with a surface so flat your skis would hiss. Now you would find small ripples and the occasional foot print or ski track but it was awesome!


The base is between one and two feet with only the occasional water crossing to address. On the Mead Hills Bypass section watch out for coffin sized depressions where deciduous trees, laden with storm snow had been buried in the trail.  At some point in the last month, the kinetic energy like so many catapults was unleased.  Imagine standing next to one of these 4” maple or oak trees as it springs back to life flinging snow and ice everywhere. You can still see the trees next to the holes in the trail; not fully straight but happy to have escaped the snow pack without splitting.  With this much consolidated snow one needs to be mindful of ice bridges and flowing water under the snow pack. I broke a ski (and the skin on my face) punching through an ice bridge only last spring.)  Look for tell tail signs such as surface cracks and open water near by. There are a few failed ice bridges on the way to Forestville so look out on the down hills as most are in valleys at the bottom of hills.  They are dramatic to behold with a two foot sharp drop to the water.  Of course, the bridges are more dangerous than the failed bridges so take care that your weight may cause their failure.


Even at 10 AM the snow was still lightning fast with only a hint of getting soft in direct sun.  With the calm air belying the true temperature and low humidity causing sublimation faster than it could melt, the snow remained ideal until well after noon.

Of course one has to ponder, what to do after a 30k ski in late April?  I’m not sure of your instructions but it says here, “go alpine skiing”. I grabbed my AT gear and found a north facing slope with a 500’ drop and enjoyed making some turns. Check out the long crescent shaped crevasse in the foreground showing evidence of a failed ice bridge below so take care.  I must say, even my first climb was a bit slower than I would like to admit but I blamed it on a loss of vinegar during the morning ski.  As I was leaving the hill, no less an alpine personage than Matt arrived ready to take over the slope.  I had actually expected a dozen skiers on such a beautiful day.  I felt badly that we did not put out a crust alert.  Had Matt been told he could have avoided his early morning mistake.  You see, he first arrived at he hill in the morning and said he needed crampons to get up the hill.  He should have been BC XC skating until noon.


My trifecta bike ride was on the wimpy side of the spectrum but we have yet to codify these shoulder season triathlons.  For example, does skiing less than 30k qualify?  How many times do you have to climb the ski hill?  Is a bike ride up Mt. Marquette enough?  Is water skiing required?  Anyone with a boat ready for the event gets free entry.  Does tennis count?  How about golf?




In reality, is three evens the number?  There was a day when the winner of the Olympics was crowned following the discus, long jump, javelin, running and wrestling.  I know for the last hundred years the events have been fencing, swimming, show jumping, pistol shooting and running but that is the Modern Pentathlon.  No, here we are talking the Post-modern Pentathlon.  Please make your suggestions.  Better yet, send in your evidence of its same day completion.  You know, like in the trite noir movies where a photograph of the event includes today’s news paper (if you don’t know what that is just ask someone over 40).


It looks like we have a few more weeks to pull off a post modern pentathlon so,  good luck.




Forestville: (Remember; grooming is being done from Co Rd 501 due to logging.  See map and details below)


No grooming today but Goldie Locks skiing will begin by late morning and should be good all day.  Please let us know what you see.  Of course, pictures too.  Fun spring skiing; see pics from


Saux Head:  I expect there are some thin or wet spots but expect good base on much of the trails.  Please let us know.




See map below for trail closures due to logging.




Over 99% of the trails we ski, bike, run and walk are owned by private land owners.  Most of the trails are on commercial forest land.  These land owners wish to see their land used by skiers, bikers, runners and walkers for 99+% of the time.  All they ask is that we understand they need to use the land for a few months per decade.

I really want both of you to understand how important our commercial forests are to life in the U.P.  In much of the country where commercial forestry has fallen behind other uses as the highest and best use, trails like the entire NTN are not possible.  Land in such areas is owned in small private blocks and the public is locked out.

Effective March 25th, parts of our trail system were closed for logging.  One of the keys to the NTN’s success is the fact our users understand this symbiosis.  Our part in this process is to stay out of the way of the loggers and thank them for their support.  Logging is a dangerous and capital intensive operation.  We need to help them be safe and look out for their equipment.  Trails will be marked as closed and we trust you will stay away from the logging operations.

The land owners always wait until late in the year to allow as long a ski season as possible.  In addition, they attempt to keep as much of the trail open as possible.  Beginning next Monday, several sections of trail near the power lines will be blocked and logging trucks will be driving on them.

The NTN is committed to providing top quality skiing if at all possible.  You have come to expect nothing less and we are used to providing nothing but.  We will continue to groom trails between Co Rd 510 and the logging areas.  Most skiers (especially the spring time skiers) know the best skiing is near Co Rd 510 anyway.