Grooming January 21, 2014

JuntilaGreetings NTN Members; January 21, 2014


Today’s grooming report is brought to you by the Juntilas. As you can see from the photo, they sponsors the “5K” mark.   The NTN is supported by contributions and receive zero government funding.  Without the support such as provided by Kirby we would not have the excellent skiing we enjoy.  If you see the Juntilas,  say thank you.

Skiers are reminded that parking in Forestville is best done at the trail head.  The road up to the power lines is a seasonal road and privately plowed by one of our neighbors.  He has asked us to try to keep skiers from parking at the power lines.  He has a hard time keeping the road open and cars in this area make his job even more difficult.

MORE COLD:  What a surprise.  We groomed to 22k via Noque and Animoosh plus inner loops this morning.  In addition, the Bombi is grooming from FV to Co Rd 510 so expect race ready conditions on the Noque!  The Wagis, sadly, must take a back seat to race prep.  Thrill seekers will have to ski up to the hills between 19 and 24k to find the climbs and downhill that makes one’s heart pound (both up and down.  We are buffing the trail for Saturday’s Marquette General Health System Noquemanon Ski Marathon.  The trail is in the best shape I have ever seen (and I am quite old after all)  and am looking forward to the event.

Comments encouraged.

Marquette General Hospital Noquemanon Ski Marathon: Don’t forget, the Noque’ marathon is Saturday January 25th

Snow Bike Route, South Trails: All 12 miles groomed yesterday.  See the facebook page to read comments or place comments.  Also, look at the website for maps.   

Saux Head: All trails were groomed  and track set Saturday but we have received new snow in the meantime. 


Valley Spur; See web site for details and on FB at Valley Spur Trails – National Forest Service

Al Quaal: Detailed report and news follow this link.

Fit Strip: Groomed and track set last Wednesday night. Not as much new snow in town as at Forestville so Fit Strip skiers will find trails passable.  Groomers will be out as soon as time permits.   The Fit Strip in the center of Marquette is  in as good a condition as I have ever seen it.  It can be found on West Ridge street and is in the woods next to the Park Cemetery.  The 2.5k series of loops are lit from 5 P.M. to 11 P.M.  We groom weekly or more often as conditions warrant. 

Big Bay Pathway: The Big Bay Pathway trails  groomed yesterday  on meditation and bear mtn. Conditions are good. Additional brushing has been done while still maintaining the rustic experience.


 “Funny Honey” Bear Ski Fundraiser set for Saturday, February 15, 2014 


Noquemanon Trail Network and Friends of the Big Bay Pathway will host the annual Honey Bear, “Funny Honey” Classic Ski Fundraiser and Snow Bike “Shnow-Off” in Big Bay on Saturday, February 15th from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm.

Skiers of any age will estimate their personal race time for one of several trail options through Big Bay’s featured ‘groomed wilderness’ beginning at the Pathway Trailhead at 11:00 am. Snow Bikers can ride the trail starting at 2:00.

Participants will CHECK-IN at the Thunder Bay Inn lobby between 10:00 and 12:00 pm and must be on-course no later than noon. An entry fee of $10/single, $20 per family will help fund the grooming and maintenance of the trail system.

Awards will honor skiers who most accurately estimate their race times. Special awards will be given for funniest hat, ugliest sweater and oldest equipment used in the ski race. Following the outdoor activities the Thunder Bay Inn will host a beehive of fun with door prizes, live music and a recognition ceremony from 2:30-3:00.

Register on our Big Bay Pathway Facebook event page or by calling 235-6861


See the NTN website for more details including directions to all of the trails systems above.  . 

Trail head staffing and after hours rental

The Forestville Trailhead has a wide selection of rental equipment for the winter enthusiast. Rentals hours are from 10 am to 4 pm, with 24 hour and multi-day rentals available with a valid credit card.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday the Trailhead is staffed from 10-4 by our Hospitality Coordinator Peter Johnson. During the week the NTN relies on volunteers to provide rental equipment. Currently, the Trailhead is staffed Monday and Tuesday from 10 until 4, and  Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10-1. If you need rental equipment during the times when there is no staffing, or there is no trail host when you arrive at the facility, please call Peter Johnson at 715-892-5811 or the NTN office at 906-235-6861. Downwind Sports in Marquette also  provides rental equipment. 

Trail host volunteers needed.  This is a great way to get involved, help out and stay warm.  You can sign up for an hour or two before or after skiing.  You can get to know lots of skiers and help the NTN remain financially viable. Groomers also are always needed.  If interested, please call or email Nikki at 906 235 6861 or email us at

Please call or email and comments to Nikki at 906 235 6861 or email us at

Grooming Equipment Decoder Ring:
As a skier, I always want to know how a given trail was groomed.  All our equipment has good and bad features.  We need them all to produce good skiing.  The following comments will help the reader’s enjoyment of the Grooming Report.  I hope this helps.  Let me know.

Bombardier: Also known as, the Bombi for short.  We have two Bombis in the fleet.  Both are 12’ wide and pull a power tiller and track setter.  One is a model 160 and the other is a model 180.  You will see large groomers like the Bombi at ski resorts.  The Bombi grooming is typically the best. There are other companies that make similar equipment.  One such groomer is called the Piston Bully.  If money were not   an object we would groom very often with the Bombi.  Sadly, money is an object (in that we don’t have nearly enough of it). The Bombi is very expensive to operate.  So, we tend to use the Bombi’s for major snow events and Marathon race preparation.  The power tiller will compact this major snow event and leave us with a wide flat hard surface. When ever the Bombi goes out there will be excellent classic tracks.  The Bombi needs a base depth of at least 6” just to operate.  Now that we have such as base we are in mid season skiing.

Snowmobile: We have three snow mobiles.  All three are 4 stroke long track Skidoo machines.  There are two “800s” and one “600”.  Each of the three snow mobiles can pull a roller packer and one of the small Ginzu (see roller and Ginzu below).

Gator: We have a “side-by-side” 4-wheeler called a Gator by the maker, John Deer.  We have the wheels removed and in place are tracks.  It is very powerful and can pull the larger 8’ Ginzu.  This larger Ginzu will tend to leave a better surface than the 6 foot Ginzu if the snow is old.  If there is too much new snow the Gator tends to be less than ideal because the wide tractor tracks don’t pack down the middle as well as a snowmobile.

Ginzu:  Ginzu is a model of the Yellowstone ski track setter brand.  We have two Ginzus that are about 6’ wide and one that is about 8’ wide.  All of the Ginzu have “teeth” that can be adjusted as snow conditions vary.  These teeth break up the old snow and blend it such that the combs can leave corduroy for our skiing enjoyment.  Following Bombi grooming, the Ginzu can go out the next day and touch up the surface and skiing is as good as Bombi grooming.  The Ginzus have a track setter and, given the correct snow quality, set a track as good as the Bombi.  However, with no power tiller, if the snow is old or icy, the Ginzu will not be able to make a very good track for classic skiing.  As such, if there are well formed tracks from the Bombi or earlier Ginzu grooming we will tend to leave them alone if, in the groomer’s opinion, fresh tracks would be no better than what is already there.

Rollers: We have two rollers to pack fresh snow.  They are 6’ wide and ban be pulled by any of the snowmobiles.  Early in the season we must roll to start the base.  In addition, following a large snow event, if the Bombi does not go out we need to pack before the Ginzu.

All of the above pieces of equipment pale in comparison to the indispensable “Volunteer”.  These poor souls have some sort of flaw that makes them go out at all hours and drive the above in an attempt to produce corduroy for our enjoyment.  An experienced groomer will know which piece of equipment is best for the job.  In addition, they will know the little tricks such as, how deep to set the teeth on the Ginzu or how fast to go if setting classic tracks or if packing is needed before grooming.  Grooming the trails from Forestville to Co Rd 510 including all the loops will take a volunteer about 8 hours.  Volunteers are always welcome.

Trail Decoder Ring:

Decoder Ring for trail names:
With over 50 km of groomed trails one needs a decoder ring to keep them straight.  So, following you will find such a decoder device.  I recommend reading this section with the map page open (please follow the link on the “Trails” page.
Noque’: This one is easy.  The Noquemanon Ski Marathon’s last 24k run from Co Rd 550 to the Superior Dome.  Our Forestville trail head is at the 10k mark.  From the trail head to 18k the trail is mostly gently rolling terrain.  There is a gentle climb to the power lines at 11k and then a hill by pass via Animoosh to avoid a nice set of hills between 11k and 12k.  From 19k to 24k at Co Rd 510 you will find a nice series of long hills.  We typically can’t groom beyond the bridges at 16k before several significant snow events due to rough terrain in the swamp past the bridge.
Animoosh: Animoosh runs  roughly parallel to the Noque’ and is the route where skiers may run their dogs.  It is similar terrain to the Noque’.  We have extended Animoosh this year so dogs can be kept separate all the way to Great Plains Junction at 13k.  Animoosh then continues  as the South fork at the Pine Plantation re-joining the Noque’ at 18k. Also part of Animoosh is the Mead Hills Bypass.  At the 19k mark the trail splits again similar to the pine plantation split.  You can parallel the Noque on another trail all the way to the 24k mark at Co Rd 510.  This section is also “dog friendly” and is therefore called part of Animoosh.
The “Wajis”:  The advanced and expert skiing are on Bagwaji and Chiwaji to the North East of the Noque’.  To ski the “Wajis” one typically leaves the trail head on the Noque and takes the first right on Papasay less than 1k from the stadium.  Take the first left on Gookookoo and cross the power lines to Hemlock Junction.  Following a gradual climb keep right where  Migizi joins.  The Wajis are one way (counter clock wise)  due to the steep and winding trails.   There are two cut offs before reaching the Noque at the 14k mark.  The Waji skier returns from 14k on Chiwagi. (after skiing on Chiwagi for .5k, Mukwa is a .5k connector that splits to the right and brings skiers back to the 13k mark near the end of Animoosh).  Follow Chiwaji 3k going up and down a series of hills, the best one being a high banked turn given the moniker  “Talladega after the stock car track with the same feature (hill by passes available) to Waban. Waaban is a short flat loop off the Noque’.  Follow Waaban to the Noque’ at Grand Central and then Migizi back to Gookookoo and home.
Inner Loops: There are a number of loops close to the trail head.  Collectively I tend to call them the “Inner Loops”.  Papasay, Zhing and Boozhoo provide skiers with trails within sight of the trail head.  There is a FIS quality “sprint” loop for sprint events.
Grooming Priority: Given unlimited money and man power we would groom all trails every night.  Given limited resources we  typically need to make grooming decisions.  We will always plan on keeping the Noque to 17k and Animoosh groomed every day.  Then, time permitting we will work on the Wajis.  Following the Waji loop we will run to Co Rd 510.  Grooming all of the above listed trails takes close to 8 hours.  So, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities if you would like to join the exciting world of trail grooming.