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Monday, January 18, 2016

As of today, every inch of the ski trail has now been groomed at least once. Today I examined the trail from 45km (Deer Lake) to 30km (just north of the Dead River Basin). Overall the trail looks good and is going to be ready for Saturday. Deer Lake looks very good. No slush and plenty of natural snow that is packing nicely. The hill off of Deer Lake looks the best it has in years. We don’t have as much snow as normal, but the snow we have is packing much better than normal.

We were able to straighten out the entry onto Deer Lake and are making the entry point more gradual. From Deer Lake to Aid Station #1 the trail is ok, very skiable but was thin in some areas. You will see some underbrush, leaves, etc but the skiing was good today and should be fine for the race. The improvements we made to the widening of the downhills, in this area, will make for a much more pleasurable skiing experience for the back of the pack skiers. The hills are still steep, but they are wider with better viewing angles.

The rest of this section to the Dead River Basin (30km) has good snow. There are a couple of very short bumpy sections due to the less than normal snowfall. We may decide to not set track in very short sections that we feel could stir up dirt. But the vast majority of this section should have a very nice track. We added some snow to the bottom of the Dead River Basin entry hill to make it a more gradual decent and entry to the basin.

The basin has lots of snow with some slush about 4-6 inches under the snow pack. We plan to pack this stretch frequently to firm it up. There could be some icy sections on this crossing. Once you exit the Dead River Basin you will be in Granite Point. The snow is a bit thinner than normal and there will be some occasional underbrush poking through and some thin areas in here as well. That said, the snow is packing very well. It is possible that some of the tight windy downhills could get very thin for the back of the pack skiers. This is my only course concern. However, this is a concern we have had every year. Next year we will be doing a major re-route inside Granite Point!

As you exit Granite Point and cross county road 510 at 24km to go, you will fine absolutely perfect skiing conditions for 22km. The final two Kilometers of the race course are in better condition, five days before a race, than we have had in years. We will be hauling and shoveling some snow on the wind-blown areas tomorrow and I expect this section will be very good come race day. We have been very fortunate to get good moist snow to build a nice firm base. Overall conditions look very good. Temperatures are to remain cold and night with temperatures warming into the high 20’s by race day. We do not expect any new snow the last 2-3 days before the race. It is possible for another couple of inches in the next day or so. If we were to get that, our thin areas my no longer be an issue.

I expect a great course for Saturday! See you then.


Jon Mommaerts
Chief of Course

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