Sunday, April 21, 2013

Grooming Trillium Lake Snowtrails, a 27 year labor of love

Little did we know 27 years ago when we first had a small snocat and the idea to offer xc skiers a better experience at Trillium Lake by grooming the main trail, that it would explode into a 27 year labor of love. It's a labor of love not only for Dave and now Jeremy, who volunteer their time to operate the snocat and do the grooming, but also for the local Government Camp Marketing Council  and those of you who donate  at the trailheads. These funds  cover the snocat operating expenses.

Boy, have things changed!
Here's a picture of David & Jeremy with our first snocat a few years into the effort. The snocat pulled a  "drag" that left a single double ski track for those skinny skis. Sometimes the snow was too heavy +/or  deep to operate the snocat.Parts broke easily.Snowshoeing wasn't popular & the few folks that did it, used the type that looked more like "Sargent Preston's.

Now, Trillium continues to be a very popular winter destination, but not just for xc skiers. Weekends, my guess is that 80% of the folks at Trillium are snowshoers, sporting those lightweight, aluminum snowshoes, which allow any one that can walk to have fun and be a  successful snowshoer. Many of these folks are new to winter +/or outdoor activities and they may only get out once or twice a year.  Midweek sees mostly xc skiers at Trillium and many of those are also skiing further out.
So what does the grooming look like now?

Our current  snocat is still ancient, but much bigger. We even have 2.  Depending on the conditions, the snow can be track packed by the snocat alone, or we pull a large roller to reduce the volume.  The side for xc skiers then gets a double wide xc ski track set. If we get a dump of 2-4 feet, it's not unusual to make 4 passes before the job is done. Other times it's one. In the end, there's a double wide flat lane for snowshoers (xc ski skaters, walkers & the occasional snowmobiler or dog sledder) and a double xc ski track, so folks can be side by side. 

Another thing that has changed. You'll find Jeremy the one that volunteers the most to do the grooming these days. This winter (a fairly light snow year)
the Trillum Lake Loop and Hemlock were groomed 23 times.

Grooming has ended for this winter. You can follow the snow conditions at Trillium Lake by clicking on the Gov Camp Trail Condition Button at next winter.