Thursday, April 20, 2017

Winter Recap 2016-17

The blog is back. Neglected during the busy winter season. March blogging active with daily reports on 30DaysOfSkiing that has turned into 31 days.  A lot of great memories this winter season from family activities to winter operations at Maplelag. Social media has deflected regular blog posts. but hope to get back on a schedule like when first starting doing this. 

As said before, fun to look back at the memories. My digital photo collection is scattered all over the place and the blog has been a good summary for many photos and mostly family activities. With most family doings covered on Insta and Twitter this winter, this year's winter recap will focus on the ski teams we had at Maplelag with some grooming highlights. 
It was the most teams we have had in a season with ski camps, ski meets and kids traveling as far as two hours away for just a day of training. Having the ski camps is probably the highlight of the year for me personally as love having the kids. The energy, growth and future of the sport is encouraging and inspiring. Of course the guests that come to Maplelag all very special to us and grateful to be part of memories made by those folks as well. 
The HS Nordic season started off this year with the newly formed Moorhead Nordic ski team coming out for a day of brush and deadfall clearing. Once we clear the leaves off the trail after they have fallen off the trees, the trails are ready for the first snow. Sometimes wind will come in though, as was the case this year, and the clearing of branches, twigs etc. makes a huge difference to have skiable conditions after just 2-3" of snow. The coach Tom Dooher has done an amazing job with this new program. Not easy to get kids out by 7am on a Saturday but emphasizing being out in nature huge for Tom.

Fall prep.

 Grooming an inch of snow. I've learned over the years that even though it can be rough on equipment, it feels rough, but grooming those first around an inch are key for having the base ready for the next snowfalls. The frost was late to come this year and compressing this snow when the nights finally were freezing down, were key in getting frost down. Often times it is a watching and waiting game nip and tuck to the first ski camp weekend in December. Thankfully the snow came early this year which allowed prep of the base for the hundreds of kids came. With a couple hundred kids on the weekend skiing multiple laps, having the goal is to have the base as bomb proof as possible with the surface structured.

Before we had the first official camp, Tom and the Spuds out for a Saturday working on technique.
 First ski camp weekend. With teams from SP Highland Park, Mound, Chaska/Chan and Champlain Park.
 One of the fun things of ski camps is having kids of the families we have gotten to know over the years from family trips. In this case, the Johnson bro's which are son of Matt and Meredith Johnson that have been coming to the Laddies Loppet mtb race weekend since they were sucking on schraeder valves. Cole having a bowl of chicken noodle soup.
 Rare break for the skis.
The kids come to ski during ski camp. Many kids will log up to 150km on a three day weekend, sometimes more. It makes grooming a bit trickier with really the only hours to groom from midnight to 6am. Often times I will bump into kids while grooming. Having to groom during those hours in the dark is all worth it, quite inspiring to see kids out at that time, often times in subzero temps.
 Heavy snow falling on Bloomington Jefferson. When it starts dumping the excitement level jumps up a notch. There is nothing better to pack in new snow like a bunch of skiers. It really worked out well this year as far as the timing of new snowfall and skiers skiing on it right after.

Making another pass up Suicide Hill. SH gets skied on hard and every little dusting has to be groomed in. All told, probably groomed over 200 times this year. Critical to do so after a heavy day of skiing so it doesn't set up bumpy/rough. The exposure is perfect for hanging on to the first snowfalls and holding snow 7-10 days after the snow has melted elsewhere.
Ski bags.
Minnetonka Nords. Coach Mason leaving after this season, great coach did a fantastic job and always enjoyed talking Nordic with him and his visits during the summer on his way to his retirement pad north of here.
MPLS South skiers going retro before a team time trial.
Saturday dance with all teams mixing it up.
It is pretty tight getting in and out of the Maplelag driveway when things are busy. Driver Dan for US Foods as good as they gets, not phased by snow or weather or kids walking around slipping and sliding when carrying skis.
One of the wax rooms.
Maplelag MTB Team members Taylor and Devon Horner displaying the team trophy for winning the state champs while on ski camp with Burnsville Nords.
St Cloud Tech having fun with  group shot during Holiday ski camp.

World Cup skiers Matt Liebsch coming up for a few days to help Moorhead with their Holiday camp.
In years past I've had people help out groom but this year the person I had set to help took a job else where last minute in November. I wasn't able to replace that person so it meant doing all the grooming this year solo. Like years past,Jens willing to help out on days before races etc. when multiple passes required simultaneously to have best deck possible.

 Jack racing the next day in the home (DL) Invite, classic leg.

Skater leg.

Little Falls skier Seth and his mom presenting a jar of chokecherry jelly. Seth will reach out throughout the season with ski and wax questions, always glad to help out the kids and anyway.
Start of a conference meet hosted by Moorhead.
Former ski camper Kendra came to help during her ski break. We've had a handful of former ski campers come and help and its worked out great.
 Jon home for break from year of playing JR hockey, supporting Jack during DL Invite.
Jens, Jonell and Jake

Another winter snow didn't fall in places where the majority of skiers live and the winter is remembered as a winter with no snow. We were very fortunate to have snow early in December with snowfalls in the 2-4" range to keep things fresh and build up the base. Some warm weather and one day with light rain didn't damage the base but only solidified it when it cooled down again. Photo taken January 3rd, 2017.

With normal to slightly above normal snowfall combined with some big wind a few days resulted in some drifting and getting stuck.

Seems like either shoveling snow on to the trail, or off it. All good.
Moorhead had an adaptive skier that unofficially was the first hs skier to "compete" ever. Pretty neat stuff. She keeps very busy in the winter also doing alpine and hockey. Awesome.

Rochester Ski Team getting set for a morning of training. The leaders have done an incredible job with this program building it up in a area that doesn't have reliable snow. They are very proud of Ian Torchia who came from RST and skied his way to a scholarship with NMU and D squad on the US Ski team.
Coach Boonstra of Eden Prairie calling for a pole tap for the groomer who was out grooming fresh snow in the morning.
Brainerd skiers showing support on the side of the trail during conference meet.

Start of girls conference meet.
Great display of sportsmanship between MHD and Bemidji girl skiers.

Holy Family Skiers.
We hosted the Section 8 Nordic Ski Champs again. Was a memorable day with 3" of fluff snow falling just as I finished grooming a few hours earlier. Skies cleared and sunshine came out.
Girls champ Kendal. Kendal made a lot of trips during the season, putting four hours of driving in for a full day of ski training.
Boy's champ Hunter. Pretty much dominated every local race and finished up with a strong finish at the state meet.
Moorhead coach Tom Dooher and his son Dan. Tom won coach of the year for Section 8. Like I said earlier, as done a phenomenal job in the two years and really excited to see the development of this program.
Awards ceremony for sections. Another great season, can't wait for next year!


M Hall said...

Full time Adventure up there in the Winter woods... Many people are able to reap the benefits of your families efforts Jay. Carry on! Find time to get that singletrack!

Jay Richards said...

Thanks, as always, for the support Mike. Singletrack is calling my name....