Nordic Notes

A skier gets in trail time recently at Cottonwood Creek.

Great Nordic skiing is still available in the valley. As snow in south-facing areas grows thin, the best skiing will be found in higher-elevation, north-facing or shaded trails, or the northern part of the valley.

Crust cruising remains a great option, but, as nighttime temperatures gradually rise, plan adventures earlier in the morning to ensure the snow remains firm. Be especially cautious of new hazards emerging from the snow.

Quick Tip of the Day

Courtesy of Gannett Swan

As snow melts and refreezes repeatedly with the spring day-night cycle, the crystals within the snow grow larger and more coarse. This offers a great opportunity for skiers looking to clean their skis before packing them away for the summer.

Crust cruising on this exceedingly coarse snow can quickly scrape away all but the toughest of waxes, especially when zooming downhill at moderate speeds. Just plan a trip with a good downhill right at the end, and you can find most of your springtime cleaning work done for you by the time you finish.

There will still be some residue to remove, but if given the choice, why not do most of the hard work and have a great time simultaneously? Take those dirty skis out and have one last adventure before putting them away for the summer. (see also Scott Horn’s more detailed instructions from last week’s tech tip)

Final Grooming Reports

Shooting Star Nordic Center

Shooting Star will be one of the last Nordic Centers to remain open this year, and is a fantastic location to quench any final ski cravings before the snow melts.

Shooting Star finished grooming on Saturday, April 3, however the trails are in good condition, smooth and packed. This will result in icier early-morning conditions, softening as the day goes on. The snowshoe loop is closed. The Sledding Hill is no longer being groomed; however, sledding will still be available, albeit with slightly rougher ungroomed conditions. Please finish skiing by 6 p.m., to prevent damage that will freeze hard overnight.

Dog-friendly loops, rentals and retail are available. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Bridger-Teton National Forest and Teton County public trails

Teton County trails are no longer being groomed. Snow continues to recede, but most trails should still offer some decent skiing. Trail users may need to walk a short way from the trailhead to reach skiable snow, but previously-groomed trails should remain usable well past the point where nearby ground is bare.

If you enjoyed using these trails this season, be sure to support Friends of Bridger-Teton, Teton County/Jackson Parks and Rec Department, and Friends of Pathways, which work together and go to great lengths to keep them available. Always recreate responsibly.

Dogs must be leashed in the Cache Creek trailhead, the Game Creek trailhead, the first 1.3 miles of the Game Creek Trail and the entire Putt-Putt Trail out of the Nelson trailhead in East Jackson. Please pick up the poop.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park’s skier-tracked trails are growing rougher (i.e., Moose-Wilson Road), but northern sections of the valley should still offer excellent crust cruising in the morning for both skate and classic skiing. Just pick an area without many previous tracks and relatively open terrain, and go wherever you want. The crust surface has been bumpy this last week; however, with a small amount of fresh snow Tuesday, this may be enough to smooth the surface.

Cyclists and pedestrians will have exclusive access to the Teton Park Road for the next several weeks, between Taggart Lake Trailhead and Signal Mountain Lodge, until May 1, so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts. A fun option is to strap your Nordic skis to your pack to get out away from the trailhead on either end, then ski a section of crust.

Trail Creek Nordic Center

Trail Creek grooming has ended, and private sections are officially closed for the season, but the wooded U.S. Forest Service trails will continue to offer a significant amount of great skiing. Access trails from the USFS Old Pass Road entrance.

Please consider supporting the Trail Creek PistenBully campaign at JHSkiClub.org/support/cat-campaign. The current machine is showing its age, and an upgrade now will ensure the perfect corduroy that everyone knows and loves.

The Old Pass Road also offers some great opportunities for Nordic skiing, but watch for alpine skiers coming down and be aware that your own return could be fast.

Teton Valley, Idaho

Grand Targhee Nordic

Winter continues at Grand Targhee. The same storm forecast for only light snow in Jackson Hole should bring nearly a foot of snow to this high-elevation (8,000-foot) resort. With cooler daytime temperatures than lower elevations, it should offer some of the best skiing in the country for the next week.

Remember to clean up after your dogs, and keep them leashed in the parking lot.

Groomed Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

The final scheduled grooming is April 11.

Alta Track

Alta Track was forecast to receive some new snow at the beginning of the week. In combination with rain, this may make waxing somewhat difficult. Grooming has ended as of April 4, however skiing will continue through this coming weekend. Do not park in the library parking lot.

Groomed Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Teton Canyon

Teton Canyon should have received some new snow over the past weekend, reinforcing the trails, keeping them strong for the next week. As of April 4, the groomer has been able to set both classic and skate tracks. General skiing should remain enjoyable, especially on the way down. Get out and get your last skiing of the season.

Keep dogs leashed for the first 100 yards of the trails.

Groomed Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

The final scheduled grooming is April 11.

Crust cruising

This is a great time to explore off-trail early-morning crust cruising. An excellent option is near Shadow Mountain, but the great thing about crust cruising is you can do it anywhere. Look for areas that still have solid snow cover and where the snow will remain shaded somewhat longer into the day. Ski before the crust fails, and you should have a great time.

Bike Reports

Opportunities for groomed trail fat biking grow thin as springtime presses ever onward. However, high-elevation snowmobile trails can offer access to a huge amount of fat bike terrain — if you’re willing to travel to them. Check WyoParks.wyo.gov for details, maps, and permits.

A few great options for springtime fat biking include:

• Turpin Meadows Lodge USFS trails

• Roads just beyond the Teton Science School

• USFS trails/summer service roads off Togwotee Pass

Alternatively, more roads are reopening every day, so break out that road bike and get into the summer swing of things.

See JHNordic.com for all trail maps and descriptions, dog access, driving directions and late season trail grooming reports on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

This will be the last Nordic Notes of the season. Here’s to next winter, and the next time our Nordic skis can cruise the trails once again.

—Gannett Swan

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