Grooming Status Report


We get it; snow is falling and we're as eager as you to put skis on snow.  Our healthy snowfall this weekend is about to get pineapple expressed, so time is becoming of the essence.  Rune reports that, after some back and forth with the State Parks manager about when the road at Cabin Creek can be closed to motorized vehicles so packing and prepping of the snow base can begin (State Parks, who manages the grooming, thought grooming couldn't begin until there is 18 inches of snow on the ground, but Rune reminded him that KSC came to an agreement with the USFS, who manages the road, that the groomer can start packing the road with as little as four to six inches of snow), the road has now been shut down, the grooming contract has finally been officially awarded to LandTek (hooray!), and the groomer has started packing on the lower trails and is getting ready to head up Amabilis, with the hope of protecting as much of our precious snow base as possible.  There are some down trees on Amabilis (and possibly also on the road) that KSC's sawyer crew will take care of, rather than eating into the groomer's budget.  So, all systems are go; fingers crossed for more snow soon!

Meanwhile, a number of Kongsbergers attended this weekend's snow-park meeting in North Bend.

Suzanne filed this report:

On December 2, several Kongsberger members attended a meeting that included local State Parks Sno-Park employees, Snoqualmie Pass area Sno-Park user groups, Cle Elum USFS recreation employees, and the Mountains to Sound Greenway. The meeting was mostly about sharing updates on Sno-Parks in the Snoqualmie Pass area this coming winter. It also allowed local Sno-Park user groups to share what they are up to, ask questions, and voice concerns. 

In addition to the Cabin Creek report described above, State Parks noted that the PTC (Palouse to Cascades) trail will be groomed earlier in the day this year. That has been hard in the past because of some State Parks employment regulations but they seem to have figured out how to get around that. 

Next, State Parks talked about providing more access to sanitation facilities for disabled skiers, snowshoers, etc. They will be adding ADA toilets to the Crystal Springs Sno-Park parking lot and possibly the Cabin Creek parking lot as well. Joy Cordell, representing the CCRA (Central Cascades Recreation Association), is working on this with a lot of energy. A question came up about a vault toilet on the PTC trail that is not currently open but is in an ideal location for disabled recreationists. Volunteers would like to service it but State Parks raised various objections. It was a vexing but good conversation.

State Parks will be expanding the 'Nordic Pulse' program, which allows skiers to follow the groomer live. It was pioneered at Mt Spokane and Cabin Creek last year with great success. Why Mt Spokane and Cabin Creek? Because they are the most popular Nordic Sno-Parks in the state!!

User groups also shared information: There was a report about signage for varied activities at Crystal Springs, including dog sledding, Ski for Light, and sit skiing; REI will have snowshoe rental at Hyak; the backcountry skiers (Backcountry Alliance) are trying to figure out how to get permits from the USFS; Kongsbergers would like to find out about the Trailhead Ambassadors program (a USFS initiative); and the CCRA (check out their very nice website) has been busy working on trails at Tronsen/Blewett Pass [corrected; see Joy's report below]. A final suggestion was made to check the Kongsberger website for the best information about rain and snowfall levels, temperatures at various elevations, etc. at Cabin Creek. Thank you to Keith Ritland, who has gotten all his weather instruments up and running for the winter.

Lindsey Pruett, the very wonderful recreation manager for the Cle Elum USFS district who is unfortunately leaving this winter, ended the meeting with a big thank you to all the groups that support winter recreation on public lands in the Snoqualmie Pass corridor.

Joy was also there, and gave this report on the CCRA:

Central Cascades Recreational Association is a 501c3 umbrella organization that supports organizations and at-large members who enjoy non-motorized winter recreation at Snoqualmie Pass and the Central Cascades.  You can learn more about our purpose and vision at

Here are a couple of projects we've worked on recently:

1) This fall we mobilized members from the following groups to clear the miles of trails at Tronsen Meadows, by Blewett Pass:

Ellensburg Ski Club
Snoqualmie Nordic Club
Washington Trails Association
Kongsberger Ski Club
Washington Ski Tourers Club
Cascade Backcountry Alliance
Mountaineers Stewardship Program
NW Trail Runners
Tronsen/Blewett Pass Ski Trails
Wenatchee Outdoors
El Sendero
Backcountry Horseman groups from Ellensburg and Wenatchee)   

2) We have a working group consisting of coaches and sit-skiers from SkiForAll (a program of Outdoors For All) (and myself) who have been working with Corey Tolar of Sno-Parks to create ADA access at Sno-Parks that have nordic trails up at Snoqualmie Pass. We have a solution to try for the coming season at the Crystal Springs Sno-Park; the signs are ordered and hopefully will be here when the snow settles. Big thanks to Corey for working so hard with us on giving paraskiers access to trails that is adjacent to parking and restrooms. Our next project will be the Cabin Creek Sno-Park and we anticipate that the Forest Service will show the same support and interest.