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Balmy weather halts groomers

Trail Report

Posted: Friday, February 22, 2008

The conditions are absolutely abysmal outside, and until the warm weather breaks, there's not much area groomers can do about it.

"We're fighting the warmer temps," said Bob Frates, director of Kenai Parks and Recreation, in regard to the trails at the Kenai Golf Course.

"If we can get out early, we can work it, but by the afternoon it's too soft," he said.

Frates said despite the challenges form the weather, there is still 5-kilomters of trails.

"It's icy though," he added.

In Nikiski, groomer Dale Bakk said he got the trails behind the pool and high school in good shape for about four days, and then the weather turned against him once again.

"We haven't touched them all week, so they're probably windblown and debris laden," he said.

Bakk said he didn't have immediate plans to work on either trail until the weather pattern changed, and when he did it would likely be the trail behind the pool he worked on first, but it wouldn't be until Sunday at the earliest.

At Tsalteshi Trails, accessed from behind Skyview High School or off of Kalifornsky Beach Road across from the Soldotna Sports Center, groomers are hoping to dissuade skiers from hitting the trails until cooler weather returns.

"The trails are so soft, we're just hoping everyone stays off them, so that no ruts form," said Tsalteshi board member Tom Seggerman.

Seggerman said cooler temperatures are predicted in just a few days, and then trail work and use can resume.

"It's predicted to cool off on Sunday, and we have a good base, so we should be able to rejuvenate the trails and get them back into shape after that," he said.

The story is much the same for snowmachiners in the Caribou Hills, as icy conditions down low and warm, wet snow up high are hampering grooming efforts.

"We've been able to do very little," said Greg Barclay, groomer for the Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers.

Barclay said he went out around 3 a.m. on Thursday morning in an attempt to groom a section of the Straight In Trail during the coolest time of day, but the weather was still not conducive to working the trails into shape.

"It's just to wet, and the snow keeps balling up on the groomer, so unless the temperature changes we won't do more," he said.

For the most current conditions in the Caribou Hills, or to view the current conditions from the new weather camera in the area, visit the Cabin Hoppers' Web site at www.akchch.org.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.



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