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We made the most of a short winter 2015-16

HomeDouble right arrow iconCross Country SkiingDouble right arrow icon

Winter 2015-16 arrived late, detained by a strong El Nino event. The Blue Hills Trail had two months of good skiing, shared by many fun visitors to the trails. Unfortunately, mother nature brought the ski season to an abrupt end in early March. Many thanks to all our supporters and volunteers that make this trail system so special.Here’s a bit of a recap:

  • A very wet summer/fall 2015 made for difficult trail mowing; and created significant challenges due to trail erosion. In October this included one heavily damaged bridge that was successfully repaired; and abandoning another damaged bridge by rerouting a trail section (this trail revision necessitated bulldozing and hand labor). Twice we also repaired extensive trail damage from illicit off road truck traffic.
  • After a discouraging warm, rainy December 2015, the trails finally received a couple inches of snow on December 24th. Another 2" of snow on December 28th allowed our groomers to start working.
  • As cold weather arrived in early January, wet spots began freezing. Careful, meticulous grooming then created good skiing throughout January despite minimal snowfall. By the middle of January, conditions were mostly very good to excellent even though the base was thin. A heavy snowfall on February 2nd allowed grooming of the entire trail system and provided excellent conditions until icy trails developed following a record warm day on February 27th.
  • This year's "Blue Hills Trail Fun Day" was loads of fun: a potluck full moon party on Saturday January 23rd that was very well attended. We enjoyed temps in the 20s, a roaring campfire, drum circle rhythm, great food, and good skiing conditions despite the moon hiding behind an overcast sky.
  • On a warm February 19th, it rained more than half an inch; and on the 20th the trails were saturated wet and very soft after two days with temps above freezing. A skier injury on February 20th led to a local fire department rescue that required the use of a tracked ATV. The rescue was successful, but unfortunately the equipment left deep ruts that closed down about 2 miles of the groomed trails. After repairing one limited portion of the damage, we were able to use a detour of the core loop that kept everyone happy.
  • With temps predicted to skyrocket beginning March 5th, we looked at the weather forecast and then groomed one last time on March 1st. Grooming equipment went to summer storage on Friday March 4th, we skied that weekend and then enjoyed one last morning of good classic skiing on March 7th as temperatures pushed 60 degrees later that afternoon.
  • From December 24th through February 23rd, we received only 24 inches of snow; by early March the total for the season was only 30 inches, easily the lowest seasonal snow total since we've kept records beginning in 1999.
  • We groomed a total of 36 times - and felt lucky we had enough cold weather to enjoy ourselves.
  • This winter of 2015-16, we've once again enjoyed sharing the Blue Hills Trail with visitors from near and far. Thanks to everybody that helps spread the word regarding the beauty of this trail system.

A huge 'shout out' to our groomers. Equipment break downs and mechanical problems were handled efficiently & never compromised the grooming. Thank you to our primary grooming team (Steve Gest, Adam Brockman, & Jesse Wimer) - and to our occasional groomers (Mike Cragg, Ron Jasperson, Tom Paulsen, Steve Porn, and Dave Putnam) - for creating great memories the winter of 2015-16! A sincere thank you to our diverse group of members, volunteers and supporters - you're the best.

January 2, 2016 cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail
January 2, 2016 on the ridge line of the Blue Hills Trail
January 2, 2016 cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail

January 2, 2016 cross country skiing on the 'Gravel Road' at the Blue Hills Trail

happy skier January 13, 2016
Frosty day January 13, 2016
excellent cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail January 19, 2016
January 19, 2016 cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin
excellent cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail January 29, 2016
January 29, 2016
classic skiing on the East Side of the Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin
January 30, 2016 classic skiers enjoy a fresh snowfall
grooming cross country ski trails at the Blue Hills Trail
ski trail grooming at the Blue Hills Trail February 3, 2016
February 3, 2016 night time grooming of the ski trail
nighttime grooming of cross country ski trails at the Blue Hills Trail
February 5, 2016 grooming at sunset
skate skiing on freshly groomed trails at the Blue Hills Trail
February 6, 2016 enjoying the fresh grooming
February 9, 2016 picture perfect grooming of the Blue Hills Trail
picture perfect grooming February 9, 2016
gorgeous surroundings while cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail
February 9, 2016 was a gorgeous day for cross country skiing
an enthusiastic group of skiers from Andorra posed for a photo at the warming house
February 18, 2016 a group of cross country skiers from Andorra (Europe) visited the Blue Hills Trail
visitors from Europe enjoying the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin
Europeans enjoying the Blue Hills Trail
welcome to the Blue Hills Trail
welcome to the Blue Hills Trail
late winter cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail
February 22, 2016 on the West Side of the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin
great conditions for cross country skiing February 22, 2016
February 22, 2016 great conditions on the West Side 'Lollipop'
photo collage shows work that fixed broken axle on the Gator
February 26, 2018 photo collage (above) shows work that fixed broken axle on the Gator

Late February 2016 cross country skiing on the East Side of the Blue Hills Trail
late February 2016 on the East Side of the Blue Hills Trail
2015-16 winter was worth crowing about
2015-16 winter was short but worth crowing about

Image information: If you want to save any images from this blog post for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original. Higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

We made the most of a short winter 2015-16

HomeDouble right arrow iconCross Country SkiingDouble right arrow icon

Winter 2015-16 arrived late, detained by a strong El Nino event. The Blue Hills Trail had two months of good skiing, shared by many fun visitors to the trails. Unfortunately, mother nature brought the ski season to an abrupt end in early March. Many thanks to all our supporters and volunteers that make this trail system so special.Here’s a bit of a recap:

  • A very wet summer/fall 2015 made for difficult trail mowing; and created significant challenges due to trail erosion. In October this included one heavily damaged bridge that was successfully repaired; and abandoning another damaged bridge by rerouting a trail section (this trail revision necessitated bulldozing and hand labor). Twice we also repaired extensive trail damage from illicit off road truck traffic.
  • After a discouraging warm, rainy December 2015, the trails finally received a couple inches of snow on December 24th. Another 2" of snow on December 28th allowed our groomers to start working.
  • As cold weather arrived in early January, wet spots began freezing. Careful, meticulous grooming then created good skiing throughout January despite minimal snowfall. By the middle of January, conditions were mostly very good to excellent even though the base was thin. A heavy snowfall on February 2nd allowed grooming of the entire trail system and provided excellent conditions until icy trails developed following a record warm day on February 27th.
  • This year's "Blue Hills Trail Fun Day" was loads of fun: a potluck full moon party on Saturday January 23rd that was very well attended. We enjoyed temps in the 20s, a roaring campfire, drum circle rhythm, great food, and good skiing conditions despite the moon hiding behind an overcast sky.
  • On a warm February 19th, it rained more than half an inch; and on the 20th the trails were saturated wet and very soft after two days with temps above freezing. A skier injury on February 20th led to a local fire department rescue that required the use of a tracked ATV. The rescue was successful, but unfortunately the equipment left deep ruts that closed down about 2 miles of the groomed trails. After repairing one limited portion of the damage, we were able to use a detour of the core loop that kept everyone happy.
  • With temps predicted to skyrocket beginning March 5th, we looked at the weather forecast and then groomed one last time on March 1st. Grooming equipment went to summer storage on Friday March 4th, we skied that weekend and then enjoyed one last morning of good classic skiing on March 7th as temperatures pushed 60 degrees later that afternoon.
  • From December 24th through February 23rd, we received only 24 inches of snow; by early March the total for the season was only 30 inches, easily the lowest seasonal snow total since we've kept records beginning in 1999.
  • We groomed a total of 36 times - and felt lucky we had enough cold weather to enjoy ourselves.
  • This winter of 2015-16, we've once again enjoyed sharing the Blue Hills Trail with visitors from near and far. Thanks to everybody that helps spread the word regarding the beauty of this trail system.

A huge 'shout out' to our groomers. Equipment break downs and mechanical problems were handled efficiently & never compromised the grooming. Thank you to our primary grooming team (Steve Gest, Adam Brockman, & Jesse Wimer) - and to our occasional groomers (Mike Cragg, Ron Jasperson, Tom Paulsen, Steve Porn, and Dave Putnam) - for creating great memories the winter of 2015-16! A sincere thank you to our diverse group of members, volunteers and supporters - you're the best.

January 2, 2016 cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail
January 2, 2016 on the ridge line of the Blue Hills Trail
January 2, 2016 cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail

January 2, 2016 cross country skiing on the 'Gravel Road' at the Blue Hills Trail

happy skier January 13, 2016
Frosty day January 13, 2016
excellent cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail January 19, 2016
January 19, 2016 cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin
excellent cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail January 29, 2016
January 29, 2016
classic skiing on the East Side of the Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin
January 30, 2016 classic skiers enjoy a fresh snowfall
grooming cross country ski trails at the Blue Hills Trail
ski trail grooming at the Blue Hills Trail February 3, 2016
February 3, 2016 night time grooming of the ski trail
nighttime grooming of cross country ski trails at the Blue Hills Trail
February 5, 2016 grooming at sunset
skate skiing on freshly groomed trails at the Blue Hills Trail
February 6, 2016 enjoying the fresh grooming
February 9, 2016 picture perfect grooming of the Blue Hills Trail
picture perfect grooming February 9, 2016
gorgeous surroundings while cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail
February 9, 2016 was a gorgeous day for cross country skiing
an enthusiastic group of skiers from Andorra posed for a photo at the warming house
February 18, 2016 a group of cross country skiers from Andorra (Europe) visited the Blue Hills Trail
visitors from Europe enjoying the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin
Europeans enjoying the Blue Hills Trail
welcome to the Blue Hills Trail
welcome to the Blue Hills Trail
late winter cross country skiing at the Blue Hills Trail
February 22, 2016 on the West Side of the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin
great conditions for cross country skiing February 22, 2016
February 22, 2016 great conditions on the West Side 'Lollipop'
photo collage shows work that fixed broken axle on the Gator
February 26, 2018 photo collage (above) shows work that fixed broken axle on the Gator

Late February 2016 cross country skiing on the East Side of the Blue Hills Trail
late February 2016 on the East Side of the Blue Hills Trail
2015-16 winter was worth crowing about
2015-16 winter was short but worth crowing about
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How to view images: To see larger versions of the thumbnail photos above, click on the thumbnail. If you want to save the image for yourself, simply right click the full size image to obtain the original. Higher quality images are available by contacting our website.  To avoid copyright infringement, reprints must credit the Blue Hills Trail Association, Inc.

Blue Hills Trail

instagram updates
@bluehillstrailwisconsin
Every other year our volunteers replace all the intersection maps. That’s 60 maps, but who’s counting? Combined with excellent signage, it makes it easy to get your bearings on the Blue Hills Trail. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #trailvolunteers #xcskitrails #foresttherapy #findyourselfoutside
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Good hiking in early December. Frost is entering the ground, the ski trails are ready for snow. Photos show the biggest oak tree in the County Forest; hiking on the ‘Far East’ trail; and our Gator doing some trail work on the West Side trails. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #trailwork #hikingwisconsin #weneedsnow
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Big News! Wisconsin's Blue Hills Trail has revised its website, its maps, its blog - and added an Instagram account. Spread the word. VISIT THE BLOG for details – link in bio ⬆️ #bluehillstrailwisconsin #crosscountryskiing #skinnyski #ruskcountywi #ricelakewi #travelwisconsin #tomterrifik
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1.5” big fluffy parachute snowflakes today. Might actually be able to ski on some of our trails — even though the underlying ground isn’t yet frozen. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #winterinwisconsin #crosscountryskiing #xcskiing
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Tight corner. Placed orange driveway markers at the edge. Gotta keep our groomers on track. #bluehillstrailwisconsin
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After unseasonably warm weather in the first week of November, more wintry weather will start to freeze the trails. Hopefully x-country skiing is just around the corner. This photo was taken on the East Side trails - it shows one of our most important bridges. #bluehillstrailwisconsin
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Bridge building in October successfully spanned a small creek that was always a challenge to summertime mowing & wintertime grooming of our ski trails. #bluehillstrailwisconsin
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