PRECIP:
Hi temp:
0.07
"
snow
33.94
°f
Trail and trees icon
Shopping cart icon

kids skiing

Winter 2019-20 started early.

10+ inches of heavy snow November 27, 7+ inches of heavy snow November 30, 4+ inches of dense snow December 9, 2.5 inches of light snow December 12. Groomers had their hands full throughout December. This made for very good skiing over the Christmas and New Year Holidays. January added 14" of snow in generally light snow falls. February was dry, only 5" of snow. We had only one major rain event (1.5" of rain December 28), and the rain was absorbed into the abundant base. Trails were in great shape at Birkie time. Then warm weather moved in a week after the Birkie. The last grooming was March 13, but we were able to enjoy decent skiing into the beginning of April. All thanks to the big snows in late November.

We groomed a total of 57 times this past winter. Here’s the breakdown: once in November, 18 times in December, 19 times in January, 16 times in February, and 3 times in March.

Our head groomer and his crew were very willing to use our rollers - both of our rollers were used more this past winter than at any time in the past. As a result, this past winter the trails were groomed wider, and the edges were more firm. Groomers were very willing to try different techniques, and performed far more evening grooming than at any time in the past. This allowed the grooming to set up by the time skiers arrived in the morning. The classic track was in generally good shape most of the winter - the groomers were responsive to input from some of our most enthusiastic classic skiers. Thank you groomers!

The ABR compaction drag (we call it the 'Blue Thing') also was used more frequently this past winter. It was especially helpful removing high spots in the center of the trail, and when the trails needed a quick light touch-up of the skate lane.

Logging along Rut Road kept us from grooming that part of the East Side Core Loop the entire winter. Toward the end of that logging operation, it also disrupted our access to the West Side using the usual East-West crossover trail. However, one of the real pluses this past winter was the newly permitted use of Excelsior Road on the West Side for grooming and skiing. In the middle of December, after the gun deer hunts were done, a berm was plowed to block off traffic at the east end of Excelsior Road. We then groomed the entire 3 km length of Excelsior Road, and skiers were uniformly thrilled with the results.

Overall, it was a fairly long winter with very good skiing and snowshoeing in the Blue Hills. We hope the following photos trigger some good memories.

skate skiing on the Blue Hills Trail
December 6, 2019 - Excelsior Road on the West Side of the Blue Hills Trail
grooming the Blue Hills Trail cross country ski trail
Grooming the 'Gravel Road' on December 11, 2019
map highlighting Excelsior Road as part of the Blue Hills Trail
The blue line shows Excelsior Road - grooming and skiing it for the first time during winter 2019-20
hoar frost on the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin
December 21, 2019 on the East Side ridge line
beautifully groomed cross country ski trail
December 21, 2019 - Roundabout Trail
cross country skiing January 2020 on the Blue Hills Trail
January 1, 2020 near intersection #5 on the East Side Core Loop
women skate skiing
January 7, 2020 - the 'Gravel Road'
skijoring on the Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin
January 9, 2020 - dogs are welcome on the West Side of the Blue Hills Trail
men skate skiing
January 11, 2020 - East Side ridge line on the Grouse Trail
Blue Hills Trail cross country ski trail
January 20, 2020 - late afternoon near the 'Roundabout' intersection on the East Side of the Blue Hills Trail
snowman viewed through warming house window
January 27, 2020 - view from the warming house
unusual snow conditions created a snow roller
January 29, 2020 - perfect conditions for mother nature to create a snow roller
beautifully groomed trail on the Blue Hills Trail ridge line
February 4, 2020 - near intersection #9 on the Core Loop of the Blue Hills Trail
skate skiing on Excelsior Road as part of the Blue Hills Trail
February 8, 2020 - fast and fun skiing on Excelsior Road
Blue Hills Trail snowshoe trail in northern Wisconsin
February 19, 2020 - snowshoeing the Nordic Pines loop of the Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin
great cross country ski conditions at the Blue Hills Trail
February 21, 2020 - great conditions on the East Side 'Gravel Road'
great cross country ski conditions at the Blue Hills Trail
February 26, 2020 - approaching the wide open Roundabout intersection
volunteers helped move equipment into storage
March 17, 2020 - volunteers socially distancing as they help move equipment into storage
still skiing on the Blue Hills Trail in late March 2020
March 27, 2020 - winter is hanging on near intersection #25 of the Core Loop
winter is coming to an end as snow disappears March 31
March 31, 2020 - time to say goodbye to a great winter


Read more >

This is it! This is what we work for during summer trail maintenance, and wait for as we watch the weather forecasts in November and December. The weather changed in late November, colder temps finally arrived and the very wet trails began freezing as we began grooming in early December. We started skiing December 10th after grooming some of the trails closest to the warming house. By mid December, cold weather allowed more grooming and we've enjoyed surprisingly good skiing for this early in the season.The weekend of December 23-26 (and the following week) became a groomer's challenge. We were all set to groom late the evening of December 23rd. That evening the Hills received 2" of very sticky snow, and the forecast called for lots of rain on December 25th. By group consensus, we decided to avoid grooming the December 23rd snowfall, let it sit and hope it would absorb the forecast rain. Mild temps all that weekend culminated in 0.7" rain the evening of Christmas Day, followed by falling temps and A MAJOR WINDSTORM on December 26th. We're glad we allowed the December 23rd snowfall to rest without grooming. It magically absorbed the December 25th rainfall. After the December 26th windstorm, temps fell the week of December 26th, and our groomers spent loads of hours clearing tree-falls and branches. And skiers helped by flicking and flicking and flicking the sticks. As the New Years weekend approached the trails were in good shape, and skiers from near and far marveled at the quality of the skiing in the Hills.

early December 2016 grooming challenges at the Blue Hills Trail
Early December 2016 grooming of the Blue Hills Trail
kids skiing at the Blue Hills Trail in Wisconsin
Nice conditions near the warming house in late December 2016
Read more >

It's cold outside, there's lots of snow on the ground, now's a good time to get psyched for skiing. Check out the following slide show video showing ten years of fun on the Blue Hills Trail. Get your skis waxed, come ski the Hills!

How to view the video: on the lower right corner of the video screen, choose one of two different resolutions - for those of you with a slower internet connection, select the 360p mode; for faster connections choose either 360p or 480p or 720p HD. Pause and play buttons are available, as well as volume control. When the control buttons disappear, hover your mouse over the video to find the controls. Just give the various control options a try - be sure to try the full screen view (the rectangle on the lower right). Enjoy the show!

Grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, adjust your volume control, then sit back and follow the fun. See anyone you know?

Read more >

A generous snowfall one week ago (February 22nd) initially created 'too soft' conditions despite abundant grooming. Several days later, sunshine and  freeze thaw cycles created an icy glaze, 'too hard'. With the immaculate grooming performed yesterday (Feb. 28), the trails were 'just right'. Goldilocks is pleased. Should be a great weekend in the Hills, give those skis another go-around!

Recent comments from the logbook in the warming house

  • 2/18: Loved it!  --Cadott, WI
  • 2/18: Enjoyed snowshoe trail. --Eau Claire, WI
  • 2/18: Me & my honey. --Rio de Janero, Brazil
  • 2/18: Nice day, good snow. --Hudson, FL
  • 2/18: Loved the snowshoe trail!  Beautiful 38 degree day!  Thank you for the warm welcome. --Hudson, WI
  • 2/20: Best conditions I've skied this winter.  Right up there with the Methow Valley in Washington State. --Sumner, WA
  • 2/21: Super grooming! --Madison, WI
  • 2/23: Avoiding Birkie crowd in Hayward.  It's just us & the groomer! --Minneapolis, MN
  • 2/23: Silence of the North - it's deafening! --Ladysmith, WI
  • 2/23: Ahhhh!  The Blue Hills Trail - where the grooming is swoon worthy.  Where every skier can imagine they've won the Birkie!  Thanks to the groomers. --Ladysmith, WI
  • 2/23: I'm so blessed!  Wonderful trails - This IS the Life :-)  3 hours of  solitude & beauty. --Chetek, WI
  • 2/23: We are so Lucky to have such Great trails!  Thanks to ALL involved! --Ladysmith, WI
  • 2/23: The trails are great!  Thanks so much for all your hard work! --Madison, WI
  • 2/25: Skate deck firming up nicely.  My last Midwest ski for year :-(  Back to the Cascade concrete.  Hope the snow here holds out thru March. --Sumner, WA
  • 2/26: "Spring skiing" is here!  Cool nights, mild days, soft breezes, & fresh corduroy in the Hills - thanks again groomers!!!--Ladysmith, WI
  • 2/26: Great skiing today!  It's good to get back here! --Barron, WI
  • 2/26: Excellent classic tracks!  The conditions don't get any better. --Exeland, WI
  • 2/26: The speed on the skate deck sped up nicely after the sun went down.  Nice post Birkie ski. --Bruce, WI
  • 2/28: Waiting all year for a ski like today's!  Totally under control when screaming fast coming around the curve at the bottom of Rut Road.  Yeeee Hawww! --Ladysmith, WI
great grooming on 'Gravel Road' at the Blue Hills Trail
1 March 2013 Great grooming on the East Side 'Gravel Road'
March 1, 2013 skiing on the Blue Hills Trail
early March 2013, what fun!
Read more >

The winter of 2010-11 was a roller coaster ride from a weather standpoint. Temps fluctuated widely, precipitation was variable, and periodic warmups and meltdowns added to the mix. But along the way, there was abundant snowfall, great grooming, and loads of happy faces from cross country skiers on the Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin. To top it off, winter hung on and provided great crust skiing in mid/late March.

This was a great winter for snow enthusiasts, the following pictures tell the story.

good skate skiing early December 2010 at the Blue Hills Trail
December 8, 2010 - Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin
good skate skiing early December 2010 at the Blue Hills Trail
December 14, 2010
good skate skiing early December 2010 at the Blue Hills Trail
December 16, 2010
animal tracks January 2011
January 2, 2011
classic skiers early January 2011 at the Blue Hills Trail
January 2, 2011
classic skier early January 2011 at the Blue Hills Trail
January 5, 2011
classic skier January 2011 at the Blue Hills Trail
January 22, 2011
classic skiers January 2011 at the Blue Hills Trail
January 22, 2011
classic skier January 2011 at the Blue Hills Trail
January 22, 2011
fun skate skiing January 2011 Blue Hills Trail
January 29, 2011
grooming the Blue Hills Trail January 2011
January 29, 2011 - our two workhorse snowmobiles pulling Tidd Tech implements
classic skiers enjoying the East Side of the Blue Hills Trail
February 3, 2011
skate skier showing off her technique
5 February 2011
two classic skiers at the Blue Hills Trail in February 2011
5 February 2011
classic skier in the tracks
9 February 2011
kids skiing at the Blue Hills Trail
12 February 2011
skiing with dogs is fun on the West Side of the Blue Hills Trail
12 February 2011 Blue Hills Trail in northern Wisconsin where dogs are welcome on the West Side trails
impressive snow depth in late February 2011 on the Blue Hills Trail
23 February 2011 demonstrating the impressive snow depth toward the end of the winter of 2010-11
ski trail connecting East Side and West Side of the Blue Hills Trail
24 February 2011 This is the trail heading from the East Side to the West Side of the Blue Hills Trail
classic skiers in early March at the Blue Hills Trail
5 March 2011 Classic skiers on the east end of the 'Gravel Road'
child in the classic track at the Blue Hills Trail
March 12, 2011 - a future Olympian?
enjoying a snack inside the warming house of the Blue Hills Trail
March 13, 2011 - celebrating a truly amazing winter of cross country skiing on the Blue Hills Trail
Read more >

Post Categories

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
Text Link
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
Text Link
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
Text Link
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
Text Link
Tight corner. Placed orange driveway markers at the edge. Gotta keep our groomers on track. #bluehillstrailwisconsin
Text Link
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
Text Link
Bridge building in October successfully spanned a small creek that was always a challenge to summertime mowing & wintertime grooming of our ski trails. #bluehillstrailwisconsin
Text Link

Subscribe for Newsletter Updates

Stay in-the-know about grooming updates, special events, news, announcements, volunteer days, and more. Rest-assured, we never sell or share your information.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again, or email for assistance.