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trail work

The Year That Was (2022-2023):

At our annual fundraising banquet (November 4, 2023) our 'State of the Trails' summary was a year to review our recovery from a devastating December 2022 ice storm:

Ice storm, record snowfall, and equipment issues – what an incredible challenge!

  • November 2022 we graveled the first 200 feet inside the gate at the warming house. This did away with an area that had been perpetually muddy and limited access to our equipment in all but very dry conditions. November snowfall = 12".
  • December 2022 early snowfalls were encouraging. We were able to groom & ski the new trail on the West Side once before the mid-December ice storm (ice + 16" of heavy tree crushing snow) devastated the trails. It took about a week to open the access road to the trailhead. Then we rented heavy equipment and operated it for 3 days at a cost of about $7000. This opened up a shortened version of the East Side Core Loop and our groomers created good skiing. When almost done with the rental equipment, the cab of the backhoe was slammed by a tree with damage that totaled out the backhoe – fortunately we had purchased short term insurance that covered the damage. December snowfall = 28".
  • In early January a group of our volunteers worked in deep snow to clear another important section of the East Side trail. The snow kept coming, temps were mild, we kept grooming and enjoyed good skiing on the limited number of open trails. In mid January, the forestry department hired heavy equipment to open Excelsior Road on the West Side, then we groomed it and enjoyed it. The rest of the West Side had too much ice storm damage to open more trails. In late January, our Honda UTV acted up by mysteriously shattering its fan blade – a quick trip to the shop in Rice Lake fixed that problem. January snowfall = 16".
  • February skiing conditions remained very good with mild temps and timely snowfalls. In mid-February, a team of our volunteers worked in deep snow to remove ice storm damage from the East Side ‘Washout Trail’. This created a connection with Rut Road that included more of the Core Loop. Meanwhile, John Kann worked overtime to add two new snowshoe loops that were well tromped. Hats off to John Kann! Our 2017 Arctic Cat Bearcat Groomers’ Special snowmobile is a big workhorse, powerful and maneuverable. It nicely complements the Honda Pioneer. Unfortunately, the Bearcat overheated on multiple occasions the past two winters, presenting a diagnostic challenge that we finally solved in February. A $4 fuse (a circuit breaker fuse) was the culprit! February snowfall = 13".
  • March remained snowy, and we kept on grooming. In early March, the rear tracks on the Honda showed signs of failing rubber – perhaps due to the incredibly hard work required to groom the chunky condensed snow after the heavy equipment operated in December. We ordered replacement rubber tracks, and the day after the new tracks arrived the left rear track ‘failed’ and we replaced the rubber track in the parking lot. Truly a wrestling match replacing that track! Even though we still had a deep base, because the forecast showed warmup & rain, we decided to move grooming equipment to storage after the final grooming on March 20th. In late March, good crust skiing was available throughout! March snowfall = 20".
  • April 1st delivered 12" of dense snow in the form of a blizzard! Then a week later, good crust skiing was available again. The next surprise? Ttemps soared into the 80s for 5 days, followed by 3" of heavy snow, followed by 1.5" of rain that melted most of the remaining snow. In late April we assembled a work crew to remove the mess of damaged trees around the warming house. April snowfall = 15".
  • Total snowfall for the winter set a record for the 25 years we’ve kept records: 104 inches! The previous record was 89 inches during the winter of 2013-14.
  • During the first half of May, on four occasions we assembled work crews and cleared more of the ice damaged trees. At that point, thick clouds of mosquitoes and gnats chased us out of the woods. In late May we were also able to install large vents in the storage container where our snowmobile sleeps – hopefully this will reduce the potential of condensation & moisture damage to its electronics (recall the corroded circuit breaker fuse?)
  • In late June, we began our summer trail mowing. However, during hot weather, the Honda UTV developed several problems that were likely related to a faulty speed sensor. During the month that it took for the repair, trail work was on hold. 
  • In July and August, we hired a crew from the Flambeau Correctional Center to help clear ice storm damaged trees. They did a fantastic job clearing many of the West Side trails, and several East Side trails. Money ($2000) well spent! Another oddity this summer was the heavy growth of burdock – thick forests of burdock 6 feet tall.
  • As the bugs became tolerable in late July, our own volunteers again worked to remove damaged trees on several more occasions. By September 1st, the entire trail system was (mostly) clear of the ice damage. All told, probably more than 3500 damaged trees – about 100 trees per kilometer – were removed from our 35 km of trails.
  • Our annual fall workday on October 1st was lightly attended on a day with temps in the upper 80s. Despite the heat, a lot of important trail work was accomplished that day.
  • Despite a dry, hot summer, the fall colors were very good and hung on longer than usual.
  • What A Year!!! Many thanks to all our volunteers & donors – the trails are now in great shape for winter.

Here are some specific thank yous…

  • Thanks to everyone attending our fundraising banquet, and to everyone that helped with trail work this past year. Your support in the form of donated time and money makes it all possible.
  • Thanks to our volunteers for removing downed trees & their 45+ hours of mowing this past summer. An incredible team effort!
  • Thanks to John Waldron & Geary Searfoss for serving as officers. They bring boundless energy and wonderfully creative ideas. World’s best volunteers!
  • Thanks to last year’s grooming team for creating great skiing conditions despite the incredible challenges resulting from the ice storm.
  • Thanks to Jan Paulsen for photos from the banquet, and for decorating the banquet site. Leaves, acorns etc from a recent hike on the ski trails.
  • Thanks to Kirk Paulsen for donating his engineering skills in designing the new trail maps several years ago, and for updating them as the trails evolve. His maps are highly accurate & informative. NOTE: thanks to Kirk’s engineering tech skills, you can visit our website & easily place our maps on your phone for use with the App called Avenza Maps. You’ll be able to take advantage of satellites to follow your location in real time. Very useful.
  • Thanks to Kristine Paulsen for her ongoing involvement with our website – what a great portal she has provided us!!
  • Thanks to John Kann & Dan Bjugstad who continue maintaining our network of dedicated snowshoe trails – after the December 2022 ice storm, John almost single handedly opened two new loops through the downed trees.
  • Thanks to the Rusk County Forestry department for mowing most of the West Side, and parts of the East Side. With them, we have a great partnership maintaining the Blue Hills Trail.
  • The distant loop on the West Side (C-D-F-G-H-I) remains beaver territory. For now, we think we can coexist and avoid removing the beavers. In fact, their two active dams undoubtedly help control runoff during heavy rain events – thus minimizing erosion of the ski trail. Because that loop is so difficult to groom – and because we now have more & better trails on the West Side – that loop will receive minimal grooming and be considered a wilderness loop. We’ll groom it if/when conditions permit.
  • The big timber sale that was cut last fall on the Far East Trails still has lots of wood (400 cords of wood = 40 truckloads) that needs hauling. Markets for hardwood pulp logs have been poor this year – the loggers will try more hauling in November 2023 if they can find a market. The loggers realize we plan on grooming in early-mid December and should be done using Rut Road (part of our East Side Core Loop) by that time.
  • One West Side timber sale was cut during June, a clear cut where the new trail (between intersections Y to Z)  joins Excelsior Road. It’s already growing back quickly, don’t let its appearance shock you.
  • The trail system has two timber sales that have been bid out and await logging – one on the East, one on the West.
  • Remember, the entire trail system is non-motorized. If you find motorized vehicles on the trails, educate their operators to the contrary. And consider reporting this to the Rusk County Sheriff’s department.

Equipment and Monies:

Thanks for your financial support. Despite the unanticipated large amount of money spent this past year on clearing ice storm debris (approaching $10,000), we're in good shape financially, and the equipment is running well. If you'd like to send a donation our way, follow this link.

Whenever you can, please thank the many businesses and individuals that support the Blue Hills Trail Association Inc.

Near disaster at the warming house following the December 2022 ice storm
Our amazing volunteers: in the process of clearing storm damaged trees in early January 2023. Tough work!
We have dedicated snowshoe trails, but also allow snowshoeing on the ski trail if you stay to the side.
A unique view of Excelsior Road (entrance to the West Side Trails)
Wonderful skiing on the East Side Ridgeline in mid February 2023
These visitors from central Washington State enjoyed our trails when the Birkie Trail was closed
Record snowfall challenged the individuals that maintain our snowshoe trails
The East Side Core Loop measures 11 km, and has kilometer markers every 1K
Mid March on the Roundabout Trail in the record setting winter of 2022-23
Volunteers to the rescue: early May 2023 and a good time to remove more of the damage from the 2022 December ice storm
Early July 2023: an example of December 2022 ice storm damage in need of removal
Bob W carefully assessed this mess of a downed tree top before sawing it in late July 2023
Early September 2023: all the trails are cleared of ice storm damage (AMAZING!!!) and the trails are in great shape
Banquet Fundraiser 2023: making up for lost time
You should see the other guy
Analyzing their bidding options
Fun folks from Rusk County
Good opportunity to renew acquaintances
A well deserved opportunity to relax
Youthful silent sports enthusiasts
New members enjoying their first Blue Hills Trail banquet
Engineering an evening of fun
Mother daughter smiles
Plotting to win some silent auction items
Good friends sharing memories
Looking forward to the winter ski season
Howard enjoys the storytelling
Plenty of laughs at the banquet
Did you see the great buffet that's coming our way?
Blue Hills Trail Assn vice president (Geary Searfoss) gladly relayed the message that the "trails are in great shape!"
Visiting from Portland (Oregon), our talented mapmaker enjoyed the guest speaker
Guest speaker Dan Woll shared his passion of time spent in the outdoors, and the importance of trails in nourishing our inner spirit
Dan Woll climbing 'El Cap' in the 1970s
Read more >

After the December 2022 ice storm brought down an incredible number of trees throughout our 20+ miles of trails, spring of 2023 our officers weren't confident we'd be able to remove all the damage before the winter of 2023-24. At best, we hoped to clear the damage from our favorite trails. But guess what? As of September 1st 2023, 100% of the trail system has been cleared of downed and leaning trees. Amazing! Amazing!! Amazing!!!

Here's a time capsule of the removal of the storm damage...

  • Late December we spent close to $7500 when we rented and operated heavy equipment (backhoe and skidsteer) to clear about 40% of the East Side Trails. Good skiing followed.
  • Early January the Rusk Forestry Department contracted removal of downed trees from Excelsior Road on the West Side. And we thoroughly enjoyed skiing that segment.
  • January/February BHTA volunteers (Blue Hills Trail Assn) spent several days clearing a few important trails on the East Side. Really tough work removing ice encrusted tree tops buried in 2+ feet of snow.
  • We enjoyed some mighty fine skiing on the open trails -- and enjoyed the overall record snowfall and winter that wouldn't quit.
  • In May, our volunteers provided 4 separate sessions of tree removal that buoyed our spirits. Then the bugs moved in.
  • During June/July/August, we hired an affordable work crew from the Flambeau Correctional Center to clear most of the West Side trails, and several important loops on the East Side. They worked 7 full days for us! And did a great job in prepping for winter (removing not only the downed trees, but also the leaners that would block the trails when snow loaded).
  • Once the bugs backed off in August, we organized several mornings for our volunteers to continue chainsaw work on the East Side. The last session was August 30th as we cleared the 'Far East' trails.

I think this is a fair estimate of the degree of damage we dealt with this past 9 months: 100 trees removed per km, 10 trees removed each 100 meters. That's an average, some areas weren't too bad, other areas were an unbelievable tangled mess. We removed many small trees, many medium size trees, occasional very big trees. For our 35+ km of non-motorized trails, that amounts to 3500 trees cleared to make way for our hunters, bikers, snowshoers, and skiers.

In between sessions to clear trees, we've found time to mow most of the East Side of the trail system. Those trails are in great shape, just in time for fall weather. The Rusk County Forestry Department is handling most of the mowing of the West Side - hopefully that mowing will soon start.

When you ski the Blue Hills Trail this winter, pause and reflect on not only the beauty, but the work involved. If you'd like to help us financially, here's the link where you can donate.

Happy Labor Day!

Read more >

In mid December 2022, a destructive ice storm spread an unbelievable amount of damage throughout our trail system - and throughout the surrounding counties. After the deep snow pack finally melted, on April 26th we had a crew of 7 rough & tough workers clean up the ice storm debris at the trailhead around the warming house and pit toilets. They turned an unsightly mess into organized chaos. The grounds looked much more inviting after the work was completed. Once again, the warming house welcomes you.

A HUGE THANK YOU! to... Sam Behrends, Shelly Grendahl, Jan Paulsen, Tom Paulsen, Jerry Schneider, John Waldron, & Kevin Westlund.

Click here for an Instagram Post where Jan captured the action in a music video.

We have plenty more ice storm damage throughout the trail system, and will ask for your help later this summer and fall. Please consider lending a hand. Everyone is welcome.

December 19, 2022
January 1, 2023
April 15, 2023

Cleanup crew at work...

After the cleanup...

Read more >

The past couple weeks, John Kann (our Snowshoe Superman) has been busy laying out a new snowshoe trail, and improving the existing Ridges Snowshoe Trail. Here are the details:

  • First he added more ropes to the existing northwest loop of the Ridges Trail – human tow ropes – to help ascend/descend steep hillsides. With the addition of these ropes, he decided to name that trail segment the “Rope-A-Dope Loop". Find it on the map photo(s) below.
  • Then John created a great new loop that branches off the existing Ridges Trail – it measures about 2 km in length, heads to the northeast, climbs to the east side ridgeline near intersection #12, then descends back to its origin. John named it the “Highland Loop". Look carefully at the images below.
  • The snowshoe trails are marked with a variety of yellow symbols. To find your way, look for yellow snowshoe symbols, yellow signs, plastic yellow tags, or yellow paint on trees.
  • Some time soon, our official map designer will add the Highland Loop to our online maps. Until then, go explore the woods and follow the yellow stick road.
Our snowshoe trails are marked with yellow symbols
Visitors from Milwaukee - the first official stompers on the Highland Loop. Cheers!
Read more >

Thanks to everybody that helped during our annual Work Day on October 1st!

Here's a list of our eager volunteers : Sam B, Carolyn C, Ron J, Jan P, Tom P, Kate P, Joel R, Geary S, Bob S, John W, Kevin W, Bob W, and John Z.

Intermittent light (somewhat unexpected) rain showers kept us cool as we picked rocks, threw branches, removed logs -- generally getting the trails ready for our favorite time of the year: winter x-country skiing! We probably totaled about 50 human-hours of labor while enjoying nice fall colors.

If you weren't able to help on the designated work day, we have some leftovers for you. Contact our secretary (Tom) via email (bluehillstrail@gmail.com) to see which trails will benefit from additional trail clearing. You are especially encouraged to visit the new trail on the West Side (between Y and Z) for an enjoyable hike -- feel free to throw a few rocks off the trail while you're at it. We're expecting this new trail to offer a great way to access the inner trails on the West Side, while challenging your degree of fitness (plenty of ups, downs, and rollers).

If out hiking the trails this fall, please contact our website if you find tree falls that need chainsaw removal.

Ready to fine tune the ski trails
Examining the new growth of grass (and picking rocks) on the new trail on the West Side of the trail system
Nicely bulldozed, then spread with grass seed -- the new trail on the West Side
Another view of the new trail on the West Side of the trail system
New trail on the West Side
Great fall colors made for an enjoyable day to perform work on the ski trail
Map of the West Side trails. The new trail runs between intersections Y and Z.
Read more >

During the past two weeks, the anticipated new trail on the West Side of the trail system was bulldozed, including the placement of three new culverts. The overall dozing results are graded as A+ (many thanks to DNR Forester Bob Hauser who did the expert dozing). This new trail (Y to Z on the map image below) will be a great addition! The new trail connects the west end of Excelsior Road with the 'Lollipop' loop (D-E-D). Check out the photos with this email message.

The hills of the East Side trails are visible in the distance
Read more >

We started our summer trail mowing on June 22nd. The map (below) shows the trails mowed as of July 8th. Mowing is accomplished in stages during the months of June/July/August. For an updated mowing report and map, visit our website and click on the 'Trail Conditions' link at the top of the page.

Background Details:

  • We have 22+ miles of trail that need mowing.
  • Our crew of mowing volunteers usually mows a total of about 50 hours each summer.
  • Prior to 2003, the Rusk County Forestry Department mowed the entire trail system. They were using a tractor with a deck mower -- and the tractor often created deep ruts that negatively impacted the goal of a smooth trail surface.
  • In 2003, we (BHTA) purchased a trail mower to be towed behind an ATV so we could mow the softer trail segments. Even that was less than ideal, still leaving tire ruts that later needed repair.
  • In 2014, we switched to mowing using a John Deere Gator on tracks. That's when we organized a trail crew to handle the mowing. Using tracks on the soft trail segments has greatly improved the trail surface when it's time to start wintertime grooming.
  • At this time, the Rusk County Forestry Department mows the driest trail segments with their heavier equipment, this amounts to about 1/4 of the trails.
  • The Blue Hills Trail Assn mows the remaining 3/4 of the trails using our 2020 Honda Pioneer (with tracks) pulling our AcrEase Trail Mower that cuts a 57" width.
  • The 2003 mower was replaced in 2012 with an updated model; and last year we replaced the 2012 engine with an upgraded Briggs & Stratton engine that is working well.
  • Mowing typically begins in late June, and the bulk of the mowing is completed by mid August.
Abundant displays of red-berried elder on the Otter Slide Trail.
John Waldron - clearing the way for the mowing equipment.
The nastiest rock on the trail system was unearthed and moved off the trail (by hand!). No longer will it damage our equipment.
Read more >

Big plans this summer - we're moving ahead with scheduled development of the new trail on the West Side of the Blue Hills Trail. Protection of this new trail from motorized traffic hinges on the new gate we installed Monday (May 16th).

Granted, there was a West Side logging operation last summer/fall that disrupted the beginning of the ski season on the West Side trails. But as a result of that timber sale, we'll be able to convert a logging road into a new route that will connect the west end of Excelsior Road with the inner loops of the West Side Trails. Take a look at the map (below) where the orange colored trail shows the new trail to be bulldozed and seeded later this summer.

Map showing new trail to be developed

This trail measures 1.3 km in length. From its starting point at Letter Y, the new trail meanders through the woods, dips and rolls, and gradually climbs to a high point a few hundred meters south of Letter Z. At that high point, there's a nice vista to the east from where you can appreciate the distant hills of the East Side of the trail system.This trail is going to be a wonderful addition to the West Side trails. We expect to groom it this coming winter. Click here for the countdown to Winter 2022.

Thanks to Rusk County Forestry for supplying the gate. Many thanks to our volunteer members that supplied the knowhow, tools, machinery and muscle power for the gate installation: Sam Behrends, Kent Meng, Tom Paulsen, Steve P, and John Waldron.

New gate - Blue Hills Trail in Wisconsin
John, Steve and Kent adding water to the 'fast set' concrete mix
New gate - Blue Hills Trail in Wisconsin
Steve mixes (probes) the concrete
New gate - Blue Hills Trail in Wisconsin
The concrete sets up quickly. The gate is level and nicely aligned.
New gate - Blue Hills Trail in Wisconsin
Visual trickery: the gate is level, it's the trees that are crooked.
New gate - Blue Hills Trail in Wisconsin
All of the 23+ miles of trails are non-motorized (Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin).
New gate - Blue Hills Trail in Wisconsin
Another successful project
Read more >

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Blue Hills Trail

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@bluehillstrailwisconsin
Another rare taste of winter. Bare ground is covered by a 4.5” dry snowfall that was groomed February 15. Skied (toured) the Core Loop on waxless classic skis February 16. Mostly enjoyable skiing despite the thin base and soft conditions. EXTRA CAUTION needed on the steeper downhills with bare spots. Find more info by visiting website (link in bio ⬆️) and looking at Trail Conditions. #lostwinter #xcskiing #ruskcountywi #birkiefever
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After an incredibly warm, dry start to the winter, we finally have just enough snow for some grooming and skiing. For more information, visit the website and look at ‘Trail Conditions’ top center of each page. #ruskcountywi
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Congrats to Birkie participants - skiers, family members & friends, and volunteers. You did it! The first photo shows young Logan (Wenatchee, WA) enjoying the Blue Hills Trail — after racing in the Barnebirkie 2 days earlier. Before you know it, Logan will be going the distance. #barnebirkie #ruskcountywi #winterinwisconsin
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Welcome to our new snowshoe trail! The past couple weeks, our ‘snowshoe trail Superman’ (John Kann from Rice Lake, WI) has added a fantastic loop to our ‘Ridges Snowshoe Trail’. It’s challenging, but meant for anyone out to explore our trails. Follow the yellow signs and yellow tree blazes. The first photo shows a couple from Milwaukee that had the opportunity to christen the ‘Highland Loop’ of the Ridges Trail today. With cold weather arriving tonight, now’s a good time to stomp these trails. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #snowshoewisconsin #ruskcountywi
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All our visitors enjoyed this weekend’s great conditions following the mid-December destructive ice storm. Lots of happy faces yesterday. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #wisconsinwinter
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Beautiful day to ‘Ski the Hills’. Excelsior Road was cleared of ice storm debris two days ago, then groomed REPEATEDLY to get it in shape. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #ruskcountywi #wisconsinwinter
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Saturday evening's grooming set up beautifully, conditions Sunday (January 8) were fantastic! A week ago, dealing with the extensive damage from the mid December ice storm, I never would have dreamed we'd enjoy near perfect skiing at this point in time. Hats off to our groomers! #wisconsinwinter #ruskcountywi #xcountryskiing #bluehillstrailwisconsin
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After the December 15th destructive ice storm shut down our trails, we hired heavy equipment to remove extensive tree damage from our ski trails December 26-28. That allowed us to start grooming about 45% of the East Side trails. Now we’re gradually opening more trails using hand labor. During the 3-day New Years holiday, eleven individuals teamed up on a trail measuring 300 meters in length, and removed dozens & dozens of small saplings, then about 8 sizable trees. Many thanks to ALL the volunteers this past week that have helped clear tree damage. #ruskcountywi #crosscountryskiing
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Rain/ice/heavy snow December 14/15 — shocking amount of tree damage in the surrounding area, with power outages lasting several days. These photos show the impassable road (Fire Lane Road) that provides access to the trailhead of the Blue Hills Trail. Once equipment repairs are successful, the township may be able to start opening this road in several days. #icestorm #ruskcountywi
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Nice, crisp fall day. Good day to finish this year’s trail mowing. Thank you Bob W for sharing your chainsaw know how! #skitrailwork #gettingreadyforwinter #xcskiing #ruskcountywi
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Thanks to everybody that helped during our annual Work Day yesterday. We totaled about 50 human-hours of labor. The light (somewhat unexpected) rain showers kept us cool as we picked rocks, threw branches, removed logs – getting the trails ready for our favorite time of year – winter x-country skiing! #ruskcountywi #crosscountryskiing
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Summer mowing operations have begun at the Blue Hills Trail. We mow with our Honda Pioneer (with Mattracks) pulling our AcrEase trail mower cutting a 57” swath. Visit our website (link above in bio ⬆️) where you’ll find a link to ‘Trail Conditions’ at the top of the page. #skitrailwork #crosscountryskiing
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Moving forward with development of a new trail on the West Side of the Blue Hills Trail. The new route was blazed during logging this past winter. On May 16th we installed a new gate that will greatly discourage illicit motorized traffic. Later this summer, we plan bulldozing and grass seeding. Should be ready for skiing this coming winter! #ruskcountywi #skitrailwork #crosscountryskiingwisconsin #xcskiing
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Thank You to a Great Group of Volunteers that helped move our grooming equipment into storage today. And guess what? It’s only 269 days until winter! #skitrailgrooming #wisconsinwinter #ruskcountywi #snowisgreat
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Mild temps, sunshine, & lots of skiers from distant locales. Great way to celebrate the tail end of winter. We enjoyed sharing our trails with so many Birkie participants. #ruskcountywi #wisconsinwinter #birkiefever
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Lots of smiling faces yesterday. Here are just a few. #funonskis #ruskcountywi
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Feb. 6 seemed like Lady’s Day at the Blue Hills Trail. Lots of gals flying around the trails. #womenskiers #ruskcountywi
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Happy Groundhog Day from the Blue Hills Trail! Grab winter while you can. #kidsonskis #ruskcountywi #xcountryski
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1.5" fluffy powder snowfall overnight Friday. Saturday this fluffy powder made for pleasurable skating to start the day, and nicely covered the oak leaves in the classic track. On the skate deck of the heavier trafficked trails, the early bird caught the worm - later in the day, the traffic on the skate deck in the powder snow created a slower snow structure that meant more work for skaters - very interesting phenomenon. Side trails with less traffic kept that wonderful sensation of floating on feathers. As the new snow in the classic track was skied in, it was faster than the skate deck and provided good kick. #skateskiing #powdersnow
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It’s been pretty dusty here the past week. Several light snowfalls (dustings) have left a dreamy creamy coating on the ski trails. On top of the firm underlying base and classic track, this has made for wonderful x-country skiing. #ruskcountywi #wisconsinwinter #dustingofsnow
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Yesterday: bluebird sky, shadows, and smiles! Kudos to our groomers. #ruskcountywi
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Really nice skate skiing yesterday. Look at these guys flying around the Core Loop on the East Side trails. #skateskiing #wisconsinwinter #ruskcountywi
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Saturday's one day moderation of frigid temps brought out loads of smiles at Wisconsin's Blue Hills Trail yesterday. A huge thank you to our groomers for braving nasty wind chills to turn Wednesday's snowfall into such nice skiing for the weekend. #crosscountryskiingwisconsin #ruskcountywi #wisconsinwinter
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After a roller coaster weather ride in December, it looks like winter has arrived at Wisconsin’s Blue Hills Trail. Happy New Year! #ruskcountywi #bluehillstrailwisconsin
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Washed out culvert presented a big challenge when discovered in late September - located on the trail that connects our East Side trails with our West Side trails. Repair work was completed mid October. Photos show before & after. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #ruskcountywi
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We just completed some bulldozing that will really make our skiers happy this winter. Visit our blog for more photos, video, and the full story: link above in bio⬆️ #bluehillstrailwisconsin #ruskcountywi #skitrailwork
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Taming the tall grasses on the Blue Hills Trail. Hiking & biking conditions are good. Visit our website to see where we’ve been mowing (look at ‘Trail Conditions’ top center of the page). #ruskcountywi #bluehillstrailwisconsin #skitrailwork
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Nice day for a walk in the woods. Pause to appreciate the hidden gems. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #naturegems #springawakening #ruskcountywi
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Crazy is as Crazy does. Had to cross multiple stretches of bare ground to find skiable snow on the East Side Ridgeline yesterday. A laughing fun adventure - shared with the snow fleas. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #snowfleas #snowinthewoods #skiingondirtisbetterthannoskiing #skiingondirt
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Sap’s running. So are my skis. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #springskiing
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What a fantastic week of skiing it was! Celebrate our week long ‘Virtual Birkie Races’ by visiting our blog. Link in bio ⬆️ #bluehillstrailwisconsin #birkiefever #winterwisconsin #wisconsinwinter
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Fresh snow Wednesday morning, fresh grooming Wednesday evening, then Thursday sunshine and temps in the mid thirties. A perfect Bluebird day in the Blue Hills - another memorable day for Virtual Birkie skiers. Congrats to all! #bluehillstrailwisconsin #bluebirdday
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2” fresh snow Sunday evening, then groomed about 3/4 of the trail system Sunday night. Found untouched fresh corduroy this morning. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #freshcorduroy #skitrails #skitrailgrooming #winterwisconsin
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Mighty fine skiing today. Look at all these smiley faces! #bluehillstrailwisconsin #nordicskiing #kidsonskis #winterfun #ruskcountywi #birkiefever2021 #birkiefever
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Classic classic track. Shady Way trail on the East Side. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #birkebeiner #waxmyskis #snowisfun
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Monday sunrise -25 F was coldest day of this otherwise mild winter. Reached zero by mid afternoon when classic skiing was a kick! #bluehillstrailwisconsin #bluehillstrail #colderthanapolarbearstoenails #winterfun #belowzero
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Cold, sunny days. A good time to explore our snowshoe trails. Human rope tows are a FUNctional assist on the steeper hills. Swipe to see a video example. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #wisconsinsnowshoeing #northwoodswisconsin #ruskcounty #subzerofun
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Come ski the Hills! Virtually! The Blue Hills Trail is excited to be a BIRKIE VIRTUAL VENUE PARTNER. We've outlined three separate race routes for our trail system. A snapshot of one of those routes is shown with this post. VISIT OUR BLOG to see the rest of the routes and get the details. Link in Bio ⬆️ #bluehillstrailwisconsin #birkiefever #americanbirkebeiner
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Single digits Fahrenheit. Toko mint grip wax. A classic day on Excelsior Road. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #skiclassic #tokowax #kickwax #wisconsinwinter
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This is the steep straight down/up portion of our trail that connects our East and West Side trails (located between J and K on the West Side). Swipe to see what’s hiding under the snow. Last fall Scott Gudis Sand & Gravel (Bruce, WI) did a great job of replacing a damaged culvert. Thanks to Scott, we can safely ski this hill. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #culvertreplacement #heavyequipmentoperators #brucewisconsin #skiingisfun
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Excelsior Road and West Side trails: THE place to ski yesterday. Fantastic conditions! #bluehillstrailwisconsin #groundhogsday #classicskiing #skateski
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Another day full of smiles at the Blue Hills Trail. Ain’t winter great! #bluehillstrailwisconsin #aintwintergrand #wisconsinwinter #xcskiinglife
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The equipment that grooms our ski trails takes a beating. We recently were again amazed by the capabilities of a nearby machine shop that fabricated a special washer for improving the durability of our Camoplast tracks. Visit our latest blog post to be amazed: link in bio⬆️ #bluehillstrailwisconsin #cphenterprises #waterjetcutting #ruskcountywi
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Gator rescue! Our John Deere Gator suddenly stalled out on a steep hillside a couple days ago. Yesterday we got it running, and were able to move it back to our trailhead before it quit again. Swipe to see the 5 videos showing the rescue. Now it’s time for Dr. Gator. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #gatorrescue #winterchallenges #skitrailgrooming
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Dynamite grooming. Dynamite skiing. Come Ski the Hills! #bluehillstrailwisconsin #bluehillstrail #covidescape #skiforfun #ruskcountywi
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Video shows our groomer looking ahead while setting classic track behind. Swipe for photo of finished results on ‘Excelsior Road’ trail. Nice to see the sun again. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #skitrailgrooming #powdersnow❄️ #foresttherapy #freshcorduroy #fluffypowder
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Rollercoaster Trail at Blue Hills Trail. Built a dozen years ago, anyone can ski it in the uphill direction. Downhill, it’s a bit of a thrill. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #rollercoasters #rollercoasterride #skicrosscountry #funonsnow
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At the Blue Hills Trail, “what goes down, must come up”. Plenty of hills to satisfy your training needs. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #getoutside #cardioworkout #crosscountryskiing #skateskiing
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January 20, 2021. A very good day. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #bluehillstrail #otterslide #fastskis #skinnyskis #ruskcountywi
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Busy Sunday in the Blue Hills. Skate skiing on the ‘Gravel Road’. Classic skiing on the East Side Ridgeline. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #snowislife #skiforfun #wisconsinlife
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Photo shows our trails midday today. Surprisingly firm and skiable despite warm temps and some rain. We’re gonna try grooming this evening. Please be patient, it might take a few days to get yesterday’s new snow up to snuff. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #bluehillstrail #skitrailgrooming #aintwintergrand #heavywetsnow #wegotsnow #winterwisconsin
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A quick lesson in ski trail grooming: With snow headed our way, this was a good day to use our trail compactor to level the high spots and washboard on a few select trails. Should result in a smoother skate deck. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #skitrailgrooming #snowgrooming #skateskiing #skateski #ruskcountywi #bluehillstrail
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Hoar frost / Rime frost topping on the trails today January 12th. Wonderful skiing - do yourself a favor and SKI THE HILLS January 13th - you’ll be happy you did. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #bluehillstrail #foresttherapy #ruskcountywi #getyourvitamind #iloveskiing #escapetothehills #winterinwisconsin
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As Good As It Gets! Two January 10 videos show great skiing on Excelsior Road - Blue Hills Trail in northwest Wisconsin. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #xcclassicski #skiclassic #skateski #asgoodasitgets #januaryinwisconsin #wisconsinwinter
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Another fun day getting my kicks in the Hills. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #xcclassic #xcskier #chasingyourdream
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Not much snow, but our groomers have made the most of it. Two videos showing good skiing on the East Side trails - January 6, 2021. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #januaryinwisconsin #wisconsinlife #wisconsinoutdoors #wisconsinwinter #skateski #ruskcounty
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A ‘Rime Frost’ blue skies sunny day - fun day for skiing the Blue Hills Trail. Pictures are from the West Side of the trail system. Swipe for video taken on the ‘Lollipop’. Trail conditions updated daily at website, link in Bio ⬆️ #bluehillstrailwisconsin #fundayonskis #wisconsinwinter #sunnyski #mansbestfriend🐶 #justenoughsnowforme #justenoughsnowtoski
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Sun burnt off the fog, visitors enjoyed a hoarfrost snowfall on the trails. Great place to socially distance with family & friends! #bluehillstrailwisconsin #sociallydistanceoutdoors #hoarfrost #wevegotsnow #fasterskier #skiwithfriends
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Packed powder skiing on New Year’s Day. Loads of visitors welcomed 2021! Video shows the East/West crossover trail. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #packedpowder #skateski #classicski #welcome2021
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Good skiing through the hoarfrost on New Years Eve day. Get the daily scoop by visiting ‘Trail Conditions’ on our website - link in bio⬆️. Wishing you a happy healthy 2021! #bluehillstrailwisconsin #skinnyski #skinnyskis #crosscountryskiwithkids #xcski
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Excelsior Road (West Side) and The Gravel Road (East Side) were groomed last evening. Skiing this afternoon I was treated to 1” of feathers on top of the fresh grooming! Gonna groom these same trail segments again this evening. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #silentsports #silenceofnature🌳⛅️🗻 #skiingonfeathers #beautyofwinter
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Many of our 20+ miles of ski trails have received initial grooming in the past several days. The best skiing is shown as green highlights on the attached maps. And did you know our West Side trails are dog friendly? Be sure to visit our website where you’ll find ‘TRAIL CONDITIONS’ updated daily: link in Bio ⬆️ #bluehillstrailwisconsin #skijoring #foresttherapy #classicskiing #dogsonsnow
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Christmas in the Blue Hills. Very good skating on Excelsior Road this afternoon; pretty good striding as well. Groomers will be out working again tomorrow. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #christmasski #ruskcounty #skateskiing #skiwithdogs
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After yesterday’s rain, Santa brought snow - enough to start grooming the ski trails! This afternoon we rolled the ‘Gravel Road’ on the East Side trails, and ‘Excelsior Road’ on the West Side. Thanks Santa. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #earlywinterskiing #xcs #xcskiing #skinnyski
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A little more snow and we may be able to do some grooming. Today we moved our workhorse snowmobile to its winter home. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #wisconsinoutdoors #ruskcountywi #weneedsnow #crosscountryskiing
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Lunch time. Even busy beavers need a break now & then. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #busybeaver #busyasabeaver #timber
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Not enough snow to ski the trails. BUT very good skiing on Audie Lake - 2.5 miles northwest of the warming house. Audie is always an enjoyable getaway. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #wisconsinwinter #xcskiingonlakes #xcski #frozenlakes #silenceofnature
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Pictures from our ‘Rabbit Trail’ where bunnies made a fresh appearance on the Blue Hills Trail today. It felt like October today - 48 degrees F - way too warm for December! It’s time to cool down, then Santa needs to bring us some snow. #bluehillstrailwisconsin #whereiswinter #xcskiingwithoutsnow
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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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