Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Yay for the shade on the lower section of the Middle Fork Trail in Swan Valley!
Great November 5th conditions as we started the day in the shade on the Middle Fork
Trail in Swan Valley!
Boo for the melting in the sun exposed sections of the Middle Fork Trail:
Yikes! Barely enough snow to keep the skis on! Luckily my partners know to slow to a
trot when conditions are sketchy! 
Although we had some great snow to end October, we have had a warm & dry start to November. I was wracking my brain yesterday trying to think of a trail that may have survived the last few warm days. What we needed was a trail with lower elevation shade so the snow would still be intact as we climbed elevation to where the snow is still extremely good. The decision was to try the Middle or South Fork trails at Swan Valley this morning. As you see in the first photo, Middle Fork had the perfect amount of shade to start our run. As you see in the second photo, it was sketchy whenever we encountered sun exposed sections of trail.

Then, once we got up in elevation a bit, it was as I expected - great upper elevation snow! The only drawback was the trail had been driven by 4WD vehicles, so it was a bit tracked up and tested all of my ski abilities to stay upright behind my sprinting trio :)
Great snow in the upper elevations as I am riding the skis in the track behind Jack while
Zorro & Rudy run in the tracks to the left.
How great was the lower shade? Well come along for the start to this morning's run as I am riding the "sled dog tow rope" up the Middle Fork Trail on perfect conditions in the shade.
[watch on youtube if no video loads below]

I had to take my skis off once to walk over a stretch of exposed ground. Once back on snow I stopped to put the skis back on. Did I say "stopped"? Well, you know what that means from the youngsters...
"Back on snow, I'll wait for you to get in the skis!' says happy & polite Zorro.
"Stopped = rolling in snow!' demonstrates Rudy.
"Rolling AND eating snowcones - I'm talented!" adds snow rolling & eating Jack.
A perfect early November outing with just enough shade to enjoy the snow and not too much sun exposed terrain to hike over. A well earned set of end of run treats:
"Perfect! Hand out the treats!" says the happy & focused trio.
A great choice of trail this morning to get in a short fun run on what snow is still available in the shade and upper elevations: 5.2 miles traveled with 600 feet of elevation climbed and a top speed of 18 MPH.

2019/2020 Season to Date: 15 days on the trails covering 89.9 miles with 8850 feet of elevation climbed.

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