Winter has taken a bit of a turn up here this week. There was some rain last Sunday and then only light snow with very little rain the rest of the week. Temps have been at or below freezing most mornings but getting into the mid to high 40s in the afternoons.
I groomed the Chulitna Bluff between mile 129 and 121 and also the E/W Express on Tuesday and the snow bridges were intact then, but conditions are changing rapidly. The P-ville Road was groomed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as was the west half of the E/W Express, Kenny Creek, Tokositna to Bunco Creek and the Safari Lake Trails. There is a lot of freight being hauled on the road and other equipment present so it won’t stay smooth for long in these warm temperatures.
The swamps and creeks have some water on the surface with lots of holes in the creeks opening up. The snow pack remains between 2-3′. Moose are having difficulty getting off of the trail so give them a break.
The Petersville Community NPC is hosting it’s annual Fun Run and Easter Egg Hunt with a Show and Shine event too. There will be lots of activity at and around the Forks Roadhouse this weekend and the proceeds go to trail grooming and search and rescue needs. Go to their Facebook page for more details.
Alaska Snow Cat in South Denali–3/22/19
Yes it is still a winter wonderland in the South Denali area! Monday was a wintery mix of snow/rain/snow/sleet in the lower elevations with fresh powder north and west of the reflector tree. The Deep Creek area had what looked to be 6-10″ of real nice looking fresh snow on a 3′ base. The base of the entire area is still in great shape with very little if any loss to snow depth. What has changed is the type of snow at lower elevations is becoming the dense punchy type you expect in the spring. Temps have been warm for several weeks now with lows in the high 20s and highs as much as 40 in the afternoon. 2-5″ of fresh snow this morning.
Creeks are starting to show signs of decay and the snow bridge at Rabiduex south of Trapper Creek is completely gone and there are no other crossings available in that area. You should ride the power line between mile 110 and 114 if you want to travel along that route. The snow bridge at Rail Road Creek has been rebuilt and is in good shape as of this writing but it’s condition can change rapidly with this warm weather. All other creek crossings are in very good shape.
All trails were groomed this week except the CBT south of 121 and the Rabiduex/Trapper Creek winter trail. There is lots of traffic out there so ride to the right and expect on coming traffic.
Alaska Snow Cat–3/15/19
club rode Tokistina Loop and higher in elevation to Long Point. Snow still in fantastic condition as of this writing, not corned up more like very sticky powder. Beware of riding the deep for a long time–sticky snow means possible engine overheat for lack of “new snow” getting up into the now packed radiators (especially the front heat exchanger).
*Watch out* for terrain traps and creek opening up especially in flat light conditions. Ice in the swamps is half this winter of what it usually and that’s causing sudden drops into creek beds with overflow etc if you’re boondocking or powder-playing off the groomed track. Early spring riding caution prevails despite the excellent snowpack this winter. Found Railroad Creek bridge partially collapsed (down to barely enough width for one snowmachine to cross) and I hear Rabbideaux Creek Bridge at MP110 is fully collapsed now.
Higher elevations like we rode to Long Point (not avalanche terrain) in the north Peters Hill are extremely deep snow and not for the faint of heart ! Ride with shovels and bungees up high, you’re gonna need ’em.
Another great week of spring riding out there folks! Light snow has been falling with deeper amounts up in the hills. All the trails but the Rabiduex were groomed this week and are ready for riding as spring break starts. Temps are warm and the snow has stayed soft.
This weekend is the Trapper Creek Cabin Fever Reliever event at the Community Parks which has a lot of fun events for the family plus food! Also the “Ride for Hope” is happening this weekend so there will be plenty of activity for everyone.
As always ride safe and keep an eye out for open holes near the water features.
Alaska Snow Cat–3/7/19
Grooming has been completed for the week and spring riding is looking real good. Lots of activities/events happening in the area this month and the Ladies Ride is the first out of the gate with their event this saturday.
The snow is still pretty soft in the untracked areas and if you get away from the trails just a little bit there is plenty of untracked riding. Temps have been below zero at night but start warming up about 10 am and reaching the low 30s by afternoon. Keep a sharp look out for open holes near the creeks and that includes a few creeks on the groomed trail. I keep filling them in but with the warm ground under the snow they keep melting back out.
There is another full month of grooming and easily 2 months of riding left so get out and enjoy!
Alaska Snow Cat–3/1/19
ASC rode East-West Trail to Bunco Bump (middle of South Denali) also Jen-Mar Trail above Lunchbox in Petersville on 2/23. Trails in excellent shape, the grooming shows in easy to follow, bermed “paths”. Off trail is about 2 feet of soft powder as of this riding, some open areas slightly windblown but nowhere was it “bare”–surface just sculpted by the light breezes of late. Minimum cover found all day was at least a foot of powder, most of the time it was 2 feet deep. The deepest stash is in among the trees and lower-lying valleys if you’re a powderhound like me, plenty of it …like 3 feet ! Riding in P’ville and South Denali is most likely the best it’s going to be this winter–“spring” warmup is only a couple weekends away so best get out there and ride now.
Michelle LaRose, ASC and CRR–2/23/19
Hello!! Snow is deep. Riding is epic for trail, boon-docking, and mountain riding. 65 miles to the lodge from Cantwell is all groomed as of yesterday. We have a couple rooms left for this weekend.
Alpine Creek Lodge, Cantwell–2/21/19
The blue trail that connects Northland Inn to East-West on the South Denali trail system was reestablished today but not groomed until next week, for now it’s tracked by 2 machines to make it visible to others. There is at least 12 inches new snow to be pounded down around us so come out to play n’stay !! We’re a ride-in/ride-out cozy inn with generous-sized rooms at MP .08 on the Petersville Road.
Alaska’s Northland Inn–2/21/19
Grooming is completed for this week. All trails were groomed with the exception of the canyon on the P-ville Rd and the Rabiduex south of Trapper Creek. The Canyon will not be groomed until further notice due to the heavy snow and high winds in that area producing an avalanche danger. Ride through there at your own risk and beware of avalanche dangers in all the back country.
There was 14″ of new snow this week near mile 131 of the Parks Highway, and deeper amounts north of the E/W Express toward the Tokositna. Winds were evident on the Petershills with some drifting but overall good riding conditions. There were no winds along the Parks Highway during the storm.
Keep an eye out for moose and give them a break as it is more difficult for them to get off of the trails.
Watch for open areas along the creeks as many have not frozen this winter and deep holes can occur. Have a great week.
Alaska Snow Cat–2/21/19
Ok folks here is the grooming report for the week:
CBT from mile 121 to mile 131-groomed
Black Creek(first 3 miles)-groomed
Temps have been subzero overnight but climbing to the mid twenties by the afternoon. A stiff breeze started midweek and riding looks pretty darn good all in all.
Have a safe weekend!
Alaska Snow Cat–2/15/19