The US Ski Team is currently training in sunny San Diego, and the eastern US had a warm dose of summer over the weekend, but other parts of the United States have been starting to look a lot like winter in the past few days.
We received the following pictures from Nordic Combined coach Dave Jarrett, taken last Friday.
The picture was taken on Bruce's Trail which is on Rabbit Ears Pass above Steamboat, Colorado. It is about 8500'-9000' give or take. There are two main loops up there one is 5km and the other is about 2km. It snowed in Steamboat and on the pass last Wednesday, September 22nd and two local XC enthusiasts were up there Wednesday night grooming with a snowmobile. Some local SSWSC Nordic Combined skiers skied on Thursday and the pictures are from Friday morning. The pictures are of me taken by SSWSC Nordic Combined coach Chris Gilbertson. It was pretty warm on the weekend and I don't think the snow will last through the winter but it was a nice break from running and rollerskiing!! I think this beats the earliest I have ever skied up there by about 2 weeks too.
Over the weekend Anchorage, Alaska also had its first taste of winter. It snowed six inches in town on Saturday, setting a record for the earliest major snowfall. A number of people enjoyed a one kilometer skied-in track at Glen Alps, only 15 minutes from town.
I decided to head up to Hatcher Pass, the usual site for early season skiing near Anchorage, and check out the snow conditions up there. I started skiing right from the Hatcher Pass lodge, where there was about 4 inches on the ground. I skied up the access road to the Gold Cord mine, where ski trails are usually groomed in late October/early November. As I climbed, the snow quickly got deeper and deeper. At the mine (elevation ~4,00 feet), it was over a foot deep and when I got off the road it quickly became very soft and unskiable. I turned around and headed back down to the lodge, then went up the Hatcher Pass road the other way to the actual Hatcher Pass and Summit Lake. Snow on this road was very good for skiing up, but coming down it was a little thin. My rock skis now have a few more gouges in them. I skied for two and a half hours, and when I was done I had created a pretty good track, close to 10 kilometers in length.