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  • MIke McGrew

Another Fine Mess


One of many trees that were on the trails this week.


All of western Montana got blown away last Wednesday and Seeley Lake was no exception. The wind was howling, trees were dropping with reckless abandon and some folks were without power for 48 hours. There may still be people without power for all I know.


The ski trails always take a beating when the wind rages. Not only do we get trees falling all over the place, but the amount of debris that blows in is mind boggling. Needles, boughs, limbs, lichen, you name it. It is a colossal mess and the only thing that can fix it is snow to cover it up.



Some of the worst debris.


Fortunately, Lynn knew we were going to be in a world of hurt trying to get the trails cleared after the holocaust and he had the presence of mind to call Matt, our connection at the Seeley Lake Ranger District. Matt hooked us up with three sleds, chain saws and the manpower to go with it. While those guys were cutting out the trails our volunteer groomers were working to make them skiable. After about four hours of intensive logging the trails were open, but far from skiable. It took two teams of groomers the better part of the day to get major debris off the trails by hand and machine. There's still a lot of junk on the snow but it's skiable, even if it's not great.



Limbs on the storage container.


It would be pretty tough to destroy the shipping container where we store one of our sleds and a ginzu, but a well-placed tree could wipe out about $15,000 worth of grooming equipment, plus another $4k for the shed. I'm not sure what this looked like before it was cut out, but the post mortem appeared as though a tree had gone down parallel to the container, leaving limbs on the roof and a mess to the side.


Tree that narrowly missed the shipping container.


The forecast is calling for a couple inches of snow tomorrow and we sorely need it to make things reasonably skiable again. In fact, we could really use about a foot, but not all at one time. If we could get a few inches a day for four or five days in a row, we would be in excellent shape. The boughs and needles and junk would disappear, we'd have the base we need and life would be good. So, if anyone has any influence over the weather now would be a perfect time to exercise it. Thank you in advance.








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