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  • MIke McGrew

Bah Humbug










Apparently at least one of my faithful readers was offended by the last photo I published. Lord knows we can't have that, so I am attempting to express my sincere contrition by sharing this image of cute, fuzzy kittens. Who could possibly be offended by a bouncy bundle of fluff? I'm hoping that all is forgiven and we can all once again sing Kumbayah around the campfire while bonding over our adoration of these precious little handfuls of purring love.


Now that I've dispensed with that unpleasant chore we can get down to brass tacks: we are getting hosed by the weather. I've seen some grim starts to the ski season but this has to rank with the worst. My scientist friends (of whom I have several) are going to want to see the data to back up that assertion but I'm just going to rely on my old-timer status and forego the numbers and charts. People frequently ask me when ski season starts here and my standard answer is we're always skiing by Christmas. I suppose technically you could ski on the trails right now if you were desperate and/or feeble-minded but it's not something I would recommend. It's icy and rutted with rocks and bare spots showing in places.


So, yeah. Bah humbug. Nordic skiers in western Montana are getting a lump of coal in their stockings this year.


The one bright spot I can report is that I went for a run on Westside Bypass this afternoon expecting

it to be a skating rink and wound up wishing I'd opted to skate ski it instead. The Westside snowmobile trails starts right below our house and I was aware that the groomer had been over it a couple of days ago but it still looked rougher than a cob from what I could see. However, if you can endure 1/2 mile of marginal skiing as far as the south Archibald Loop Road, conditions improve dramatically. I was running on it and kicking myself for not being on my skis. After a mile the groomer took a left on the north Archibald Road and right now there isn't a track on it, just corduroy from the groomer comb.


When I say "right now" that's exactly what I mean because that can, and will, change with a moment's notice. If you're in Missoula I wouldn't recommend that you make the drive based on this report, but if you're in Seeley it's definitely worth a shot. I know that's what I'm going to be doing in the morning.


No telling when the Pisten Bully will be back this way. Lynn and I have been trying to figure out the logic behind their schedule for years without success. But, if you check their schedule regularly you can sometimes get lucky and have first tracks on an immaculately buffed surface. Here's the link: https://www.driftriders.org/trails.html . That may not show up as a link when I publish this but you can copy and paste it into your browser.


That's the best intel I can share at the moment. The forecast for the foreseeable future looks bleak so I'm going to control what I can, which probably means more gym time and running, but for tomorrow, at least, I'll get some miles on my skate skis. And continue to pet my cat.









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