“The heavy workhorse snow machines at Plumas-Eureka State Park are not made to glide over soft fresh snow, they tend to auger down, but they are ‘beasts’ of burden meant to pull–heave ho!” said Ken McMaster. The machines are used to prepare the trails for cross country skiers and snow-shoers. Photo by Sandy

Trails being freshly groomed for cross-country skiers at Plumas Eureka

Two feet of light snow fell Jan. 27 with more the following day. The light snow is difficult to pack and groom with just snowmobiles, but they are working on it.

“We tried grooming with the roller and tracksetter, but only got stuck,” said volunteer snow groomer Ken McMaster. “So, we unhooked and went out with just the snowmobiles. The large machines we have are made to pull, not drive in deep snow, but lighter machines can’t pull the grooming equipment, a trade off.”

There were challenges to be sure while making the first passes on what would be a considerable snow dump over the course of a few days. “Somewhat difficult riding, I can hear the violins crying for us, yet, the worst day of grooming beats the best day at work,” said McMaster. “We enjoy what we do!”

The volunteer crews were able to pack half a mile out to Camp Lisa on Jan. 27 and then turned around. Volunteers returned the following day and accomplished a great deal opening most of the trails.

Advertisement

Phillip Violett showed up at 6 a.m. to shovel out the machines on the first day and another foot of snow fell after that. Volunteers on line doing the work Saturday, Jan. 30, were Sandy, Sandy and Debbie, Mary Fran, Lance and Tony. The follow-up crew Feb. 1 included Brandee, Jeff, Sandy, Mark, Lance, and Mary Fran.

To sign up for reports via email contact Ken McMaster at [email protected] or call 994-1050.

With another foot of snow falling after grooming efforts, it will take several days to get the trails ready for skiing. “Thank you for your patience and your support!” said McMaster.

A special thank you goes out to all who have supported the volunteer grooming program in the past as no state funds are used for the program.

“Much gratitude to all the volunteers who donate their time to the trails,” said McMaster. The entirety of funding comes through donations to PESPA (Plumas Eureka State Park Association, P.O. Box 1148, Graeagle, CA 96103.) There is also a donation slot on the Museum door at the Museum Trailhead. There are no trail fees but donations are gratefully accepted. Suggested donations are $5/day per person, $25/person for the season and only $40/family for the season

Advertisement

There is a porta-potty on site. “Go out and enjoy winter skiing and snowshoeing!” said McMaster.

Volunteers try to groom the trails after each snowfall and weekly to freshen up the trails. No walking is allowed on any of the trails. Dogs are not allowed on the main trails. “This season we are actively recruiting new ‘Ski Patrol’ members to assist with our winter program,” said McMaster. Ski Patrol members work to dig out equipment, help with trail grooming and pass on important safety rules and history to the public to help them best enjoy one of California’s premier winter destinations, Plumas Eureka State Park. Call 994-1050 for more information on volunteering.

Grooming report

Jamison Trail: Open, groomed, set track and skating lane.

Harpers Way: Open, not groomed, deep snow.

Camp Lisa: Open, not groomed, deep snow.

Upper Campground: Open, groomed, skating lane, no set track.

Campground: Open, groomed, set track and skating lane.

Advertisement

Lower Campground: Open, not groomed.

Bear Scat Flat: Not groomed.

Plumas-Eureka: Open, groomed, set track and skating lane.

Avalanche advisory

The Central Sierra Nevada Mountain Avalanche Advisory is issued daily by the Sierra Avalanche Center (SAC), covering the Northern Sierra Nevada mountain range from Ebbett’s Pass (State Highway 4, Alpine County) to Yuba Pass (State Highway 49, Sierra County).

It applies to back-country areas outside of developed ski areas only. For daily avalanche advisory information, go to the SAC website at www.sierraavalanchecenter.org, or phone 587-3558.