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January 2012

Upcoming Events

Jan. 21    Learn-to-Ski Adult Clinic 10:00 a.m.

Kids Lessons 1:00 p.m.

Jan. 28    Kids Lessons 1:00 p.m.

Feb. 4     Tracking Workshop for Families

“Woodwind Moon” Moonlight Ski

Kids Lessons 1:00 p.m.

Nordic Center News

The Red Lodge Nordic Center at Aspen Ridge Ranch is having another great year with 837 skiers signed in through Dec. 31! Snowfall has been adequate, but with some challenging periods. Our dedicated grooming team has worked hard to provide first-rate trails, knowing expectations are high. We especially want to reward our Billings friends, who bravely dodge the deer on their drive to Red Lodge.

Mother Nature, however, does not always co-operate with the groomers, and all too often sends high winds that immediately cover their good work, or she’ll allow temperatures to rise leaving us with un-workable snow. The grooming team makes daily assessments of conditions and will groom whenever conditions permit. Note that our grooming team is made of unpaid volunteers. The $5.00 daily trail fee defrays maintenance, oil and gas costs for our snowmobiles and equipment.

For up to the minute grooming reports, skiing conditions and event details, check our website: Please note that snowshoes, dogs and walking are not allowed at the Nordic Center since it destroys all the hard work the groomers have done. For trails to enjoy those activities, contact the Beartooth Ranger District at: (406) 446-2103.

By the way, since the groomers are at the Nordic Center anyway, most will “test” the conditions after grooming, getting in a “first tracks” run. Often, on very cold days, skiing conditions are awesome, but they are surprised to find an empty parking lot. So, cowboy up, put on an extra layer, some face protection and get out there for some of the best ski days you’ll ever have.

Learn to Ski, Saturday, Jan. 21

Group classic ski lesson for adults at 10:00; skate ski lesson at 11:00 (prior skiing experience required).  Meet at the Nordic Center parking lot 2 miles west of Red Lodge.  You must preregister with Grant at; (call 425-0130 if you can’t email).  $10 plus $5 trail fee.  No rentals (or other services available at the Nordic Center).

Kids Ski Lessons

Over 50 kids showed up for the first in a series of four lessons. Instructors and assistants had their hands full trying to keep all this energy focused on ski skills and games. Parents were invited to help with the classes. Thanks to all that volunteered. See you on Saturday.

Snow Tracking Workshop for Families, Saturday, Feb. 4

The Audubon Conservation Education Center in Billings is putting on this morning workshop at Red Lodge Nordic Center. Bring your skis, get tips from instructors if you are a beginner, and learn to identify animal tracks with Barb Pitman of the US Forest Service. To register, call the Audubon Center at 294-5099 before Jan. 30. $5 trail fee (kids and seniors always ski free).

Moonlight Ski, Feb. 4

The Beartooth Ranger District of the Custer National Forest will join the Beartooth Recreational Trails Association in hosting the “Woodwind Moon” on Saturday, February 4, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Red Lodge Nordic Center.  Ski along the shadow of the aspens, then relax by a warm fire.  Bring your own food and beverages.

The Woodwind Moon is an event in the 2012 series hosted by the Beartooth Ranger District. Featured this month are musicians Madeleine Kornfield and Jess Carroll. Their music will make your moonlight ski experience complete.

Where is Eric?

Eric Dye (15) has been skiing since he was five, including classic & skate XC, downhill and telemark. He is the only USSA licensed youth XC racer claiming Red Lodge as home. Since there is no ski team here, he competes as an Independent, travelling with the Cody High School team in the Wyoming High School League. So far this year, Eric has competed in sanctioned races at Pahaska, Casper Mountain, Lander and Pinedale in WY. He will be off to Soldier Hollow, UT, in late January. All these races offer points that can qualify him for the High Plains National Team race (again at Soldier Hollow) March 3, where youth from the western US try to qualify for the National Finals.

Eric trains at Red Lodge Nordic Center, usually in the dark by headlamp after school. BRTA is proud to help sponsor Eric in his racing endeavors, and we wish him the best of luck!

Sell or Buy

We would like to try posting your XC ski “for sale” or “want to buy” ads in this newsletter. Conditions: send your information to; only XC (classic or skate) skis, boots, poles; include specific brand, model, size, color, etc.; price; your phone or email address. We will publish your information once. You will handle your own inquiries/negotiations/sales, etc.


2010 Snow sports Participation Study:  “14% of Alpine skiers & snowboarders, 33% of XC skiers, 32% of telemark skiers, and 56% of snowshoers seek out the backcountry for an undeveloped snow sports experience.”

Grant’s Ski Tip

Waxing Skis is standard procedure in all rental and sales shops, and many avid skiers have their own set up at home. Racers of all levels wouldn’t be caught dead without fresh wax for the conditions of the hour.

Why wax? A brand new pair of skis, any type, needs several coats of melted wax to fill in the microscopic pores in the base. This helps preserve the base as well as provide for the optimum glide of the ski. Alpine, telemark, and skate skis have glide wax selected for a wide temperature range ironed into the base, then scraped smooth and polished so the skis will perform predictably.

Cross country skis referred to as waxable have a layer of kick wax, selected for a narrow temperature range of the snow, applied to the kick pocket to provide traction for the skier. The tips and tails are glide waxed. “Waxless skis” do not need kick wax in the pocket as they have a one-way traction surface built in. They will perform better if the tips and tails are glide waxed.

How often should you wax your skis? It depends on how much you use them and the snow conditions. After about 4 or 5 uses, skate skis should be waxed. Generally, XC skis can go 9 or 10 times; telemark and downhill, 7 or 8 times. It really depends on your preference, availability of waxing, willingness to pay, etc.  And, as said before, all skis should be waxed before summer storage to help protect the bases.


Telemark skiing is attributed to the Norwegians in the District of Telemark beginning before 1840. It involved flexing of the knees, letting the trailing ski drift back while twisting the lead ski into the direction of the turn; all done on long wooden skis with “primitive” free heel bindings; all done to make turns to get down those steep hills on the deep snow!

January Moonlight Ski

Our January 7th Moonlight Ski saw a record number of folks attending. Forty- six cars packed into our parking lot. Under a stellar full moon, skiers enjoyed fabulous skiing, visiting around a warm fire and listening to a fascinating presentation by Halcyon and Mike, from the Forest Service. They described the work, people and life in CCC camps in the Red Lodge area during the late thirties and early forties.

Quote of the Month

“The future lies before you like a path of driven snow. Be careful how you Tread on it for every mark will show.” ~Author Unknown

Always consider yourself welcome at BRTA monthly Board meetings, second Wednesdays, at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation building, (13th & Oakes, across from Post Office), 6:30 pm, or call your favorite Board member to learn what’s up with BRTA.