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May 2024

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Photo by Bob Blair Corey Melker and Hamilton Brown of Taos tackle another obstructing fallen tree on the Powderpuff trail.

Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area Comes Back To Life

The storm that hit on December 15 nearly ended Enchanted Forest Cross Country Ski Area, as we know it. When I met with officials from the USDA Forest Service, Carson National Forest East Zone Supervisory Forester Juan Jauregui told me that EFXC had the most extensive damage of any geographical area in his area of responsibility. We estimated that 200 acres of our permit zone are 98% flattened, another 200 acres are 60% flattened.

Nevertheless, we are coming along with our efforts on trail cleanup, and as long as we have snow we plan on re-opening February 1. Faith Mountain Fellowship Church showed up the weekend of January 21 with a large crew of sawyers to clear quite a bit of trail. People who move branches and logs out of the way as the sawyers cut are called swampers, and they came, too.

After a slow and grinding start we have made significant gains. Currently cleared trails include most of March Hare, most of Jabberwocky, all of Not Much and Not Much More, all of Old Game Trail, and the lesson hill. Also, the outer Sven Wiik cutoff has been cleared. The base area and Molly B. Denum did not have any tree fall. The crew started on Powderpuff and got a chunk from Not Much More to March Hare cleared first, and then, in one day, made phenomenal progress, with Cheshire Cat now in sight.

We are not planning to clear most of Northwest Passage, inner Sven Wiik, Tony’s Ravine, or Little John this season. After flagging the inner area for trail clearing the biggest challenge will be outer Sven Wiik from Old Game Trail to the Midway Yurt—we may have to delay the clearing of that section of trail for a while.

Our near-term goals are to work on Powderpuff, Jabberwocky, and Sherwood Forest. With these trails we will have a decent amount of trail cleared for a partial reopening. Sherwood Forest will gain us access to the Midway Yurt so we can further assess and stabilize the damage. Also, if we have enough volunteers, we will try to reevaluate the Glade Yurt and also determine if we can reasonably clear a snowshoe trail on Linda’s Leg to get to Little John Yurt and on Long John Trail to get to Long John Yurt. We have been getting quite a few requests to open as many yurts as we can and would like to accommodate those requests, even if the only access is via snowshoeing.

Our lead snowshoe guide, Shane, has been providing outstanding field leadership and our longtime volunteer and employee, Bob, has been great in providing transportation and support to all the teams in the field.

Southwest Nordic/Clay Moseley loaned us a Stihl 440 chainsaw that has allowed us to get through some of our medium-sized trees more safely and effectively. As has been true this entire time, we have had volunteers from all over the state who we couldn’t do this without—the work they have done has been extraordinary and deeply appreciated already! The next time any of you are in town please go by Old Tymers and give them your business and thanks, as they have been giving us a huge discount every time we get lunch for our volunteers! Old Tymers has a great reputation for pancakes and we all can now vouch for their delicious wraps and pizza.

We are currently (as of 20 January) at $22,170 through our fundraiser at https://gofund.me/2e752ca3. Any excess funds raised will be used directly to improve our equipment and to expand our trails. We’ve had a few folks use our volunteer sign-up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f44a8aa29a7f5c16-trail and want to encourage more to check it out. Please share this information with each of your communities, as we need all the help we can get!