Monday, February 6, 2017

The 2nd annual Pilot Knob ski race was held Saturday.  We had a total of 29 skiers which was up from the 16 last year.  The park was in great shape for the race and having temperatures in the 20's made for an all around great day.  Thank you to all of the great volunteers that helped direct skiers & bring food and to North Iowa Nordic for contributing to expenses.  It was truly a pleasure to be able to ski with all of you at my favorite trail!  Jeff

Start area

Jen Juhlin of Iowa City

John Curtin of Des Moines 

Scott Duffus of Tripoli

Pilot Knob road at 26' wide

More pictures will be posted soon on facebook "Pilot Knob Ski Race".

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Prairie Springs XC Ski Trails Groomed Tonight - 2-2-17

Groomed tonight. Very warm Tuesday and very cold yesterday so trails were icy. Broke up the surface of skating lanes, left much of the diagonal track alone because tearing it up and trying to get a deep set track would have been very difficult. Did fix diagonal track in some areas like north edge of Minears Field. Skiing should be good, will ski tomorrow and give a report. Also, opened the Hill Trail. River trail still closed because of a large ice area.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Pilot Knob Ski Race

Come challenge yourself to ski the hills in beautiful Pilot Knob State Park.  This is a great preparation race for the American Birkiebeiner.  Enjoy eating lunch in the warming house afterwards.  Any profits from this race will go towards the costs of grooming the trails in the park.

February 4, 2017
both races start at 8:30 am

27 km freestyle race.
9 km freestyle race.
Lunch included for racers.
Awards to top 3 overall, male & female each race.
Racer's fee is $15.00.
Family and friends welcome to lunch also(free will donation).
Classic skiers are welcome to join the freestyle race also.  At least 90% of the course will be tracked.

Start & finish located at the warming house.
Register day of race only.  Please email, text or phone if you plan to attend so as to make sure there will be enough food.

Sponsor; and the Forest City nordic grooming crew.

Jeff Hovinga

Pilot Knob State Park
2148 340th St. Forest City, IA 50436

Friday, January 27, 2017

Iowa Winter Games - Prairie Springs Nature Center - Cresco - Course Photos from Today

Here are some shots from most areas on the course.  Conditions are very good.

Webster City Briggs Woods Groomed and Tracked Friday January 27th

We had a total of 7", and with the cold the moisture is gone. We groomed and tracked the Woodland loop, the Up n Back trail, and Waterfall loop plus a beginner practice loop by the red barn. We no longer set a 5k on the golf course. Conditions for this weekend will be great, just watch for twigs and small branch tips in the woods.

Race Course - Iowa Winter Games XC Races - Saturday, January 28

Here's a map of the Race Course for 8K Classic and 10K Freestyle. Both races will ski this route and there will be a part of the trail that will be done twice. The part that's done twice will be different for the 8K and 10K and will be explained before races. Personnel on course will direct you.  Course involves uphill, downhill, flats and rolling terrain so plenty of variety.  There's a topo map posted on our Facebook Page,

We have 8" of new snow on top of a base that varies from 1" to 5" so conditions should be very good.  Temps tomorrow predicted to be in mid 20s so it should be an ideal day for racing.  Registration begins at 9 AM in downstairs of Prairie Springs Nature Center.  Course was groomed last night so you can ski it today.  We will re-groom it tonight.

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Iowa Winter Games XC Races at Prairie Springs Trail System Cresco

Because of a lack of snow in Dubuque, the site for the Iowa Winter Games Cross Country Ski Races has been changed to the Prairie Springs Trail System and Prairies Edge Nature Center, Cresco.  The races will be held on Saturday, January 28 with an 8K Classical race at 10 AM and a 10K Freestyle race at 2 PM.  For registration information and additional race information, visit the Iowa Winter Games site @

Race site, onsite registration and event center is at the Prairie's Edge Nature Center two miles south of Cresco, Iowa.  For updates on trail conditions visit

See you Saturday!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Pilot Knob State Park, Forest City

The skating deck on the road through Pilot Knob State Park was rejuvenated this morning.  I didn't try to redo the classic tracks because of how hard packed the snow is right now.  The tracks are wiped out in a few spots but overall are in fairly decent shape.

I'll plan on going over the skate deck again early Sunday morning.

We've endured rain and wind storms since receiving about 15" of snow this year.  Thanks to the hours of raking from volunteers and the Ginzu groomer's ability to rejuvenate icy snow, we have ski-able conditions!

Pilot Knob State Park

Friday, December 30, 2016

Prairie Springs XC Ski Trails - Cresco - 12/30/16

Groomed last night.  Skiing today was very good and most trails are in very good conditions, especially considering the Christmas weekend rains, warm temps and winds. Some trails like Campground, Meadow, Minears would rate as excellent, Some like the Bike Trail, Hill Trail, River Trail have very good sections and sections with small twigs and leaves. Anything big has been removed and what's on some trails in a few spots shouldn't damage ski bases. In my opinion, I think anyone coming here to ski this weekend will be pleasantly surprised. The Gulley and one other cut off haven't been groomed because of poor conditions. Here's a few pics.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Best'

Cresco is and remains THE BEST! Thanks Mark! If I can ever be of any help with anything, let me know

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Pilot Knob road, Forest City

The road through Pilot Knob has been groomed for both skating and classic skiing.  We had about 11" of snow from the last couple of weeks.  The classic tracks get a little shallow in a few spots.  The skate deck looks good.  Looks like we might get some more snow Friday and it should be good for skiing until the Christmas day rain!

Pilot Knob State Park road

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Thanks, Mark and Cresco Crew!

Hey friends, Mike and I want to give a big huge shout out to the Cresco crew and Mark for his awesome grooming skills. We also want to say we yelled after the 2 snowmobilers who totally tore up the beautiful outer trails around 10 a.m. this morning. We had already had a nice 40 minutes out, but they really did a number, especially on some curves. Grr! I don't know if they couldn't hear me shouting "stay off the ski trails!" or if they chose not to hear. In any case, thank you for awesome grooming every year!! It'll be all melted I bet by tomorrow anyway!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Irv Warren Golf Course / South Hills Golf Course - Waterloo

Irv Warren was groomed for skating yesterday.   The skating was excellent this morning.

Waterloo Leisure Services web pages states that South Hills Golf Course was groomed as well.   I would expect the same conditions there.

Wickiup Hill - Cedar Rapids

Wickiup Hill trails have been groomed for skate skiing. Conditions not suitable for traditional.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Prairie Springs XC Ski Trails Cresco

Just finished grooming. We have about 12" of snow.  Packed and combed for skating and set a classical track. Ski trails look very good! Everything has now been groomed, some trails for the first time so they might be a bit soft. Will ski tomorrow to give you a first hand report. Looks like a fairly mild week this week so hope to see you on the trails!

Ski Trails at Wickiup and Morgan Creek Park

There has been a trail broken at Wickiup. It has drifted in a little in the open spaces on the prairie.
At Morgan Creek Park the Skate Lane Trails have been groomed and they are in fair condition. They are not grooming the Classic Trail because that is not in good condition.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Irv Warren Golf Course - Waterloo

A 2.4 km loop was groomed on Irv Warren Golf Course this morning.   Too thin to set a classical track but the skating lane is excellent.   There are thin spots in places.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Pretty Darn Good

If you are lucky enough to be in a part of the state where we got sufficient coverage there is some pretty darn good skiing to be had. The snow has crusted and seems to work equally well for skating or classic. Hope it is a sign of things to come!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Prairie Springs XC Ski Trails - Cresco

We groomed last night.  All trails combed and tracked.  Conditions are very good right now with 2-3" of new snow.  This will be short lived according to the forecast.  Thursday through Sunday temps are predicted to be in the upper 30s to as high as 50 F on Saturday.