Sunday, December 31, 2017

Prairie Springs XC Ski and Snowshoe Trails - Cresco

We have plenty of cold but not a great deal of snow!  We had two light snowfalls this past week and have 3-4 inches on the ground.  Rolled the Bike Trail, Campground Trail, Campground Loop and Campground Road on Friday afternoon.  These trails are on smooth surfaces so they look pretty good, but the packed surface is only a couple of inches on top of no base so won't hold up long; but we have to get started making a base!  I would classify conditions as marginal.

Remember the Iowa Winter Games Classical and Freestyle races are here on January 27 - 10 AM Classical and 2 PM Freestyle.  Happy New Year and Happy Skiing!

Pilot Knob Lake

Here's an update on Pilot Knob Lake just east of Forest City.  We had about 1/2" of snow on the ice from a couple of weeks ago.  The ice was finally thick enough to work on by Monday the 25th.  By using the snow mover it ended up being about 1/2" of packed snow.  Tuesday it skated surprisingly well.

Working with 1/2" of snow on ice surface the 25th

Skated very well but only 1/2" thick

We received another 1" last Wednesday night so it again was scraped on to trail.

Rolling a fresh 1" last Thursday.  Base is packed at 1"

A couple of us were enjoying skate skiing Friday while it was snowing.  And the glide was again good even with about 3" of fresh fluffy snow on the 1" packed base.

Skate skiing Friday the 29th.

We ended up with about 4 to 5" of fluffy snow Friday.  So it was rolled again Friday night.  Plus I pulled the tracksetter behind the roller to lay our first classic tracks of the season.  I'll try to take the Ginzu out today or Monday for a better finish.  

This is a flat 1.5km loop on the ice of Pilot Knob Lake.  It can be accessed by parking at the sledding hill parking lot, start at the warming shed and ski south.

Rolling 4 to 5" of fluffy snow over 1" packed base.

Pulling tracksetter behind roller Friday the 29th

Kent Park, Oxford 12-31

Kent Park, Oxford IA 12/31/17 9AM.
Trails rolled at this time, no classic tracks as insufficient snow depth.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

MNRA MacBride - North Liberty, Iowa City

MNRA MacBride - North Liberty, Iowa City 12-30 2:00 PM
Trails rolled at this time. Grooming may happen tonight. 

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