By some sort of miracle, the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club has found a way to open up a nice cross-country ski venue at the Tumwater Campground off of Highway 2. There's not enough snow in Leavenworth or even in Lake Wenatchee to strap on the skis, but the campground in between those two places had enough snow for the LWSC's grooming crew to make a 3.5-kilometer track.
General Manager Mark Milliette said he was surprised when he stopped at the campground to see if it might be used for cross-country skiing and found five inches of snow. Fortuitously, the club is in the process of testing out new rubber tracks for its groomer that packs snow down rather than chews it up like the normal metal tracks. Using that equipment, and farming snow from each of the campsites to fill in bare spots, they've created a short but surprisingly good skiing experience.
Milliette said he expects the club will purchase the new tracks,which would allow the club in some circumstances to open earlier with less snow.
It's been a challenging year for LWSC with the shortage of precipitation, but they've made the most out of the situation by harvesting from an early December storm. Their intermediate ski hill is operational, thanks to seven dump truck loads of snow harvested from parking lots around town, as is a tubing hill.
Milliette said he's hopeful that a weather system expected later this week will bring enough precipitation to get the cross-country ski season up and running.
This is not the first time that the club has used the Tumwater Campground property, Milliette said. In 2009, the forest service property was used for a short time. Getting that ski track up and running is "putting a smile on people's faces," he said.