Willow winter trails conditons.
Spent some time up in Willow to get out of the Girdwood pineapplepunch over the new years.
Parked at the trail head on Nancy Lake parkway light dusting of snow on new years day. The trail South to Redshirt Lake was packed with sections of overflow and some pockets of open water by the creek. Less snow and more of a rain crust eggshell down on Redshirt Lake with very soft snow and an inch or two of water on the lakeice with 4 to 6 inches of snow on top of that water. SLOP.
North on the N. Rolly Lake trail the trail was "setup" better with cooler temps went north to the Willow-Swamp Loop made it north till I got a visual on the kiosk on Willow-swamp then turned back around.
South Rolly Lake and the Nancy Lake parkway seemed to be the boundary of warm snow south and cold snow to the north.
Last edited by Co-opski; 01-02-2015 at 02:14 PM.
The trails are pretty bomber now with the cold temps.. Willow Swamp, Big Swamp, Almond Lake and the loops around the lakes are hard and fast.. haven't encountered any overflow since the warmup.. Hoping the trails to the south improve a little.. Thinking about venturing down towards Redshirt Lake in the next couple days..
I was up in Willow this past weekend, pretty soft conditions right after the most recent friday 1 ft snow dump but after weekend snowmachines packed the trails Saturday and they had a chance to set-up, the Willow area trails were in good shape Sunday and I even passed a group of ladies out on fat-biking on the swamp. I saw not overflow. Well over 2 feet of snow on the ground at this point so actual fat bike trail conditions, not just hardpack snow/ice.
Willow winter carnival is happening over the next 2 weekends
Willow Winter Carnival
Good selection of kid/family/dog events and a 5km ski race first weekend. The second weekend is largely dominated by Snowmachine events but Sunday Feb 8th is also the annual 25km ski race, (from Nancy lake state park to "downtown" Willow last time I did it many, many years ago). For the first time, they are also advertizing it as a running and bike race / tour. Anyone have more specifics on this years event?
The Willow winter carnival is a neat community event now in it's 54th year, probaby the biggest event in Willow outside of the Iditarod re-start, good opportunity to take part in an event with local flavor. "Promotion" of the WWC races and events is pretty minimal but worth checking out for something differnent and chance to cover some great winter riding terrain.
I was up in Willow again this past weekend, area trails are groomed and in excellent condition for fat-biking.
I talked to one of the area trail groomer (Steve) that is helping with putting on the 25km ski / fatbike / run event this next Sunday, 2/8/15. Seems that last years ski event was canceled due to poor snow conditions so they decided to open the event up to bikes and runners this year too. The event is probably better characterized as a fun mass-start tour than as a serious competitive race but you are certainly free to ride as hard as you want.
If you are not around to register day before at the Willow community center carnival event table, Steve said it is fine to just show up before the start Sunday and get entered there instead, expect maybe a nominal $5-$10 entry fee judging from the other dogsled/ski/skijour events that I did as part of the winter carnival this past weekend.
The race/tour start is at 10:30am from the Nancy Lake State Park ski trailhead parking area (mile 2.2 at end of plowed portion of Nancy Lake Parkway Rd). Course for bikes and runners will go about 3-4 miles further down the unplowed, (groomed snow) road toward the south rolly lake campground. Skiers can take more secluded route trough state park groomed ski trails. Just before the campground, the course turns north going over North Rolly lake and then connect to the willow swamp loop and almond lake trail and finally east on Shirley lake trail before finishing at the Willow community center. Once you have finished warming up and refueling on carnival food, you can either work with other to shuttle back to the start, ride the direct route along highway bikepath (about 6 miles) to get back to start or else you could always turn around and repeat all of the trail backwards for a 50km day.
A bit of event info including a course map has been posted to the new West Gateway trails facebook page, also a good ongoing source of Willow area trail condition reports. https://www.facebook.com/pages/West-...8099?ref=br_tf
Bummer I didn't find this out sooner, thanks for the link and info GrayJay. I have liked that page now. To bad its also on the same weekend as so many other events. Thanks for the trail reports!
I know I kept checking the WACO website but it was all of last years info. I'll be down in Homer now.
Originally Posted by JordyB
Heads up - the 55th annual Willow winter carnival again has a 25km bike/ski/run event on their calendar for Sunday, Feb 7th 2016.
Willow Winter Carnival
Thanks for the heads up. The trails are riding nice up there. Better than the rivers of ice I've been riding on in Girdwood all week.
I was up in Willow for the first weekend of the WWC and I talked to Steve, the organizer of the low-key 25km bike/ski/run "tour" event scheduled for this next Sunday, Feb 7th 2016. Change for this year is that the event will start at eaglequest lodge instead of Nancy Lake as in prior years. Eaglequest is located just outside of Deshka landing, Eaglequest Cabins & Lodge Eaglequest Cabins and Lodge in Alaska
10:30am start time at eaglequest and you can register at the community center either before or after the event to get a finishers patch.
The Willow elementary PTA also has a breakfast buffet going (at the school, near community center) the same morning that is well worth attending to fill up with pre-ride pancakes, biscuits and gravy...
Facebook page for the willow trails committee is;
Good for trail condition info and they likely will have more info available on the Sunday tour event.
This past weekend, Willow area trails were in great shape for fatbikeing. Last snow in the area was 2 weeks ago and it had packed and gone through enough melt-freeze cycles to form into a solid fast trail while still fun on a fatbike. 4 weeks ago the Willow area lakes were sketchy slick without studs but now they all have a nice layer of thin snow solidly bonded down for good traction.
So, this Sunday if you want something more active than sitting on the couch watching super bowl but less demanding than racing the iditasport, try the willow winter carnival tour....
Originally Posted by GrayJay
A course map for the Willow Winter Carnival ride and a few more details about the event have been posted to the Willow Trails facebook site...
This up date is from the Willow Trail Committee groomer out at Winterpark Cabins on Honey Bee Lake.
Willow Trail Report
First full report of the season. Temp on Wed. night 10F Snow is at over a foot.
Light dry snow. Been packing and groom up a storm.
The Main trail out and Willow Swamp Loop along with Corral Hill trail got Groomed today.
Been breaking a lot of gear, J Hooks and steel on light weight drags.
A couple days to fix things and back on the trails!
Other trails have been drag packed.
Have a Merry Christmas!!!!
Come and Play in Willow!
Heads up, the 2017 Willow Winter Carnival 25km trail event is happening this Sunday, 2/5/17, the course looks to be a close copy of last years event (just with much more snow).
"Calling all skiers, bikers and runners! Get ready for the annual Sven Eriksson 25K Tour on Sunday, Feb 5th. As last year, the Sven starts at EagleQuest Lodge at 10:30am and finishes at the Willow Community Center where the wild Willow Winter Carnival is carrying on. You can register at the Willow Community Center or right at the start (at Eagle Quest). Shuttles can be provided if needed. Questions? 495-6368 (steve)"
Reports are that the Willow area trails are firm and well groomed, it should be a great ride. With clear sky moon-light, the nite-time riding should be excellent over the weekend too if anyone else is up for a recon of the swamp Saturday eve.
A neat aerial drone video of last weekends WWC outdoor events is up at;
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