Archive for the Category ◊ Cross Country Skiing ◊

Author: Mike
• Thursday, January 09th, 2014

This event has been cancelled due to poor conditions. There is no “snow” date. Try again next year!

DRYDEN NY - On Saturday, January 19, 2014, the Cayuga Nordic Ski Club will hold its annual 10k ski race at Hammond Hill State Forest. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has approved this race and course grooming under a Temporary Revocable Permit. The trails will not be officially closed, but non-racers are asked to preserve the set tracks, yield the trail to racers as they pass, and to follow instructions of course marshals. Cayuga Nordic Ski Club. Sunday, January 19th. Annual 10k Ski Race at Hammond Hill

A map of the race course is here (same as previous years).

Racing will begin at 10:30 AM and all racers are expected to be off the course by 1:00 PM.

The main race will be a 10k Empire State Games qualifier. The general public is invited to participate in a 5k citizens’ race and a 1k kids’ race.

Details and on-line registration are at

Day-of registration is from 8:30 to 10:00AM on January 19.

Thanks for your cooperation on the trails and we hope to see you there on January 19.

Cayuga Nordic Ski Club. Sunday, January 19th. Annual 10k Ski Race at Hammond Hill

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Author: Mike
• Monday, January 07th, 2013

We had a brief discussion about groomed ski trails on the CNSC list serve today. I am NOT a supporter of groomed trails on public lands. Here is my (modified) response to that discussion, briefly explaining why. (1st indent following).  Scroll down for info on ski race.

“I don’t think ski-season grooming of trails with motorized equipment is appropriate in a public forest like Hammond Hill, for a variety of reasons.  It is important to remember these are not “ski trails” but multi-use non-motorized recreational trails for all year round use in a beautiful natural area. Grooming a multi-use trail perpetuates a feeling of exclusionary “skiers only” access on a non-motorized multi-use trail system.

In a multi-use area like HH, skiers expecting nicely groomed trails could be upset by snowshoes, kids, dogs and beginner adult skiers. It also, often enough, requires widening the trails for grooming equipment access, which degrades the summertime single-track experience for cycling, hiking, running and so forth. Widening the trails also opens things up for potential unauthorized motorized access in the summer months. For these reasons alone, grooming is best kept on private lands, where the land owners can collect a fee to cover costs of fuel and maintenance and can legally limit access to the private groomed trails.

Other choices less traveled: There are literally hundreds of miles of seldom used NYS DEC and Federally sanctioned recreational trails in the Finger Lakes area covering a land area of 100,000 plus acres (Hammond Hill is only about 3500 acres) If folks want less traveled trails, they should explore other forests. There are many maps available for other forests on the internet. (Examples, , ) Go ski: go have fun. If you need groomed trails, go to a private resort and pay the deserved fee for that service.” -Mike L

Also … I need to give folks who are on this bikeski list but not on the other outdoor lists a heads up! The Cayuga Nordic Ski Club is hosting a race this weekend at Hammond Hill (Jan 12th Sat morning). This event happens once a year only if snow conditions permit. The racers have a one time special permit to groom tracks for this event. If you are not racing, please avoid the groomed tracks the night before and the morning of the race :-) Here is a map of the race course Read the full description below.

Oh, and here is part of the response on that same grooming thread from Jack Rueckheim, CNSC co-president and race coordinator. (I am passing on mostly the part of the letter relevant to grooming and the upcoming race).

“OK, I guess I’ll chime in here.  The whole discussion of grooming the trails on a regular basis is probably a moot point, since it would have to be done under a DEC permit.  CNSC obtains a permit each year to groom specific trails for its race.  The permit is good for only 1-2 days before the race and race day.  They are not likely to grant a permit for season-long grooming–because they [at Hammond Hill] are multi-use trails.

Sometimes its hard to accept the condition in which other types of users leave the trails, but we do have to tolerate the other users (with the exception of motorized vehicles).  But some of these other users, for example, the equestrians, put big money and work into trail work at HH so its hard to complain about horsehoof postholes.  That being said, it would be considerate to knock the exhaust off the trail.

All that being said, the CNSC WILL be using a snowmobile later this week to groom certain trails for Saturday’s race if all goes according to plan. This is through a DEC permit.  It’ll probably be done late Friday with the race going off on Saturday morning, so the presence of the snowmobile and the tracks will probably be short-lived.” -Jack R.

Cayuga Classic Ski Race Scheduled for Saturday, January 12, 2013 Here is part of the article from the CNSC website. Full article

On January 12, 2013, the Cayuga Nordic Ski Club will hold its annual 5 and 10k ski races at Hammond Hill State Forest. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has approved this race and course grooming under a Temporary Revocable Permit. The trails will not be officially closed, but non-racers are asked to preserve the set tracks, yield the trail to racers as they pass, and to follow instructions of course marshals. It would really be best for all if the public would use alternate trails at least until all racers have started and then to ski in the same direction as the racers.

Racing will begin at 10:30 AM and all racers are expected to have started by 11 AM and to be off the course by 12:30 PM. The general public is invited to participate in either the 10k Empire State Games Qualifier (open to all), the 5k citizens’ race, the 5k scholastic race, or the 1k kids’ race. Details and on-line registration are at  Day-of registration is from 8:30 to 10:00AM on January 12 at the ski hut. The entry fee for the 10k race will be $25 ($5 refunded if you are a NYSSRA member).  Entry fee for the 5k race will be $20, to cover costs and insurance.

Thanks for your cooperation on the trails and we hope to see you  there on January 12th

Club members (and others!) can volunteer to help or you will be press-ganged.  Your choice.  We need some marshals, car parkers, registration table staffers, and start/finish timers.  Contact Ernie Bayles ( or Jack Rueckheim ( for more information.

Happy New Year,
-Mike :-)

Michael Ludgate

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Author: Mike
• Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Reminder: Deer hunting season in our area with guns, also known as “regular season” starts Saturday November 17th 2012 and ends December 9th 2012. Deer hunting continues after that with primitive weapons (archery and black powder). See NYS DEC website link below for exact dates on that. Please; whether you hunt, bike, hike or play: wear fluorescent neon colors (like “hunter orange” or “biker neon yellow”) so we can all see each other. The hunters in our area have an excellent safety record … but (for example) it is just as scary for them to think they hear a deer tromping through the woods only to discover it is a naive hiker wearing brown. So; wear neon! Oh and YES! hunting is permitted at Hammond Hill and Shindagin Hollow and generally all similar NYS forests. Deer hunting is not allowed after sunset. Regulations are stricter in areas designated “parks” like Treman or Buttermilk for example. Here is DEC’s web page with hunting dates:

There is a special deer hunting season closer to Ithaca in January 2013. A lot of people are asking about it. Here is the link again. There is a very detailed map and full details at this link.

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Author: Brenda
• Friday, January 21st, 2011

The Ludgates host weekly “Thursday Nights in January” outings for the Cayuga Nordic Ski club at their residence on Canaan Rd. in Dryden.  January got off to a rough start, after a late December/early January thaw left us with no snow to ski upon and led to a canceled first outing.  Mother Nature managed to pull through, though, and the next two outings went off without a hitch.  A small dose of freezing drizzle this past Tuesday compacted the inches upon inches of lake effect snow that have been dumping on the area during the past couple weeks into a nice firm base, and another couple of inches of the fluffy lake effect on top of that led to perfect skiing conditions last night.

17 skiers (plus the Ludgates=19) and 4 dogs ventured out into the cold temps.  Climbing the Sauna hill was a bit easier with the drier, grippier layer of snow resting on top of the base.  (For those of you still having issues with your glide and/or grip, check out Mike’s previous blog entry on “How to Wax your No Wax Skis” for some tips on how to address this.)  Once we reached the Snowmobile trail, we broke into two groups.  The speedier group took on the FLT and headed up to the radio tower.  Having skied the radio tower loop a number of times already this season, and wanting a bit of a slower pace, I decided to go on sweep for the other group, which had decided to take the Lady Slipper trail (R2) to Y5 to Y7.  I love Y7 on a perfect snow night, so there was no way I could pass it up.  For those of you not familiar with Y7, it parallels Canaan Rd., and is an undulating descent, with a good dose of sharp corners and trail hugging trees to keep things interesting…   really interesting when the snow is a little on the icier, faster side.  But conditions were more toward the fluff-side last night, so control was present and strong for everyone.

Back at the shop, we met up with the radio tower group.  Treats, in the form of oranges and chocolate chip cookies, were abundant and passed around to hungry skiers.   Hope to see most of you next week!

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Author: Mike
• Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

WAXING YOUR “NO-WAX” SKIS — There are a couple situations where this is appropriate. One is general maintenance: coat the bottom of the skis with a thin layer of liquid glide wax available at most local ski shops. Do it when the skis are warm and polish it with a waxing cork. This gives you a nice smooth glide and helps prevent water from sticking and icing up.

The other reason to wax is a bit more complex: it is to add more kick to your “no-wax” kicker or scales.

A little basic background may be helpful. The way cross country skis propel you forward is when a section of the ski under your boot grabs the snow as your full weight is applied to that one ski. The camber (curve up in the center) of the ski allows you to glide when your weight is evenly distributed. This ‘kicker’ area under your foot traditionally was created by using a soft wax that would grab the snow when pressed down. A harder/slippery wax went on the glide part of the ski (tip and tail).

With modern “no wax” skis made of hi-tech plastics, the manufacturers make a little ‘one-way-valve’ scale pattern in the kicker area which takes the place of gooey kicker wax. Like anything else, the convenience can be a trade off for performance. In a group such as “BikeSki” we are skiing recreationally - i.e. our main function is not racing, but rather to have a good time and get some exercise. Hi speed performance is not usually our goal. Because of the variety of terrain, the no-wax skis in a wider ‘back-country’ type ski are great for our type of outing.

The manufacturer tries to guess the ideal length of this kicker area for the size of the ski — incidentally, there are way less choices of length available now, which means each choice of ski must cover a broader weight range. Sooo … what I see most often these days is folks having a really hard time getting up the hills because their ‘no-wax’ scales just don’t seem to grab. Our solution to these problem is to extend the kicker range of the scale by adding a little soft kicker wax before and after the scale area … maybe 4-12″ at each end … depending on wax softness, snow and body weight. Be sure not to cover the scales.

Want help? Come a little early and see me next outing! -Mike

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Author: Mike
• Wednesday, January 06th, 2010

We have have had excellent to perfect conditions for the last couple outings. Check out the photos to get a feel! Great snow, great people. One of the problems that has popped up nearly every time and usually at the beginning of an outing is with bindings. Typically someone who has been skiing but keeps their gear in the car and has the modern style binding that grabs the little bar on the tip of their boot (NNN, SNS, NNN-BC and etc …). These bindings are manufactured to pretty tight tolerances and have plastic on plastic and plastic on metal moving parts. When you ski, water and snow and ice get inside the binding and will seize it up, especially if it is cold out. So: they require just a tiny bit of maintenance: here is what I suggest. Take them indoors between ski outings if you can (at least do it now). After they dry out, spray a little bit of WD-40 inside the binding, where the bar catches and you can lift the rubber coveriung and squirt a bit under there too … then work the lubricant in by pressing the release button a few times. See the parts that move, that’s what need the lube. The WD-40 will mostly evaporate, but it will leave a thin film of lube between the high tolerance sliding parts, displacing the water and keeping incoming water (eventually ice) out … That’s it!

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Author: Mike
• Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Conditions HH — We skied Sunday in the rain! It was OK. Tuesday night, 5 of us hiked while it was snowing. The base is still there (about 1-3″) and we got another 2-3″ last night … so it is skiable just barely right now. Some places the base is worse, like the snowmobile trails and the fireroads. But the woodsy less traveled trails are nicer. We may try skiing Thursday night! I’ll post another note tomorrow morning. Photos here. I forgot to take one this morning (wed), but you can see the base from Monday’s pic - we did not loose too much of that base before the powder hit. Most recent photo is always at the end of this album:

BikeSki on FACEBOOK!!

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Author: Guest
• Friday, March 20th, 2009

It’s late January and the collective we are getting ready for the next snow storm.  Six to nine inches of fresh fluff is on its way.  It is at once peaceful and quiet, falling softly from the sky laying blankets of white everywhere, and noisy with its accompanying school closing announcements, event cancellations and the various plowing machines it sets in motion.  For some it is a time to run in and hibernate.  But for the snow bunny genus, it brings a gleam to our eyes signaling it’s finally playtime! One way to enjoy this weather is to get out and cross country ski.  Believed to be developed in Sweden, which boasts ownership of a 4500 year old fossilized ski,  cross country skiing was once a form of transportation.  It is more of a recreation sport now and if you are an Ithaca snow bunny, you are blessed with a wide variety of habitats and many playmates.  A great place to connect with other bunnies is through the Cayuga Nordic Ski Group.

Per the group treasurer, Joan Jedele, “The ski club was founded in the mid 80’s and one of the founding members is Tob deBoer. He was the president of the club until 2003 and still is an active member in the club.” From the by-laws, the club promotes “Nordic ski events suitable for skiers of all abilities. These may include tours, races, ski technique clinics, racing clinics, waxing clinics etc.”  Having been a member for two months now, I can attest to the wonderful community the group is and the fun to be had.  Group outings happen as regularly as the weather allows, which this year has been pretty much since Thanksgiving.

Community members host weekly night skis, such as that out at Hammond Hill led by Mike and Raylene Ludgate, of Ludgate Farms.  Breaking trail with the local store owners comes with the added benefit of enjoying gourmet chocolates at frozen forest intersections.  The CNSG also has a presence at area races and organizes trips for those interested in going further north for winter fun.  In February there is a fun trip to BREIA, the Black River Environmental Improvement Area up in the Tugg Hill plateau region, for two days of groomed trails and camaraderie.

At a recent group ski out at Yellow Barn State Forest in Dryden approximately a dozen of us, ranging in age from 3 to 77 skied a 4 mile loop of gorgeous (Ithaca is!) terrain.  The group divided into fast and medium skiers with the former racing circles around the latter as we made our way out and back.  With check-ins at every intersection and a designated sweep to bring up the caboose, no one was left out for slowness or lack of ability.

So, what do you do upon finishing a good ski? Aprés-ski, but of course! Similar to the 9th hole celebration at a golf game, aprés-ski offers a chance to unwind, enjoy some heart and body warming treats and get to know your fellow bunnies.  An essential part of all events, group members contribute goodies such as trail mix, hot cocoa and oranges.  When there is nowhere to drive après après-ski, glögg, or mulled wine, makes a fine drink with a salute back to the Swedes.

Other bennies for the ski group bunnies includes discounts at businesses throughout the area such as Cayuga Ski and Cyclery, Podunk Ski Shop and Eastern Mountain Sports.

For more information go to:
See you on the trails!


1 bottle of red wine
½ a liter of brandy or vodka
2 cinnamon sticks
10 cloves
2-3 dried figs (optional)
Sugar to taste
Sliced Almonds

Throw the first 5 ingredients in a non-reactive soup kettle and place on the woodstove.  Bring to a simmer, but do not boil. Place a trivet under the pot and allow to cook slowly for about an hour.  Taste the glögg and sweeten to your liking.  When ready to serve, place a teaspoon or two of the raisins and almonds in the bottom of a teacup.  Ladle glögg over and serve with a spoon for scooping.

Adventures of an Upstate NY Snow Bunny
Joey Diana Gates
POB 441, Ithaca, NY 14851 (607) 351-0664

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Author: Marilyn
• Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Despite the vast patches of brown, mushy grass in town with occasional remants of snow plow piles of white, there is still full coverage at Hammond Hill.   While Brenda reported that conditions were near perfect on Tuesday, I can’t say the same for tonight.  You could still get a good ski on soft snow in the woods, but the open trails were setting up after being in the sun all day.   Brenda, Pam, Steve, Mike, Raylene, Cindy, Marilyn and 3 dogs skied up the sauna trail, down R1. When we hit Red Man run, Marilyn was havin sock malfunctions and turned back with Mike for a fast ski down Red man. The rest of the group took y5 to y7 and got in about 15 minutes after we did.  They said it was good in the woods except for one bare patch at the bottom of y7.  Pam has been coaching through some more interesting photo poses. Notice that we spelled out M-I-K-E with the skis. With temps forecast upwards of 50 on Friday but around freezing on the weekend, conditions may suffer.

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Author: Brenda
• Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Nadia, Marilyn, Pam, PJ, Joan, John, Mike and I headed out for a cold, yet fun ski last night.  Conditions were absolutely perfect; it was one of the best nights of skiing yet this season due to a 2-4+” layer of fluffly powder that fell onto the hard-packed base the last couple nights.  On nights like last night, I am always reminded of a paint-by-number painting my sister did when we were little girls, of Bambi in the snowy forest, because the snow was overlayed with a layer of glitter-stuff in the painting, and that is exactly how the snow looked, all glittery and sparkley.

We headed up sauna trail to do the lollipop route, which I haven’t done in quite some time.  We broke trail until we reached the snowmobile trail, then broke more trail going up old FLT, and then headed back via R2, which had already been broken in by other skiers.  The snow was perfect.  We didn’t stick, but there wasn’t much sliding, either, going up the hills.  Skiing felt somewhat effortless, as many stretches just required a double-poled push and you were off!  Yet, going down steep hills was highly-controllable because of the perfect amount of fluffy snow to catch the ends of your skies on.  Due to this, we came back to Mike’s via the Sauna trail, which we haven’t done in quite some time.  It was difficult to quit skiing, but unfortunately most of us have to work the next day and can’t afford to spend all night out skiing.  Bummer.  I don’t know that conditions will be quite this fantastic for quite some time with the current weather prediction for Friday.  Get out there while you can!!!

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Author: Mike
• Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

Still lots of snow at our place which adjoins Hammond Hill State Forest, although I grow weary of trying to convince folks!! We have a 1-2 foot base with 2-9 inches of powder. Less powder on the trails of course, but plenty of base. Another 2-4 inches of fresh fluffy stuff Monday am. MORE Tues am!! This is nuts!

From Snow Pics for Canaan Institute Outdoor BLOG - BikeSki Group

Sunday, Five of us (Steve, Raylene, Tammi, Brenda and myself) skied a long loop up sauna across porcupine ridge, up FLT to to Radio Tower where we saw Stu, down Dan Karig … across on Y4 then over to mogle (water bar) trail, to blue and home on snowmobile. We also saw Eric and Gillian and their new baby! I was experimenting with taking a video as I was skiing. Steve and Tammi were in front of me, coming down snowmobile to Canaan …

From BikeSki Outings
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Author: Mike
• Friday, February 20th, 2009

We were thinking what a great winter it has been. Many, many outings, sometimes in sub zero weather with no gear failures, not even a headlamp! Well last night, Murphy noticed us and attempted to make up for it …

Six of us gathered at the workshop, got our gear together, adjusted our headlamps and layers then started to head out. We had Tammi, Pam, Anne, Dan, myself and David who was a few minutes late. David was excited to test his new back country, light weight tele gear …

We crossed the long skinny 10-feet-up-in-the-air snow covered bridge (you can see it it the snow pics). And started a meandering route up the hill across the private land (our ‘back forty’) … David stopped to adjust his new bindings … I waited … he said “no worries, I’ll catch up” …

At the top of the ‘back forty’ hill near the sauna we paused for a bit. Anne took this as opportunity to help Tammi with her skis. The temperature had dropped considerably and her wax wasn’t right. Anne applied some softer kicker, so Tammi could make it up the big hill with out total exhaustion. David finally showed up as we were wondering where he might be. He was wearing different skis! His new gear had failed him … well the bindings were not adjusted right … rather than trying to do that in the 18 degree cold and dark, he put on his other pair of skis.

We all started up the big hill … David was fussing with his 2nd pair of skis as we headed up. Same conversation occured “I’ll catch up” I gave it no further thought - he always does.

At the top of the big hill we paused where we usually do before the long flat haul along porcupine ridge. I counted the headlamps … hmm one missing. David again. OK, let’s wait (we always do, it is sort of our group motto) … we waited and waited … no headlamp .. we waited … we grew impatient (well I did) … We decided to ski back a little an holler … no answer. I dug out my cell phone and called him: just voicemail. We talked about it some more and decided we would all ski back and find him … hopefully not lying in the woods with a busted leg!

We found him at the top of the back forty between the igloo and the sauna, walking. His 2nd set of skis had failed, he was walking home. He had tried to call me but could not get a signal and then lost his cell phone in the snow. [ that reminds me; we should carry more of those walkie talkies I have for BikeSki)! ] … David was ready to give up skiing … not just for the night “for good” … but we convinced him to walk back to the workshop where I found him a pair of skis that fit his boots.

No one wanted to climb ’sauna hill’ twice … so we went up Canaan Road and climbed Y7 and came back down the same way just for the fun of it. The skiing was excellent!

So now we have had all our gear failures for the ski season in one night all on one guy … better luck next outing David, if you are still skiing?? -m

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