Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cub Cadet and The Power Zone may donate a Utility Vehicle to the Conservancy!

Jim Higham, owner of The Powerzone (www.MowParts.com) in Christiansburg answered the call to help us maintain our extensive and growing trail system by loaning us an 18HP Cub Cadet Utility Vehicle. He is working to see that it will become a permanent part of our 'trail work fleet' here on the mountain joining our new 29'er and BOB Trailer recently donated by East Coasters Bike Shops. (www.EastCoasters.com).

Thanks to Jim Higham and Chris Betz, owners of these local businesses, for their outstanding support of our mission. Special thanks also to our volunteer, 'JR', for taking the time and expending the effort and fuel necessary to haul this machine up the mountain to us with his own personal truck.

Weather warms - but last week sure was fun!

This week the wx has warmed a bit - 44 degrees this AM. However we are looking for snow again this coming weekend.

Check out pix of the Phlegar, Greenough and Hash families enjoying a fun day in the snow near the stables.

So far we've recorded more than 15 ski-able days. Our trails are perfect for the back country enthusiast. Make your own tracks or follow someone else's, just get out and explore.
Progress is being made on our new website, hope to have it up and kicking by next week.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

XC Sking for 1st time

Jungle Tr

Saturday was spent putting the roof on our trail access kiosk near the stables and testing out XC-skiing for the first time. Jeremy and I crashed a couple times but finally got the hang of it. Conditions are good! Parking lot is ready but not recommended for 2-wheel drive cars yet. Gravel is on its way.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wanna ski? and event update

We have been receiving light snow all day on top of a very ski able base. Brad Buchanan, Shawn Hash and myself skied up to the Golf Course and down to the old clubhouse yesterday. Conditions are even better today - additional accumulation of about 2". More snow looks to be on the way.

Brewridge Music Festival

Momentum is building for our Brewridge Music Festival on April 25 & 26. We have booked two headliner Virginia bands of great musical stature and are working out the details with one more.
We are interested in bringing some local players up the mountain to jam in between sessions so if you'd like to be part of the atmosphere or know someone who would, please contact us by calling... 540.626.7121 x 444

Thursday, January 17, 2008

6" of snow - topped with light sleet

A few of us braved the white roads to venture up the mountain this AM. I spent most of the morning up near Bear Cliffs scoping the right lines through the rocks for the new Toejammer Trail.

Also managed to secure the 6 point buck's skull and antlers that were still waiting in the woods for me from back in December - see earlier post. We'll set him up on display in the Visitor's Center after he is dried out enough.

Looking forward to a fun XC ski trip to White Grass in Davis, WV tomorrow with the family. Looks like we'll have plenty of the white stuff for this trip.
Trails are covered with a nice 6" base. Come on up and play. If you park in our new lot near the stables - you'll want AWD - but if you made it up here - you probably have it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

SNOW? Moonstomper? East Coasters donates new 29'er!

3" of fresh snow fell last night and this morning on top of about an inch of Monday's powder - it has left just enough to ski on the trails. There is more in the forecast over the next 10 days so wax those skis and come on up!

Day-use Parking Opens...
Monday afternoon Emily and I managed to get our parking area kiosk planted in the nearly frozen ground with a little help from our friendly backhoe operator. He also opened up our new parking lot below the stables off of Rt. 613 for our Day-use visitors. So if you are coming out to XC ski, hike or mountain bike you can now find a nice place to leave your car off of the road without worries. We will be adding a new parking pass program in the near future as well as a donation post for the occasional day user. We'd like to add some gravel to this lot, so donations will go along way to improving the user's experience.

East Coasters donates new Gary Fisher 29'er to The Conservancy...
We are excited to announce that East Coasters Bike Shops has graciously donated a new 29'er to the Conservancy. We'll use this bike to pull our BOB Trailer loaded with chainsaw and tools for doing trail building and other projects. During the summer we'll make it available for rent from the Outfitter's Shack. We also added a size run of four new full-suspension Gary Fisher Race Days to our fleet. These smooth riding machines will add to your comfort as you zoom at ridiculous speed over our rockiest mountain bike trails.

'Moonstomper Trail' Opened...
We took the opportunity this morning to make another pass on Moonstomper Trail (runs along the south end of Salt Pond Ridge from Homestead Trail to Bear Cliffs Trail just before hitting the Connector). We logged 7 man hours and ended up with a clear tunnel through the Beech trees and brambles. The trail is intended for expert level mountain bikers looking for a challenge and hikers and bird watchers. Much left to be done including brushing out and some trail armoring in particular spots. This will be an ongoing project to be completed in time for the Dirty Dawg MTB Race in June 2008.

The next trail project will be 'Toejammer Trail'. Toejammer will also connect off of Bear Cliffs Trail and run the north end of Salt Pond Ridge, including a jaunt over to 'Spring Trail' near the Bear Cliffs before snaking down off the mountain and popping out at the beginning of 'Old Turnpike' near the stables.

The pics shown here are from Sunday afternoon's secret training ride incorporating a first view by the Moonstompers of their namesake trail. By all reports this new single track trail is a real hoot! Bring your 'A-game' though it is not for the beginner.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hemlock and lake level UPdate - MTB Program news

Tom McAvoy of the Virginia Tech Etymology Lab came by today to let us know he has been treating a new outbreak of the Wooly Adelgid among our Hemlock population. Most of the trees are responding well to treatment. Also, he has checked our lake levels and in spite of the abundance of precipitation we've received since the middle of December, the level is unchanged.

We are excited to announce that East Coasters Bike Shop has donated a new Gary Fisher Super Caliber (full-suspension) to the Conservancy. We are also adding four other high-end models to our rental fleet as part of a new and upgraded mountain bike rental program.

If you would like to rent a mountain bike during our 'off-season' it is easy to do. Just email or call us during the week and we will be happy to arrange a time and date. Guided rides are also available.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Moonstomper Trail UPdate

Winter weather has moved aside for a few days and the mercury is now up in the 50's. The snow has melted off the trails and we are taking full advantage.

Saturday, Mike Baldwin joined me for a day of work clearing the new 'Moonstomper Trail' along Salt Pond Mountain's ridge as it runs towards Bear Cliffs. This will be a nice single track for advanced level mountain bikers looking for a challenge and also birdwatchers.

We are almost finished constructing our info kiosk for the new day-use parking area and hope to have it up by the end of the week. Progress is also being made in opening up the new parking area near the stables of Rt. 613.

Our Thursday afternoon mountain bike trail rides will begin this Thursday evening at 4:45 if the weather allows. Email benbvt@hotmail.com if you are interested in joining in on the fun. If things are too wet - we will do light trail work on Moonstomper instead. You'll definitely get some hiking in!

Come on by The Mountain Lake Conservancy Visitor's Center and say "Hi" we are usually here M-F, from 9 - 5.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

WX UPdate and Moonstomper Trail Stomping for Saturday

Snow UPdate...
We ended up with about 4-6" of blown snow over the past 36 hours. It has stayed in the twenties up here today. Should be good XC skiing conditions here through Saturday. Very dry and light.

Moonstomper Trail Cut-in...
Come on out Saturday at 8:45AM if you'd like to help me hack through the underbrush as we begin clearing the trail as it serpentines over the ridge and by Bear Cliffs. It is about 2.5 miles, and will be sweet single track by this Spring. Park in the employee area where 613 and 700 merge. Then meet me at the Conservancy office at the end of the Gift Shop building next to the Activity Barn.

We'll head up the trail at 9AM - if you're late just follow the snow tracks up Chestnut Lodge Trail and head towards Lower Homestead (just past Bear Cliffs on your left). Bring a saw or a machete or some other implement you feel comfortable with.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


2008 is here and kicking things off with a wintry blast. About 3" of powder blew in last night and continues to fall this morning. XC skiers rejoice! Temps are in the teens with a windchill well below, so bundle up.

Check back here daily for the latest updates on ski conditions and other happenings above 4,000'.

Also, we are in the middle of changing our website domain to reflect our new name.
Please bookmark our new web address...