Best January in years at Onion Lake cross country ski trails

The club is hosting a sanctioned race at the end of the month

A clear contrast from the last two years, the skiing at Onion Lake has been “fantastic” this January, says Snow Valley Nordics president Dan McElheron.

“We’re in really good shape right now, the snow is the best we’ve had for the last three Januaries,” he said last week. “The two previous years we basically ended up having pretty rough Januaries, and then the three previous years we were buried in snow, tons of snow.”

But a solid dump of snow two weeks ago means the club was able to get the trails groomed up and ready for a busy couple of weekends.

“Skiing’s been excellent, a little bit of rain doesn’t hurt either,” he said. “We can certainly tolerate a little bit of rain right now, we’ve got enough snow up there and that actually makes the skiing good because it’s not icy.”

“We had big crowds out Saturday morning,” he said, noting that Saturday mornings are when the club holds lessons, for both kids and adults, and the rental shack and cafe is open. The hut is also open Sunday afternoon. “When I left on Sunday, almost 4:30 there was still 25 cars in the parking lot. Lots of new people too, first time at the club.”

First-time skiers are invited to visit the club members at the rental hut for advice or help signing up for lessons. “Come up and see us on the weekend when the rental ski is open,” he said. “I’d recommend our doggy trail because there are basically no hills.”

Night skiing is popular, with lights along the trails. McElheron said the club is considering a series of night lessons, as well.

“We’ve done that in the past, it just depends on the demand,” he said.

The club’s open house – tentatively scheduled for mid-February – is another good time to check out the trails. And the club is hosting its Northern Tech #2 race – a sanctioned race for the northern clubs, on Jan. 31, anticipating about 70-80 racers.