April 2024 Newsletter

Native Bloodroot blooming on Hill 5 at Blackhawk Ski Club

Signs of spring are emerging at the club, and we’re excited to see you on the trails! Please obey our posted speed limit of 10 MPH, so that our riders, hikers, animals, and visitors are safe on the trails and when crossing the roads.

Our Annual Meeting took place Monday, April 15. Highlights included program updates, reminders of how you can meet your member volunteer requirement, and the election of new board members. We also celebrated our volunteers of the year

Board Members 

We welcomed three new board members: Paul Kulas (1st full term), Brian Utschig (1st term), and Jeff Iverson (1st term). They join our returning board members to continue to run our club smoothly! 

Rick Hardy – President  

Kelsey Berg – Vice President (Membership Committee chair) 

Paul Kulas – Treasurer (Finance Committee chair) 

Andrea Dlugos – Secretary (Mountain Bike Committee liaison, Masterplan committee) 

Amy Grunewald-Mattison Programs Committee Chair, Past President 

Joe House – Facilities chair 

Ken Matusek – Retired Ski Patrol Director 

Tom Griesheimer – Legal  

Spencer Schumacher – Special Events Committee co-chair 

Ben Walker – Executive Committee at large, Nordic Committee liaison 

Todd Breiby-Alpine Lessons, Special Events Committee co-chair 

Mountain Biking Updates 

Please join us for our trail workday on April 27 from 9-1! We’ll meet at the East Chalet, and work if there’s a light rain. If there’s a downpour, we’ll re-schedule for another spring weekend. For updates, go to: https://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?action=trailconditions;display=6 

Speaking of trail work, we encourage members to support Capital Off Road Pathfinders (CORP), a local nonprofit that has built and maintains over 60 miles of local mountain bike trails. CORP has partnered with Blackhawk Ski Club for decades, and CORP president Ben Neff is a longstanding Blackhawk member and volunteer. Go to madcitydirt.com today to join CORP or donate!  

CORP also offers mountain bike skills clinics! Blackhawk will host a two-hour mountain bike fundamentals clinic for Blackhawk members on Wednesday, May 8th at the East Chalet. This clinic is for all ages and will be limited to 12 spots for individual attention. Register here for the Blackhawk clinic.  

More two-hour clinics, including jumping, cornering, technical riding, and skills specific to women, will be held throughout the area this summer. A list of all summer CORP clinics can be found here, and discounts are offered to CORP members. All clinic proceeds support CORP and trail development. 

Female-Identifying Rider “Try Out Mountain Biking” Clinic May 11 

There are numerous National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) mountain bike teams in the Madison and Middleton areas, most of which practice at Blackhawk. As those teams make it a priority to include more female-identifying athletes and students from diverse backgrounds, Blackhawk is honored to host the annual NICA Girls Riding Together (GRiT) “Try It Out” Clinic, held this year on May 11. Read the graphic below for more details and to register for this year’s event!

Get Ready for Weekly Thursday Evening Club Rides!  

Club Rides for members of all ages and abilities will take place Thursdays at 6pm from May 9 through August at the Eastside trailhead. Most people will ride for 1-2 hours and stay after riding to socialize and enjoy snacks and beverages. Rides will only happen when the trails are open. We will post the conditions at https://www.madcitydirt.com/index.php?action=trailconditions;display=6 

If you’re an experienced rider and know our trails, we’d love for you to come out and help lead a group of riders. If you have questions or want to help organize the Club Ride, email us at bike@blackhawkskiclub.org.  

2024 Blackhawk Good Neighbor Award Awarded to Dan and Natalie Erdman 

For more than 70 years, the Blackhawk Ski Club has had an excellent relationship with the Erdman family, who own the property to the east of the Club. Over 25 years ago, the Erdman family was given a lifetime membership to the Club, recognizing our relationship. As the Club built its cross-country ski program, we worked with Dan Erdman to develop the “Erdman Ski Trail” that connected Blackhawk Ski Club to Pleasant View. Later, as the Club’s mountain bike program developed, Club members were permitted to use this trail year-round through a recreational easement. 

At our 2024 Annual Meeting, we recognized Dan and Natalie Erdman with our 2024 Good Neighbor Award, in appreciation for their longstanding and generous support of our Club and its members. If you see Dan or Natalie skiing or hiking at Blackhawk or on the Erdman Ski Trail, please thank them for all that they have done to make the Club such a special place, for so many years.  

Gathering Places in Honor of Dirk Racine 

When longtime mountain bike member Dirk Racine passed away in December 2023, he bequeathed a very generous gift to the Blackhawk mountain biking program. Dirk loved to come to Blackhawk to ride and spend time with friends. In Dirk's memory, we plan to build and improve our “gathering places” for people to come together; share food, drink, and stories; and create lasting memories. Please contact us if you’d like to be involved.  

Upcoming Outdoor Exploration Events 

Registration is open on SkiClubPro for our 5/25 Outdoor First Aid / CPR / AED class, for any volunteers or any members (14+) who are interested. Choose the morning first aid session, the afternoon CPR/AED session, or both. We'll also host a kids’ first aid class during the morning session for kids who have a parent in the adult session. More details at: https://blackhawkskiclub.org/firstaid 

Land Restoration Update

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, a member of the poppy family, was spotted blooming in several places on Hill 5 in mid-April. Bloodroot is a white- flowering Spring ephemeral, so called because it frequently blooms in early spring, before the leaves shade its joyful patches. (It is not a true ephemeral because its leaves will persist into summer.) Bloodroot depends on small native bees and flies to transport its pollen. The juice from the broken root is blood red and toxic. 

This and other native plants,  including Virginia waterleaf (also spotted on Hill 5 and a bumblebee magnet when blooming) are being supported through Blackhawk’s land stewardship efforts, which began 3 years ago with tree and shrub plantings and have continued this year with a prescribed burn conducted by Adaptive Restoration. Casey, our club manager, and volunteers will be removing invasive plants during the growing season.

Don’t forget: The Otter Den is an excellent place to watch wildlife! It is the open air building perched on the edge of the pond. Park at the East chalet and walk down Hill 6. Bring a book and a snack and you just might see an otter, muskrat or beaver, along with some huge snapping turtles…Welcome, Spring!

Bike Patrol Rides Again, and a Recap of our Ski Patrol Season! 

Our highly successful Bike Patrol will don their jerseys again this season to keep the trails safe; thank a patroller when you see them! Our Ski Patrol had a banner year, with 5 new patrollers and 1,346 hours of patrolling during the winter. We have 33 primary patrollers and 8 secondary patrollers, and we are grateful to every single one of them! 

Awesome Stats from our Winter Programs 

  • 53 kids participated in the ski jumping program in 2023-24. 

  • 140 middle and high school Nordic skiers participated in one of this year’s races. 

  • Middle School Boys and Girls earned 5th place in the league; High School Boys and Girls were both 8th in the league.  

  • Nordic Kids exceeded its maximum capacity with 180 skiers. 

  • Tele Night saw 32 participants on 11 Wednesday nights, with apres ski events like the Tele Film Fest. 

  • 375 kids took Alpine ski and snowboard lessons, with 45 instructors. 

  • Blackhawk Alpine Race Team (BART) had 14 athletes qualify for the HS State Championships. 

  • Biathlon saw high participation. 

  • Finally, with 270 hours of snowmaking on ten nights, we owe our winter successes to Casey Bingham and our awesome snowmaking volunteers! THANK YOU! 

Important Dates 

4/27 Spring Trail Workday at Blackhawk (MTB/Hike) 

5/8 Blackhawk CORP skills clinic (MTB) 

5/9 First “Thursday Night Club Ride” of the season (MTB) 

5/11 NICA GRiT Try Mountain Biking clinic for female-identifying riders (MTB) 

5/24 Family Campout (Outdoor Exploration) 

5/25 Orienteering Challenge (Outdoor Exploration) 

5/25 First Aid (Outdoor Exploration)