Our November newsletter is always FULL of information, and this year it is bursting. At the end of all the info, we are including a Program Highlight -- this month it is our Ski Jumping program, which has been hard at work this summer (and last summer) creating new jumps for beginning and intermediate jumpers! Be sure to check it out below and the next time you are out at the club!
As we all reassess what we can do to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, being outdoors remains to be one of the best ways to exercise and release the stress that coincides with living during a pandemic. However, Dane County’s Emergency Safety order #10 has new restrictions that we need to consider. Please check the Blackhawk website and your email for updates to our programming and open skiing and biking. Some of the measures we are developing include:
On-line sign-ups for open skiing
On-line self-assessment health form for all Blackhawk users
Staggered drop off times for team practices
Groupings of 10 or fewer for winter sports teams and lessons.
Recruiting Volunteer Safety Assistants to help with tow lines and crowding at top of hill
What remains the same are the top 5. We need all members to adhere to these at all times:
Stay home if sick
Wear a mask
Don't gather in groups
Don't be closer than 6 feet to anyone outside your family
In the meantime, we are working hard to make Blackhawk a place you can enjoy this winter. Before the cold sets in and the snow starts to fly, we wanted to give you an update on what’s happening around the club and highlight some things for the winter season.
Quick Reminder: Last day to order from Mt Borah is Monday, November 23! https://bhsclub.itemorder.com/
Are you wondering what’s happening around the club or where things are? You can find open alpine ski & snowboard hours and a map of the property here. New members, we encourage you to get familiar with the property before the snow flies. All youth lesson times and team practices are on our calendar. You can also find maps for nordic skiing, winter biking and check trail conditions before heading out.
Open alpine skiing & snowboarding hours are Monday and Wednesday evenings from 3pm-6pm, Friday evenings from 3pm-8pm and Saturday & Sunday from 12:30pm-6pm. Did you know we have a telemark night? It’s every Wednesday starting in January. You can read more about it here. We will notify members when our on-line sign up for open skiing on the website becomes available.
Nordic skiing is available at all times however this season with the ongoing pandemic and increase in demand for outdoor sports, we ask that you check the calendar and plan come out at times when our programs do not have lessons or team practices if possible. This gives our youth space during lessons and practices. The nordic ski teams practice Monday through Thursday evenings from 5pm-7pm. Nordic kids practices are Wednesdays from 4:30pm-5:30pmand Sundays from 2pm-3pm.
Winter Fat Biking:
Check out our winter fat bike info page for FAQ’s and a map of our winter fat bike trails. And just to remind everyone about biking in the fall, be aware of the freeze thaw cycle to stay safe and to keep our trails in good shape.
Q: What does “freeze-thaw cycle” mean?
A: The weather in November causes a “freeze-thaw” situation, where the trails freeze at night, but thaw during the day, as the temperature goes above freezing. This leads to muddy trails are dangerous to ride, and easy to damage. For more information, check out: http://www.combomtb.com/blog/2014/12/5/freezethaw-cycles-explained
As a reminder, we are a member-only club and do not offer day passes. Everyone who uses the facility must be a member of the club. There are no exceptions. Have other questions about the club? Check out our FAQ’s.
Volunteers: We need YOU!
Want to lend a hand? How about help with snow making? Please contact us if you are interested. Blackhawk would not be the club it is today without our many volunteers, we appreciate you!
As part of reducing gathering, we are looking for a few volunteer safety assistants to help skiers stay 6 feet apart when waiting for the tow and to avoid crowding during open ski hours. Slots will be available on the open ski sign up, but if you are interested please email me here.
Program Start Dates:
Many of our programs kick off their winter seasons soon. If you are signed up for lessons or teams, you will receive emails from program leaders with specific information about your season. Here’s a snapshot of when programs begin:
Alpine ski & snowboard lessons: Saturday, December 5th, 2020 (this date may change based on COVID precautions and snow conditions)
Nordic kids: Sunday, January 3rd, 2021
Intro to ski jumping: Tuesday, January 5th, 2021
Nordic Ski Connections:
Are you a nordic skier who is new to Blackhawk? We want to connect! Contact Amy Grunewald at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in connecting with other nordic skiers on topics related to training/waxing/etc, gear for sale (or needed), and volunteering with our kids program.
West Chalet Parking Lot:
The West Chalet parking lot got a major lift (quite literally) this summer. It went from a two-level parking lot to a large one-level lot. There will be signs to direct one-way traffic in order to maximize parking space. Additional signs will mark a loading zone near the West Chalet, and nordic ski trail entrance at the west end of lot. Thank you in advance for following the signs. Thank you, Kurt and crew for your hard work making this happen.
We are all in this together, please take a minute to review our Covid Policies for the season. Safety is our number one priority, we ask that you wear a mask and maintain proper social distance. Youth programs will be handing out buff style masks to all participants. Additional masks will be available for purchase once the season begins.
Our chalets remain closed, portable toilets are available near the East and West Chalet and Biathalon Haus. Plan to bring your own hand sanitizer and, if at all possible, keep the door propped while using the facility.
Trash cans will not be available. Please take all trash home.
If you aren't feeling well or are quarantined, stay home.
Finally, thank you for your patience and flexibility. Keep an eye on your email where program directors will reach out to families to communicate any necessary changes regarding COVID safety.
Here’s to a snowy season!
Blackhawk Board of Directors
Highlight: Ski Jump Construction, by Christine Gessner
Two years ago it came to our attention that the plastic on our small ski jumps needed to be replaced. The original plastic was installed in 1964 and after 50 plus years of use, it was time to make some improvements.
This project has taken us two summers to complete. In March of 2019 we began by removing over 25 trees to help create a wider landing hill. This will both improve the safety of the facility and allow grooming equipment to access our hills. In the past we were not able to use grooming equipment so all the hills had to be groomed by parents and kids side stepping the hills before and after each practice to maintain the landing hills.
In June of 2019 we began the process of removing all the old plastic from the landing hills. Next, by attaching conveyor belts to the 30-meter landing hill, we were able to staple new plastic mats onto our landing hill.
In April of 2020 we began work on our two smallest hills. We spent a great deal of time excavating our landing hills and getting them ready for the plastic. On Thursday, November 5th the last mat was stapled onto the landing hill.
This week the new steel tower for our 18-meter jump is going to be delivered and welded into place. From there we will implement a new track system. This system (TexSnow), made by the Austrian company Alpina, needs only a small amount of water or snow to make it ready for jumping. It is FIS approved, and we will be the first club in the United States to use this technology. It will reduce the work hours needed to prep the jump because we won't have to cut man made tracks. Another benefit is that kids will also be able to use alpine or jumping equipment on it year round.
We are also in the process of constructing a new 8-meter jump that will share the same landing hill as the new 18-meter jump.
We are very excited about the new improvements to our 30-, 18- and 8-meter jumps. Thanks to the many volunteers who have worked tirelessly for the past two years to see this project through to the end. We are hoping these major improvements will help grow the sport of jumping at Blackhawk.