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Word From The Wax Bench...

Gateway Trail Fun Day Rides Again

This Saturday, CAMBA and the Hayward Area Memorial Hospital invite you and your family to the Gateway Trail Fun Day. From Noon to 3, come explore this new beginner trail system located on the Hospital property. This event will offer a variety of fun activities including a mini mountain bike expo, bike demos, and  plenty of fun and games along the way. All ages and abilities are welcome!

According to CAMBA executive director Ron Bergin, “A gateway trail is an entry-level trail that is suitable for beginning mountain bikers or those uncomfortable with narrower, more technical trails.”  Construction on the Hayward Hospital Trail began during the summer of 2017. “The ultimate plan for the trail is to build up to six miles of trail,” says Bergin.

“Of course one of our goals is to provide a trail for younger riders to have fun and a positive exposure to mountain biking, but a trail of this nature is perfect for riders of all ages, including those in the more senior age ranges,” says Bergin. The trail is wider than most singletrack trails, has no rocks, roots, or other obstacles; and has a fun rolling flow without any significant hills.  “This is not to imply that the trail is a simple, flat straight trail,” Bergin clarifies.  In fact, the trail has many sweeping turns and a great fun flow.  Experienced riders truly enjoy the trail as well.

If you’re worried about having the right type of bike or nervous about trying the trail alone, don’t give it a second thought! New Moon will be on-site offering FREE bikes to borrow for the event, and volunteers will be offering guided rides for those who want to check out the trails with a more experienced rider.

This is the second year that Hayward Area Memorial Hospital & Water’s Edge are partnering with CAMBA to host the Gateway Trail Fun Day. HAMH had several goals in mind when they decided to co-host again this year. Hayward Area Memorial Hospital’s Marketing/Communications Director Cherie Morgan explains, “Our primary goal for the day is to expose as many people to the Hospital Trails as possible and to raise awareness of what a great trail system we have to offer. We wanted to offer people the opportunity to try the trails or bikes, that may not own equipment or be comfortable doing so on their own. With the support of local bike shops and CAMBA trail guides, we are able to offer that opportunity at this event. We also hope to promote the great work CAMBA has done to expand our trails to include mountain and fat biking.”

“HAMH wants people to see Hayward Area Memorial Hospital and Water’s Edge as a partner for their overall health and wellbeing. We are here for the community if they need great medical or senior care, and we are also working to become a community leader in health and wellness. By partnering with Hayward Area Ski Trails Association (HASTA) and the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) we are able to offer a trail system for people of all ages and abilities. The Hospital Trails offer trail running, hiking, mountain biking and fat biking. In the winter outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy classic skiing, fat biking and snowshoeing. In addition to our trail system we sponsor a number of events in the community that support healthy and active lifestyles,” Morgan says.

No matter what your level of biking expertise, please come check out the Gateway trail this Saturday-Grab a snack and kick off the mountain bike season by supporting and celebrating the new trail!

—Photos supplied by CAMBA and Chris Young





A Farewell to the Birkie Trail, Spring, 2019

Photo: Steve Morales

Saturday, March 23: If you don’t hit the snow early this time of year, you may as well forget it. It’s maple tree-tapping time with overnight lows in the teens and daytime highs in the 50’s. After some French toast, I strike out at 9 am on our local Brook trails, which also serve as the lead-in to the Prince Haakon race. It is brick hard underneath with a half inch of powder revealing some snowshoe tracks probably made this morning.

After a kilometer, I come to my objective: the Birkie Trail. Turning right would take me up the 39K hill toward B Hill (The official Birkie designation these days), and I don’t want to do that so I go north and cross Mosquito Brook Rd. Here the grooming has been more recent, and while nothing like mid-season conditions, the trail has features that skater’s love: a near frictionless highway of crusty snow that makes downhills an adventure but uphills easier. Note, I didn’t say easy! I see what appear to be shorebird talon imprints on a sandy beach … no, they’re long brown pine needles lying everywhere.

Photo: Steve Morales

Normally when my skis make noise in the snow, it’s because it’s zero degrees Fahrenheit and the sound is the snow squeaking and impeding my glide. But today there’s no squeak – rather it’s a crunch from the ice crystals that facilitate glide and yet allow each ski to gain purchase for a solid push-off on each skate. On smaller hills I can V2 up as the elites do. It’s empowering to imagine I might look like them even for a moment in these friendly conditions.

I head up a steep hill that is cut in half by a snowmobile trail and I’m pleased that I still have the energy at the top to jump in the track to rest on the gentle decline that follows. One could classic in the still decent tracks on either side of the trail but why would you waste an epic skate day striding? This is the third bluebird day in a row and the shadows of the surrounding trees are etched into the brilliant white skate deck.

That deck is punctured in places by wind-blown small white pine boughs, pine cones, and oak leaves that absorb the sun’s heat and sink an inch or so into the snow surface. They are spread out and not so numerous as to impede my skating in any way. I greet a skier heading south and almost take a tumble due to inattention to my task. I see another skier up ahead… no, it’s the shadow of two trees in just the right shape to mimic two legs.


I have on a light ski jacket and a baseball cap which seemed a bit chilly when I began but now feel perfectly comfortable. The kilometer markers have been a frustration to me because a couple of years ago the Birkie Foundation reversed the numbers to count down instead of up. That makes sense but to one who has identified each area by a given number, I now have to subtract the number on the sign from 52 to remember where I am. The old marker for the 39K hill (in addition to the new 13 K marker) was left in place for the party folks who offer shots to skiers who wish to partake… but that’s another story.

I stop at the 20K marker (32 in the old system) which is at the top of the hill that descends to gravel pit road and the feed station there. I look down and remember the many times I cursed it’s steepness during the race. It’s a good place for me to head back. I ski this section of trail numerous times each year in the eight winters we’ve lived here. Going south there are certainly several challenging uphills but overall the trail is fairly benign in this section and one can make pretty good time.

A tiny, skinny vole darts across the trail in front of me. I pass a young couple heading back north that I had previously seen going south. We talk briefly, and I tell them I am inspired to write about this perfect day we are experiencing. I think to myself of how lucky they are to have many years ahead of them to enjoy this world-class trail. When I was their age, I was an average Alpine skier and had never heard of Nordic skis.

Coming to the top of the hill cut by the snowmobile trail I hesitate to listen for the whir of engines that could ruin my day if we happened to meet on my way down. Hearing nothing, I scrape my way down in a chicken snowplow, my skis desperately digging in to slow my descent and I ski on toward home.

It’s sad to say goodbye to this familiar section of trail but I’m consoled, knowing that off-season in the Northwoods is a pleasure all its own, and I know next winter will bring back these wonderful times once more.   -Scott Smith

Scott Smith moved to Hayward in 2011, and has become a core part of the silent sports community here in the northwoods. Scott is also a soccer referee, crossfitter, serial volunteer, avid gardener, traveler, and craftsman. As a PSIA certified ski instructor, Scott particularly loves to teach nordic skiing to others. Send him an email at trinord2943@gmail.com if you are interested. All abilities are welcome!



Spring Skiing and Fat Biking Continues!

When the weather is constantly changing and in-between winter and spring, you don’t have to give up your daily ski or bike. In fact, if you are able to plan ahead, you might just have some of the best skiing and biking of the year!

This past weekend, was one of perfect spring skiing. Ian held a wax clinic at OO and he said this about the trail, “It was ideal spring skiing with a firm and fast deck, but not so icy that you couldn’t get an edge.” Joel also was out on the Birkie Trail and he commented that from “Hatchery to Mosquito Brook….was just super skiing!” As for the bike trails, they currently range from excellent to fair, with the fair spots being choppy, mainly from deer traffic. CAMBA-Fat posted this video that talks about the conditions in Seeley.

If the bike trail looks like this behind you, it’s time to get out of the woods and grab a latte!

Temps will be warming up in the next few days, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the trails are done for. “Based on the forecast, we will have good morning skiing and biking through late this week,” Chris says. “Friday and Saturday will be warm with overnight lows only just under freezing. What that means for skiers and bikers is to plan on getting onto the trails by 7am or 8am at the latest, getting your ski or bike in, and then prepare to be out of the woods by 9am.” Getting off of the trails before they get too mushy enables to the trails to stay in their best possible condition as long as possible. “When the trail refreezes it will be in good condition for the next outing,” Chris explains, “If you leave significant ruts with your skis or tires, that makes it incredibly difficult for users the next day. And, in extreme cases if you’re breaking through the snow into the dirt, you can even do damage to the trail bed.”  Let’s all try to be good stewards of the trails and leave them in the best possible condition for as long as possible.

You can keep up-to-date on trail conditions, grooming, and trail closures HERE for fat biking and HERE for the Birkie trail, or, feel free to give us a call at the shop. 715-634-8685. Somebody here is bound to have been out and about recently.

And, don’t fret! Even though mud season is coming up, New Moon has some fun events planned to keep you busy until the trails dry out. Check out our facebook events page-we’ll be posting soon!

Spring Skiing & Fat Biking?? Well, Yeahhh!

Friday, March 15, 2019:

We are keeping our fingers crossed here at New Moon for our favorite skiing and biking on the year. We seem to have weathered the big thaw, (no pun intended) with a lot of snow pack intact! Now we wait for temps to slowly creep back below freezing. As of this morning, brisk winds have locked in out of the NW are we even received a skiff of new snow overnight. Click below for the live video feed from the Birkie Start.

The weather forecast bodes well for weekend skiing and fat biking and continued good trails into next week. Regular freeze/thaw cycles are expected for the area. That will set up ideal trail conditions for both skiers and fat bikers:

Of vital importance, though, is that trail users – skiers, bikers, and snowshoers – watch the forecast and temps and get out EARLY on the warm days. Skis and bikes will leave irreparable damage if one goes out on soft snow late in the day. Stay off the soft trails!

NO NO NO! This bike and walker damage is nearly impossible for groomers to fix. Wait for the trail to freeze before you go!

Don’t miss out on the best trails for the winter season. Feel free to call New Moon or stop in the shop for the latest on our trail conditions. Users can also look at Birkie’s current trail updates for the scoop from the Birkie Grooming Crew. Birkie makes regular trail updates. Check this page often:

For fat bike conditions, CAMBA posts recent groomer reports as well:


Trail to the Birkie Wrap Up

Hopefully you’ve been watching Trail to the Birkie along with all of us. The video series was created to share our passion for cross country skiing and the admiration we have for our customers and friends. After each video, find out how our skiers fared this past weekend.

Ashley Shuman

Ashley was looking forward to skiing the Korte, but unfortunately did not get clearance from her PT to ski in this year’s event. “I was really bummed, but was able to enjoy Birkie week as a spectator without the stress of preparing to race, and that was a pretty fun experience,” Ashley says. “Now I’m looking forward to being able to fully participate in the Fat Bike Birkie next weekend and to get to experience another facet of Birkie Fever!”


Dakota Dale

Dakota made his way from the 6th Wave through the throngs of skiers last year to secure himself a Wave 1 start in the 2019 Birkie. How did this year go for him? “Birkie week went well. I felt a bit sluggish during the race but that is okay.” Unfortunately, Dakota just missed placement in the elite wave for next year. “Pretty disappointed I missed my elite wave, but I have next year!”

Lauren Harrison

Lauren had a tough, but really meaningful race. “I had a good experience racing, especially considering my lack of training,” she says…”it was tough skating conditions with how choppy the trail got, which makes me even prouder that I finished and excited  for next year to hopefully improve upon my time. It was so rewarding to go over the bridge and see the finish line and hear everybody cheering you in. Can’t wait for next year!”

Roger Burger

“By all accounts, the weekend was a great success,” Roger says about the event. “Warm temperatures for athletes, spectators and volunteers really felt like a gift. The fresh snow made for more work than my current fitness level was ready for and things changed from racing to hard work at about 35K.” He was particularly glad there wasn’t a strong headwind on the lake! “Thanks to all the volunteers and the Birkie staff!!” Roger is now looking forward to some warm spring skiing on fast transformed snow.

We at New Moon hope however you celebrated the Birkie, whether it was on the trail or live-streaming from home you had an awesome, inspiring weekend. Remember, the Birkie lifestyle doesn’t just happen during Birkie week—appreciate the outdoors, strive to be your best, and be proud of your accomplishments no matter how you race or recreate. See ya on the trail!

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