Badger Cross Country Conditions Update

Stop in and say hi to some of the folks at the Cross Country Ski Center. Lessons and retails available.

Stop in and say hi to some of the folks at the Nordic Center while you rent skis or snowshoes or sign up for a cross country ski lesson.

The Nordic Center at Badger Pass is open, so I grabbed my skate ski gear and headed up for a quick look-see before work. Given the warm temperatures, I was concerned about the conditions. I can be a real snow snob sometimes. However, the snow conditions were actually much better than I expected, and I had a fun little ski.

The cut-across from the parking area to the Glacier Point Road is pretty inelegant right now. I didn’t even bother putting my skis on until I’d walked out to the road, though the pair in front of me tried. It’s hardly an inspiring start, and I began to second guess my intentions, but then I got down to the road, and the promise of gliding over the snow kicked in and I was off.

Looking up the hill to Summit Meadow

Looking up the hill to Summit Meadow

The snow on the road is also thin, with bare patches in places, but in conditions like this I often think back to the time someone reminded me that you only ski on the top inch of snow anyway. Being a good skier, I had no problem at all avoiding the bare patches until Summit Meadow where the sun hasn’t been good to our snowpack. Generally speaking, the snow has a late spring feel – hard and a bit choppy in the morning, but heading up the hill to Summit Meadow I was surprised to find some really good snow underfoot too, firm but soft, perfect skating if you could string together a few miles of it. Hooray! I was skiing! That, combined with sunshine, and being outside in Yosemite, breathing in the fresh air made it all worthwhile.

Watch out for bare patches along the trail.

Watch out for bare patches along the trail.

I met a few other hardy souls who were on the road as well. Two women with big backpacks were headed out to the Ostrander Ski Hut on telemark ski gear, another person taking a tour on her classic striding skis, and two different groups who planned to snowshoe out to Dewey Point. We talked about the conditions, and I realized that even if they had to take the snow-play gear off their feet, they were headed off to some amazing spots – beautiful even in the summer when there isn’t a lick of snow.

Don't be afraid to take off your skis or snowshoes and walk. Yosemite is as beautiful as ever.

Don’t be afraid to take off your skis or snowshoes and walk. Yosemite is as beautiful as ever.

When I got back to the Nordic Center, I was greeted with giggles and peals of laughter from some people trying cross country skiing out for the first time, and Rick was getting ready to give a beginner lesson. That’s one of the things I love about the people who visit Yosemite in winter. Flexible and good-natured, they bring fun with them wherever they go.

By Theresa, Online Marketing Manager for DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite

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Yosemite’s Natural Firefall – Horsetail Fall

Horsetail Fall Photo by Nancy Robbins

The Firefall is coming up soon. Are you coming to see it?

Although the firefall from Glacier Point, is now just a memory, Yosemite-lovers and photographers from all over the world gather in mid to late February for a show that is, in some ways, even more spectacular because it is all natural. When the angle of the sun is just right, and there is enough water in Horsetail Fall, and the day is clear, the waterfall turns molten in the light of the setting sun against the already shaded shoulder of El Capitan. But the perfect conditions are elusive. Will it all come together this year? And when is the prime viewing time?

Local photographer, Michael Frye, is heading up a conversation with others to calculate the dates when we’ll be most likely to see the firefall, and speculating about when it will be the most spectacular. So far, it sounds like your best bet to see the waterfall light up is between February 16 – 23, but the verdict isn’t fully in yet. Be sure to join in if you have been here to photograph the firefall, and if you haven’t been here yet, this is a great source for detailed information about the event.

You can also benefit from Michael’s expertise at one of the photography workshops in Yosemite, offered through The Ansel Adams Gallery. Michael, along with many other talented photographers in that program, offer many opportunities to hone your photography skills and experience Yosemite with a real Yosemite insider.