Bigrock Mountain in Mars Hill is waiting out another January thaw, this one heavy in sleet, and closing its slopes Thursday.
“We made a decision today to close and let this go another day,” said Bigrock manager Travis Kearney as he and trail groomer Neil Grass were inspecting the mountain’s Comet Trail from the snowcat groomer Thursday morning.
“Neil and I both decided that we think it will be safer,” Kearney said in a Facebook video post. “The temperatures will cool down and the snow conditions will be better.” Temperatures for Friday through Sunday were expected to range between overnight lows in the teens and high single digits and daytime highs in the mid-20s.
“The snow will be little easier to work with,” Kearney said. “If we could get another couple inches of snow it would be nice to till in to what we already have.”
This is the second Wednesday and Thursday that Bigrock has closed due to above-freezing weather and mixed precipitation. The mountain offers $5 lift tickets and $10 rentals on Wednesdays, and the slopes were closed on Wednesday and Thursday Jan. 11 and 12 following rain and a temperature swing to near 40 degrees.
Bigrock’s lodge will be open for wing night on Thursday, and will open its slopes at noon Friday until through 8 p.m., Kearney said.
On Thursday, employees were clearing away remaining ice from ski lifts, which were turned on to run during parts of the storm to limit ice build up, Kearney said, noting that there was about a quarter inch of ice on trees around the slopes.
At the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle, meanwhile, the cross ski trails emerged from the storm in not-bad shape. The four-season sport club says that the trails “are hard and fast,” which can make for good skate skiing and backcountry crust skiing.
The cross country trail system we will be groomed after the temperature falls Thursday night, and the ski trails and fat bike trails should be in good in shape as temperatures stay below freezing over the weekend.