The Hog Loppet
|Just what in
the heck does Hog Loppet mean anyway?
Well, it is not a Swedish cuss word!
The route begins at the top of the Mission Ridge Ski Area, near Wenatchee, after two chairlift rides from the base. The views were spectacular!. The route is up and down for the first 7 miles, then generally level for the next 7 miles, and then the last 7 miles there is a long descent to 4100 foot Blewett Pass. There was three aid stations with snacks, water, Gatorade, hot chocolate, mm's, and emergency equipment.
It was clear, cold, and windy at the top of Mission Ridge Ski Area. We took off on a long downhill, following the ridge. There were volunteers to help us turn the right way and stay on course. Once we left the ski area, the route was flagged, but not groomed. Word among the skiers was that it used to be groomed, but since the state parks is short of money, they were not able to groom this part of the course.
It was fun to watch the Nordic skiers navigate 10 inches of fluffy powder better suited to telemark skis. We had many up and downs and crossed several tempting bowls. There were many crashes! I lost count somewhere in the double digits. Traffic was heavy since the skiers were not spread out yet. We did see a few telemarkers, and a couple of Randonee skiers. They definitely had the advantage in this ungroomed section.
Then, it was about a mile of uphill to the first rest stop! Doerte and I sucked on oranges and jungle mix and Gatorade. There was every type of ski imaginable with the exception of Alpine! Skate, Classic, Backcountry, plastic boots, leather boots, no edges, edged, telemark, and randonee. Many folks used the rest break to apply wax. The many veterans said the course would be easier soon.
Somewhere after mile 7.5 we arrived at the groomed trail. The route flattened out and we were finally able to get some glide in. Some sections were fast downhill. Looking back Mission Ridge was far away! There were many tempting glades to ski, but we stayed on course. Woohoo, Haney Meadows and the second rest stop!
The Forest Service was nice enough to keep the snowmobilers away from Haney Meadow during the Loppet. It is a beautiful place with many meadows and glades that would make great ski runs if the hated snow machines were not there. Since it is east of the Cascade Crest, the snow is very light. At Haney Meadows there is also a historic old Cabin.
After a short rest, we started to ski to the finish! After three miles of level trail we began a long fast descent that took us to our destination, Blewett Pass. We did the trip in six hours.
Want to go next year? www.wenatcheevalleysports.com
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