Getting to ski at Happy Jack the Wyoming Ski team is very lucky in the fact that we are able to ski on natural snow for the entire season. One might find it strange that it is lucky for a ski team to ski on natural snow; but as the trend in snowfall continues to decrease the amount of time skiers are spending on manmade loops are steadily increasing. I remember not too many years ago manmade snow loops were something to get on early in the season, pre-thanksgiving skiing. However now it seems almost every USSA or FIS race we have attended were racing on a hard pack manmade concoction.
This Christmas I raced a 10km race around a 1.6km loop. At US Senior Nationals by the end of the week what was not the ski course the grass was poking out. It is only by some miracle the Sun Valley super tour was on natural snow as all the natural snowfall landed only a week before the races. It seems as if the trend for any race venue to be able to reliably host races is to have a well-established snowmaking system in place.
Thankfully the race locations used for USCSA races are held at high-altitude heavy snowfall areas, such as Leadville Col. and the Grand Messa, so for now our 'regular' season races have been held on 100% natural snow. But the question must be asked, how many more years until the USCSA's natural snow safe havens also fall victim to climate change?
Madison Tinker and others of the University of Wyoming Ski Team