Talk:WI Kettle Moraine South Nordic Trails
My Rant on 2007 trail reroutes
--Dave 18:10, 6 December 2007 (CST) I just got back from the Nordic trails and while the conditions were excellent for skiing, I was very disappointed with some recent reroutes that essentially bypassed some of my favorite downhills. For those familiar with the system, there was a big hill about a mile or so into the Blue/Green/Orange/Red trail that started with a moderate downhill then transitioned into a short but very steep section that kind of felt like skiing off the edge of the world. Well that's been completely bypassed. And if you liked that long winding downhill that came shortly after that on the Green/Orange/Red trail when it splits from the Blue Trail, the direction is now reversed on that hill as it is part of the bypass for the other hill. But wait, there's more. About half way around the Green/Blue trail, you may be familiar with a hilltop with a bench, where the trail goes left into a downhill that has a tight right turn, then transitions into another short but very steep downhill that immediately goes into a very steep uphill. This has always been one of my favorite spots because it's one of those rare places where if your skis are fast and you're on your game, you just might be able to get enough speed from the downhill sections to rocket up to the top of the steep uphill. All gone, all gone, all gone. As are the next couple of hills immediately after that.
Now I've been skiing out here for a couple of decades and have seen various changes over the years. I wasn't particularly happy when they rerouted the return section of the Red Trail to bypass that one big hill, but I didn't make a big deal out of it, I just stopped skiing the Red trail. The "advanced" section of the blue loop is no longer really an "advanced" trail due to several reroutes over the years (about time to get rid of the jagged hill warning sign on that one), but it is still fun, and I understand why some of those reroutes were done (I recall one hill that started with a tight left turn into a very steep section, but because the top section of the hill was in direct sunlight, it could be very tricky to navigate the bare patches). In fact, I have been telling people that if they didn't have problems with the rest of the hills on the Blue and Green loops, they shouldn't have any trouble with the "advanced" section. Well, I guess that rather than downgrading the "advanced" trail designation, they just decided to make the rest of the trails so easy that the "advanced" trail is now advanced by comparison. I mean, that's the only explanation I can come up with for the recent reroutes. Though I will admit the first hill with the steep section at the bottom, was potentially dangerous since you couldn't see what (or who) was on the trail until you basically went over the edge (and were probably going at a pretty good clip), and icy conditions didn't help any. But there was nothing unusually hazardous with those other hills. They were just really fun XC ski hills. I'm starting to wonder if the DNR has forgotten why those ski trails are where they are. They were purposely built there specifically to take advantage of the hilly terrain of the Kettle Moraine area. If they wanted to build flat to gently rolling ski trails, they could basically put them anywhere else in southeast Wisconsin. I have to drive 100 miles round trip every time I visit the Nordic trails, and I'm not doing that just because they have groomed XC trails. I'm doing it because they have (or use to have) groomed XC trails with lots of hills.
As disappointed I am with the recent reroutes, that actually is not my biggest concern right now. My biggest concern is that they are not yet done with the reroutes. That in coming years, they will gradually reroute the remaining hills, and turn all the intermediate trails into beginner trails. The Nordic trail system already has three loops for beginners (Brown, Purple, and White), it just doesn't make sense to eliminate the hills from the intermediate loops.