Getting some ASS takes a little work, but it is worth it. You see, snowmobilers don't get up very early. Most snowmobilers are too busy sitting on their asses to get any, well, ASS. This leaves a window of opportunity between the time the trails are groomed and the snowmobiles hit the trail - typically 6:30-9:30 a.m. on the weekends, and a little longer on weekdays.

This leaves some ASS wide open for anyone willing to grab it. There is one rule, however:

ASS Rule #1: GET IN AND GET OUT EARLY.

I mean this. If you don't, you will be up to your ass in snowmobiles. This would be bad, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

This brings us to the next rule:

ASS Rule #2: DO NOT FORGET ASS RULE #1.

There aren't any other rules.

Fortunately, you can obey Rule #1 and still have about three hours to get in the highest quality skate skiing around. On some weekdays, you can stretch this up to several hours. Granted, the risk of snowmobiles adds an extra element of uncertainty, but this is Adventure Skate Skiing, after all.

As detailed in the Trail Guide, the routes range from 4 - 42 miles and from 0 - 2000 feet of elevation gain. Most routes follow USFS roads that you can drive in the summer. But in the sparkling quiet of a winter dawn these places are sheer magic. Fresh snow or hoarfrost glisten on trees, and occasional vistas sweep down the Chiwawa or Entiat Valleys.

If you are a decent skier you can puff up long hills, zip around downhill curves, log 15 or 20 miles, and still get off the trail before breakfast. I am not that great a skier, but I average about two hours on the trails at about 9 mph –– sometimes faster and sometimes slower. But even on bad days – when the snow is crummy or you pounded too many beers the night before –– you can complete a 14-16 mile trip in two hours. Occasionally I will set aside a weekday and log a 40 mile day or so (see Trip #14 to Trinity).

Even when the occasional early rising snowmobile messes up the trail, the skiing can be good.


.. But if you wait too long into the day, you have to deal with beat up tracks.