Premier Nordic Skiing In Western Montana
The Seeley Creek Nordic Trail system is undoubtedly the best-kept Nordic secret in the Rockies. An unbeatable combination of reliable snow, trail layout and a consistent grooming schedule makes the Seeley Creek Ski Trails one of the premier Nordic trail systems in the region.
Seeley Lake is blessed with an abundance of snow not found in neighboring valleys. That snow is groomed to perfection daily by our dedicated crew of volunteers led by longtime grooming guru, Lynn Carey. Our trails consistently receive rave reviews and regular use from skiers living within a 150-mile radius, while our races and other events bring many users from greater distances. There is a trail or a loop for skiers of all levels and abilities, from hard-core racers to families looking to experience some healthy outdoor activity in the fresh winter air of western Montana.
To sweeten the deal there are no user fees charged for our trail system. If you enjoyed your ski and are feeling generous, there is a “metal ranger” at the trail head where you can leave a donation of your choice. Or, if you’re feeling a little light in the wallet, no problem, you can catch us next time. All donations go straight to the grooming fund helping us provide western Montana with the ultimate in cross country skiing.
The Seeley Lake Nordic Ski Club, under a special management agreement with the Lolo National Forest, is responsible for regularly grooming the trails. The club also hosts events including skate and classic clinics for beginning and intermediate skiers as well as the children’s after school program and races (in conjunction with the Adventure Club). Two major races are held each year: the Seeley Lake Challenge Biathlon and our signature event, the legendary OSCR 50k.
Many kinds of nordic skiing are available along different trails in our community. We offer skate ski trails and classic ski trail within the 18 km Seeley Creek Nordic Ski Trail System located on Lolo National Forest Property. Backcountry opportunities abound: YurtSki offers yurts for rent in a challenging alpine area while less extreme backcountry options exist by Montour Cabin, a rental from the Lolo National Forest. Additionally, a network of forest roads offer a myriad of options for ski touring, as well as skijoring and dog mushing. Your Nordic experience in Seeley Lake is limited only by your imagination.
OSCR - 31st Annual Race
The OSCR (pronounced Oscar), originally stood for "Ovando to Seeley Citizens Race", because those two towns were the starting and ending points. The OSCR evolved into an annual race starting at the Seeley Creek Trails and and looping up across Rice Ridge for the 50k event. In the early 1990s there was a contest to come up with a name that fit the traditional acronym but better reflected the new race course; now OSCR means "Over Seeley's Creeks and Ridges."
The OSCR tradition is that of a ski marathon. Today its a 50 km race in a single loop, incorporating specially groomed portions of the snow machine trails allowing us a challenging skate and classic ski course. People come from many states to ski the OSCR. In the late 1980's the OSCR organizers started a 25 km race, and later added a 10 km race on the same day. On OSCR race day some of the racers from the early years still come and ski, ring the cow bells, and cheer on new and long standing participants. After the race there is a chili feed and awards ceremony. 2012 OSCR Details >>
Biathlon - 4th Annual
Biathlon is a new and growing event in Seeley Lake. Starting in 2008, as a joint project of the ski club, gun club, Chamber of Commerce, snow machine club and others. It quickly gained momentum with the addition of target loans from the National Guard Biathlon team from Helena and loaner target rifles from Bohart Ranch in Bozeman. We have had mentors step up to help young racers train for this event. The course has included a 3 loops of 3 km for 9 km race. The summer biathlon will soon also be held at the Seeley Creek Trails. Racers in 2011 will find an improved entrance and exit for the target area.
The Seeley Lake Nordic Ski Club sponsors ski clinics for beginner and intermediate skiers in both classic and skate techniques. Instructors leading the clinics are certified Level 2 with the Professional Ski Instructors Association and are capable of assisting students who have never been on skis before as well as those wishing to refine their skills. Our popular clinics are a fun, safe and inexpensive way to introduce yourself to the world of cross country skiing in a friendly group setting. Private lessons are also available on a limited basis. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are so many ways to have fun with nordic skis in Seeley Lake. Of course we have the great Seeley Creek Trails where any classic or skate skier can have fun, no matter what the skill level. The ski club, and the USFS are working together to create a new beginner loop for those just starting to ski, based on feedback from the community. Classic skiers also find groomed tracks right outside the Double Arrow Ranch Lodge. The great thing about nordic skiing in Seeley Lake is once you have some skills, there are hundreds of miles of ungroomed places you can go. For the skilled telemark skier there are yurts to rent, and places to go. for the Skijor enthusiast there are musher and snow machine trails to use.
Kids will find a new place to learn in 2011 behind the Seeley Lake Elementary School. Many kids will continue to have fun with Adventure Club ski trips. Watch the Limelight for news of a new youth ski league that is just in the planning stages.
From December through March, the Seeley Lake Nordic Ski Club grooms about half the loops each day, resulting in the entire course being groomed several times a week. We have Ginzu groomers so our tracks get professional grooming, no matter what the weather (well almost any weather). Since all the grooming is done by volunteers, we cannot guarantee the time, but usually things are in great shape by about 10:30 AM. When the groomers are done they post the conditions on the Missoula Nordic Grooming page.
Double Arrow Lodge also grooms their trails regularly for classic skiers. Call the lodge for up to date information on those trails 406-677-2777.
The Driftriders, the local snow machine club uses a piston bully to groom portions of their more than 200 miles of trails several times a week. This is a good trail system for Skijoring enthusiasts as dogs are permitted on the mushing and snow machine trail systems. Maps of this trail system can be purchased at most shops in Seeley Lake.
A Welcoming Community
Seeley Lake is a small town in western Montana with many recreational opportunities, places to stay and places to eat. Skiers that want to come and stay in Seeley Lake can consult the Chamber of Commerce for their business directory.