MEACHAM DIVIDE TRAILS OPEN

January 03, 2002 12:00 am
ALONG THE DIVIDE: Trails at Meacham Divide ski area are colorfully named. The ski area's trails were groomed Monday. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
ALONG THE DIVIDE: Trails at Meacham Divide ski area are colorfully named. The ski area's trails were groomed Monday. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

By Dick Mason

Observer Staff Writer

Conditions at the Meacham Divide Nordic Ski Area are looking promising.

The ski areas 25-kilometer trail network is clear after being groomed New Years Eve by members of the Grande Ronde Nordic Club.

Snowfall was needed following the grooming because the trails were icy and too fast and choppy for inexperienced skiers.

This morning that snowfall occurred and conditions are likely OK for skiing.

The snow should help us, said David Axelrod, president of the Grande Ronde Nordic Club.

Meacham Divide is about 20 miles west of La Grande and offers one of the most extensive Nordic sites in Oregon. It is maintained by the nordic club.

The trails will remain clear through the winter because the club has hired a groomer who will clear trails Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays when there is fresh snow.

The groomer should be busy for three months because Meacham Divide has an elevation of 4,200 feet. This means it should have snow at least through late March.

The trails at Meacham Divide are 12-feet wide with both skiing and diagonal lanes. The trails are marked by diamonds on trees.

The ski areas trails are colorfully named. They include:

Pendleton Plunge, 0.5 kilometer, intermediate difficulty level.

Roller Coaster, 1 kilometer, good for beginners.

I Scream, 1 kilometer, easy difficulty level.

Butcher, 2.5 kilometers, easy difficulty level.

Tillicum, 3.5 kilometers easy difficulty level.

Quarry, 3 kilometers, more difficult.

Because there is no warming hut at Meacham Divide it is important that skiers bring proper clothing, Axelrod said.

There is no charge for skiing at Meacham Divide but everyone is asked to make a $3 donation every time they ski, or purchase an annual Blue Mountain Nordic Club membership. Memberships cost $20 for one person and $35 per family. Membership forms are available at Meacham Divide.

This is the fifth winter Meacham Divide has been operating. Preparation for this winters ski season started 2 1/2 months ago when Grande Ronde Nordic Club members began clearing trails of debris. Members devoted long hours to this work.

To reach Meacham Divide from La Grande drive 17 miles west on Interstate 84 to Summit Road Exit 243. Then drive 1.7 miles on the Summit Road to Emily Sno Park. State Sno Park permits are required for anyone using the lot.

Permits are available at the

La Grande Ranger District office on Highway 30, south of La Grande.