First, Michael Amarello spent most of the day scouting trails, shoveling snow and marking the course. It's tough work and I appreciate the fact he's trying to provide the best event possible considering what mother nature gave and then promptly took away. Thanks Michael.
I ran the proposed course tonight and took pictures along the way. It's similar to last years course except neither of the hills are in play this year. Maybe that's a good thing for some. It's basically a loop run counter-clockwise (closer to a lollypop). The entire course is marked with orange/red survey flags. Arrow signs are located at major intersections.
Brief Course Overview:
The start will be about 1/4 down the trail from the parking lot to get over the first bare spot (shown below).
Once past the bare spot the trail turns to decent snow and ice. This is the approximate area for the start. It is a slight uphill at the start. Last year the course turned to the left and jumped on some single track before climbing the first hill. This year it goes straight. The first 1/3 mile is wide double track.
At the Loop Trail sign the course turns to the left and travels over a rough section for a few hundred yards. It's covered but there's a few icy sections (as shown below) along with some exposed rocks. There is snow along the edges and I'd recommend staying there.
The trail does improve and follows a snowmobile trail for quite a ways, generally with decent snow all the way to the power lines.
After you reach the power lines you'll take a hard left and bushwhack for a short section (in order to stay on snow) before hooking up with the main trail again.
The next mile or so is exactly the same as last year. Most of it is ok but it does have it's share of mixed conditions. Some bare spots, some icy spots but snow covered in most sections. You'll cross 2 bridges during this section. Nearly all of it is on snowmobile trails.
Eventually the trail reconnects with the same trail you took out (you just did a big loop). It's a little different on the way back though. About 3/4 miles from the finish the course takes a sharp left down an old discontinued trail. It's actually a nice section. Stay to the right as the trail splits several times. It's an out and back and is well marked. Just stay to the right on the way out and follow the arrows (and stay right) on the way back. Probably adds about 1/2 mile to the overall distance. Should be good to see the folks in front and behind you. It's all virgin snow, slightly downhill on the way out and uphill on the way back.
After that it hooks up with the same trail you took on the way out, all the way to the finish. The last 1/2 or so is all downhill. I hope this helps and I hope it convinces you we do have snow, it just isn't perfect. The total length if probably just a tad over 4 miles.