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Nordic skiers thrive amid peak conditions

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Rick Persons of Laconia relishes the chance to learn cross country skiing at Gunstock Mountain Resort Tuesday. Nordic skiing and snowshoeing conditions remained excellent with ample snow. (David Carkhuff/The Laconia Daily Sun)


GILFORD — For her 66th birthday, Tina Jurta of Gilford received a gift from her daughter with special meaning: a cross-country skiing lesson at Gunstock Mountain Resort.
"I did it once, but it was nice of my daughter to give me a lesson for my birthday. My grandkids ski with the Gunstock Nordic Association. They race, so I'm trying to keep up with them," Jurta said Tuesday.
Rick Persons of Laconia joined Irena Bosworth of Natick, Massachusetts, and Jurta for Tuesday's lesson.
Persons said, "It's warming up, and so is the snow," but he said he relished the opportunity to enjoy the trails under blue skies.
Persons said he has an alpine season pass, and he decided to take advantage of a package deal to try out cross country skiing.
At the Gunstock Nordic Ski School, Tuesday marked the calm after the storm, both literally and figuratively. On Sunday, the resort sold out and had to turn skiers and snowshoers away after reaching capacity. Recent snowstorms and an onset of "bluebird" days with pure-blue skies caused the resort to physically run out of space.
Among the weekend crowd were cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
Instructor Gunnar Stohlberg of Barnstead said cross-country skiing conditions remain superb, although the grooming schedule will depend on evening temperatures and moisture. Ski trails are sensitive to thaws, so the mountain nordic center is protective of the two-foot-plus base.
"With all of this new snow and the vacation week, it's been overloaded. We cleaned out our snowshoes three times on Saturday because we would not have any more, and then a couple would come back," Stohlberg recalled, noting the steady rotation of customers.
Jane Carpenter, another ski instructor at Gunstock, runs dog ski touring lessons, teaching people to train dogs to pull them around on skis. The resort features 15 kilometers of dog-friendly trails. Carpenter said two-legged and four-legged visitors can take advantage of well-groomed trails, on one of the few mountains around that generates its own snow for cross country trails.
"We make snow so we stockpile it," Carpenter said.
A mountain crew spreads the manmade snow with a manure spreader and grooms trails with a groomer. The resort on Tuesday reported 20 to 32 inches of base depth varying across 34 nordic trails totaling 33 kilometers in length.
"We've had wonderful compliments despite the challenging conditions," Carpenter said.
Up-and-down temperatures have kept the snowmakers and groomers on their toes, she said.
"We have manmade snow and that's going to last," Carpenter said.
Even if it rains (Friday's forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of showers with a high near 47 degrees), the snow base should hold up, she said.
Vacation Week in Massachusetts guaranteed an influx of out-of-state skiers and snowshoers, and locals converged over the weekend for conditions reminiscent of spring skiing, but with icy snow rather than slush.
Sunday's sell-out day left everyone breathless.
"The mountain was humming," Carpenter said.
Jurta, who reacquainted herself with cross country skiing during Tuesday's lesson, said her family saw first hand the frantic pace at Gunstock over the weekend. She came on Sunday to watch her grandchildren race, but "We couldn't even get in."
"So we went to Alton to check out the winter festival. We couldn't find anyplace to park, so we turned around and came back. By then, they were letting people in, so I got to see my grandson finish, and I got to see my granddaughter start and finish," she said.


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Rick Persons of Laconia, Irena Bosworth of Natick, Massachusetts, and Tina Jurta of Gilford take a cross country skiing lesson from Gunnar Stohlberg of Barnstead, instructor at Gunstock Mountain Resort, Tuesday. (David Carkhuff/Laconia Daily Sun)

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LACONIA — Wes Anderson has seen both sides of the problem of salt corrosion. As Public Works director for Laconia, he manages the application of salt brine to help keep roadways clear of ice. Dry salt is applied in heavy snow situations. In his previous p


LACONIA — Wes Anderson has seen both sides of the problem of salt corrosion.
As Public Works director for Laconia, he manages the application of salt brine to help keep roadways clear of ice. Dry salt is applied in heavy snow situations.
In his previous position as head of fleet management for Manchester, he was responsible for 500 vehicles. Many sustained corrosion damage caused by road salt.
His advice: Get to the car wash after the storm passes.
"Back when I worked for the city of Manchester, we would tell workers to wait for the road to dry and get the vehicles washed because salt can cause rust and corrosion," he said.
The best type of car wash for this purpose is one that has an underbody spray that can clean off salt that sticks to the bottom of vehicles, where rust can damage important components. Underbody protective treatments can also be effective.
Laconia began spraying the brine solution for the first time this year.
Dan Goodman, spokesman for AAA Northern New England, said such liquids can be even more damaging to vehicles than dry salt, because the fluid can get into tight places subject to accelerated corrosion.
Pat Moody, public affairs manager for the same organization, said drivers need to be attentive to corrosion caused by salt.
"This can be much more than a cosmetic issue, it can also create serious safety issues for drivers by impacting brake lines, exhaust systems, fuel tanks and electrical connections," Moody said.
Alysa Reich, spokeswoman for the National Association of Corrosion Engineers, said about 50 percent of automobile corrosion is attributable to de-icing salt. She suggests:
• Keep your car parked outdoors as the warmth of an indoor garage melts salty ice on the car and speeds the corrosion process.
• Repair dents and scratches where corrosion can start.
• Pay special attention to cleaning brake and wheel components.

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Laconia Police Log, Feb. 10-17, 2016

Laconia police handled 235 incidents between Feb. 10 and 17 and made the following arrests:
* Christopher Burns, 32, of 47 Horne Road, Belmont, for driving under the influence of drugs or liquor, and carrying a loaded handgun without a license.
* Caitlyn E. Ladd, 28, transient, for criminal trespass.
* Melissa A. Mooney, 32, of 249 Horne Road, Belmont, on a warrant.
* Joseph P. Clement, 37, of 12 Pleasant St., Apt. 26, for default or breach of bail conditions.
* Jon Daigle, 29, of 24 Forest St., Belmont, on a warrant.
* James Langathianos, 38, of 23 Liscomb Circle, Apt. 8, Gilford, for driving under the influence of drugs or liquor.
* Adrian Vintila, 24, of 64 McGrath St., Laconia, for willful concealment.
* Luis Antonio Gonzales, 22, of 21 West St., Concord, for two bench warrants and receiving stolen property.
* Anthony Verloove, 53, of 29 Bowman St., Laconia, for driving under the influence of drugs and liquor.
* Daniel Levi Sage, 23, of 184 Union Ave., Apt. 3, Laconia, on a warrant.
* Jillian D. Moulton, 29, of 416 Union Ave., Apt. B, Laconia, on a warrant.
* Kyle Bernard Joyce, 31, transient, on a bench warrant.

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