Rau: The end of Nordic season approaches (column)
March 30, 2017
Just when you think it's time to hang up the Nordic skis, Mother Nature sends another wave of storms. But the sun god decides that snow must melt in the valley so people can ride their bikes. And the war between the gods continues. For all Nordic Center patrons, get your last days in this weekend. Grand Lake is posting they may close this Sunday as well as Snow Mountain Ranch. Devil's Thumb thinks they can hold on another week. Groomers groom late or very early and advise skiers to hit the trails well before noon and move on to other things for the afternoon unless you like the slush. Be sure to call ahead or check the websites for closing information.
But the High Country still has snow and these current storms are adding more. Where the ground was bare before, the snow fades away quickly. But where the trees protect the snow from the sun or where the snow was deep enough to still give good coverage, the skiing is still pretty good. Mornings are best of course – watch out for rotten spots and slush in the afternoon. It's the season for morning skiing and afternoon biking!
If you go to the High Country to follow the snow as long as you can, be prepared for tough conditions hammering your equipment. I suggest heavier back country boots and bindings. Last year I tore the normal binding right off my ski and was glad I had enough duct tape and a small strap in my pack to attach the ski to my boot because I tore it apart at the top of the hill. It's Murphy's Law. Be prepared with water, extra food and sunscreen to say nothing of a few spare parts. Share your adventure with a friend or two or at least tell someone where you are going.
For those of you hanging up the skis, be sure to clean and summer wax them to protect them. Or if you are done with your gear and plan to get new next season, drop off your old useable equipment at Grand Nordic's collection box at the Grand Park Rec Center. We collect gear to be used in our kids programs next season. Grand Nordic can give you a tax receipt for better equipment if you call me at 887-0547 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a drop-off at my house. No clothing please.
My thoughts are starting to move on to river trips and biking. Meetings for Junior River trips at the High School have started. But I am torn with the call of the High Country. The snow will be good there a few more weeks or longer if we get more storms. Follow your heart but let your head remain clear and use good judgement – we want to see you on the trails next winter!
Meanwhile I'm gonna find me a river and some sun. Or maybe some fresh snow on the top of the mountain in the sun. Or maybe some of each…who know what Mother Nature has in store for me. See you again in a few weeks for summer trails. We're planning some big project for May so we may come knocking on your door for volunteers.