Grand Lake Nordic Center —the gem next to Rocky Mountain National Park | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Lake Nordic Center —the gem next to Rocky Mountain National Park

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand Nordic Corner

Diana Lynn Rau

Recently voted the best Nordic Center in Grand County for the 2012-13 ski season, Grand Lake Nordic Center sits on over 500 acres below the Rocky Mountain National Park and next to the Colorado River.

It feels like the river flows through your soul as you stand looking down on the Colorado flowing under one of the two new bridges built by the touring center. The other bridge takes you over the Red Top Valley Ditch.

The Winding River Trail is delightful to ski, very user friendly. The new piston bully adds that touch of perfection to good snow that makes for a perfectly groomed trail system.

Weather permitting the Nordic Center hopes to be open by Thanksgiving. Remember they are dog friendly and have designated trails for your faithful companion. Skiing and snowshoeing are both enjoyed equally.

The lodge was recently remodeled and the ski shop has a good selection of classic and skate equipment this year. New trails on easier terrain make the link to the Colorado River very user friendly. The dog loop has again been expanded in size and the picnic tables and benches make you feel welcome and invite you to relax. It just feels good as the 35km of trails wind in and out of the Rec District property to the neighboring private land where owners have allowed ski and snowshoe access for over 35 years, greatly expanding the terrain.

Enjoy soup, chili and libations while relaxing in front of a warm cozy fire in the recently renovated lodge. Play inside game boards, not just for kids. The recently improved Tubing Hill visible from the lodge is free and tubes are available or bring your own. Kids of all ages love it.

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Don't miss out – the early bird season pass is available until Dec. 10 for $105. After Dec. 10 the cost goes up to 125. Children can get a season pass for just $20, which is discounted to $15 if purchased with an adult. Kids 16 and under ski free on Fridays except holidays. What a deal…

Trail fees are $14 daily and only $5 for 16 and under. Five-day punch cards and half-day rates are also available. The rental shop has new boots and new skate skis added to their ski and snowshoe equipment to rent plus equipment, clothes and other gear and accessories for sale.

The first event of the season will be the first full moon ski Dec. 6 from 5-9 p.m., weather permitting with chili served in the main lodge. They always have a campfire with complimentary hot chocolate and marshmallows but please call ahead for weather conditions.

Locals Appreciation Day (all locals ski free!) is scheduled for Dec. 13. Grand Nordic free ski lessons are offered Dec. 21 to everyone with free trail passes and rental equipment to all Grand Nordic Club members. Pre-registration is required through the Nordic Center to reserve your lesson space and if you need to reserve equipment.

More information about the Grand Lake Chamber Mixer on Jan. 8 and the Rocky Mountain National Park centennial celebration at the Nordic Center as well as other events later this season can be found on the Rec District website, http://www.grandlakerecreation.com, or call the Nordic Center at 970-627-8008.

Coming soon to Grand Lake Nordic Center – guided snowshoe tours and geocaching.

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