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Rau: More K’s More Days

Diana Lynn Rau

Since I came to Grand County over 30 years ago, we have always had the earliest snow and kept our snow the longest. Since I was looking for more snow than I had living in New England, I thought I had moved to heaven. But then Grand County had a fabulous October in 1983 and I fractured a metatarsal playing soccer and had to keep my foot in a big ole leather hiking boot until after Christmas. The old timers remember that '83 was a record year when it snowed every day from the end of October until after Christmas and I couldn't even Nordic ski until January! I shoveled snow every day to keep in shape for the skiing to come.

Well, global warming has made a difference and we now have almost two months in the summer of frost free days instead of only seven or eight. But we still usually have the earliest Nordic skiing in the country. And we can usually find snow to ski on until at least July.

This great white stuff is one of the reasons why many people move to Colorado, particularly Grand County. We love the snow! We love the mountains! We love being outside! And there are so many ways to Nordic ski in Grand County. Grand Nordic has brought together these World Class Nordic areas. We have ranches offering groomed Nordic skiing abd recreation districts and town recreation departments offering kids lessons. NSCD offers both adaptive and adaptive competitive programs. Colorado Biathlon training and competition is offered here and school teams in Middle School and High School have competition programs for all ages.

Grand Nordic's new marketing program touts More K's More Days and points people to the new website developed by Firebird Design Works http://www.skigrandnordic.org where all things Nordic in Grand County come together. The site features logos of all participants, brief program information, major events, contact information and a link directly to their website. Maps show where everyone is located. Articles explain information about back country touring and more. The calendar shows how many events exist, particularly events that fill your weekend with racing, family fun or a trek into the high country. It is literally a go-to spot to learn about all the Nordic opportunities in Grand County.

Jeff Russell is writing about our backcountry touring opportunities. Here is his latest story:

We are set up for an excellent Nordic Holiday Ski Season. The late, but generous fall snows have left a solid blanket of snow over the Fraser and Colorado River valleys with depths ranging from teens to 30" and more at higher elevations below tree-line. We are currently enjoying a respite from the waves of winter storms that have blessed us. The snow-preserving cold temperatures of this weekend have given way to blue skies and balmy temperatures that are sure to lure winter-sun loving adventurers away from the fireside. With the approach of the winter solstice, the frigid squeak of boot or ski on sub-zero-sharpened ice crystals is a recent memory, while we will likely pay the price for that sunny warmth with a bit of light surface sun-crust on south-facing aspects, at least at lower elevations. Who knows what the menopausal hot flashes Mother Earth has been having will bring next. The experts are expecting temps hovering in the low 30's, with some flurries by Wed and/or Thursday evenings. Clouds can protect the snow quality from the intense sun as well as an arctic cold front, depending on how soon they arrive after the Sun God Ra awakens to shine on the day. The arrival of the holiday skiers will help get the trails packed out, so lighter gear will be more appropriate and allow you to go further, faster, depending on new snow and wind. Wider skis will still allow those who wish to get away from it all to go beyond the popular turnarounds for some winter solitude, as the warmer temps may help consolidate the snowpack into a denser, supportive surface.

Happy Trails and Merry Christmas!!! from Jeff, Diana Lynn and the entire board of Grand Nordic.

Solstice update Dec 21-

The Deadhorse loop is now clear of trees and in good shape overall! Ski it before the next wind event! Warm temperatures have stiffened and added some weight to the powder, as well as having created some crust on south-facing, exposed aspects, but the good news is that there is still buttery powder in all but the most exposed slopes. The long side-hill on the mid to lower part of the Spruce trail is rather crusted by the intense sun of Monday and Tuesday, and will remain so except when the temperatures are high enough to soften it, or if we get any accumulation from the 2 storms headed this way over the next few days. Be forewarned, these are expected to come with some wind.

Visit our website for more information http://www.grandnordic.org or call 970-887-0547