Grand Nordic: Conditions remain ideal for Nordic rides |

Grand Nordic: Conditions remain ideal for Nordic rides

Jeff Russell
Grand Nordic
Nordic skiers race in a previous Ranch to Ranch Ski Trek, going from Snow Mountain Ranch to Granby Ranch. The annual fundraiser for Nordic youth is this weekend.
Jeff Russell/Courtesy photo

It feels like we are in the depths of winter, and since it’s late arrival, winter has proven to be steadfast and true to stereotypical seasonal expectations.

We have not seen any large accumulations of snow, but consistently cold temperatures and occasional small additions to the snowpack have kept the surface fresh. Older deeper layers in the snowpack have become a bit sugary, but not as largely granular as we see with the larger daily fluctuations in temperature that can be common in this dry sub-alpine air.

One might say it’s been more like winters past, with temperatures in the valley dipping down to 30 below or colder more often than once. Trails have remained well-covered and well-packed with old tracks remaining evident for weeks.

The Headwaters Trails Alliance has been busy grooming community trails on a rotating schedule. As of Thursday, grooming most recently was done on the Lunch loops and Fraser River Trail from County Road 8 to Rendezvous, Givelo and Northwest passage.

The Fraser River Trail is well groomed from Trademark condos near Winter Park Resort to Rendezvous, though use caution where the trail passes through the Highway 40 tunnel, as the tunnel is dark, there is thin snow coverage and ice chunks are on the trail from highway plowing at either end. Also groomed earlier this week were the Fraser Valley ballfields and the Fraser to Granby trail from the ballfields to Val Moritz.

With these trails freshly groomed, an adventurous skier could connect a route on groomed snow from the Winter Park Resort all the way to Granby Ranch.

A more reasonably distanced point to point ski tour, the annual Ranch to Ranch Ski Trek fundraiser for youth skiing, is taking place this weekend, over both Saturday and Sunday, with four waves of skiers each day to spread participants out for proper social distancing.

This tour is 12 km (around 7.5 miles) one way or 24 kilometers if done as an out and back. Predictions call for a light snowfall Friday night followed by temperatures ranging from the low teens, rising to 20s to low 30s during the mid-day hours, so that Swix blue extra should be just right for a kick wax — but don’t hold me to that, as conditions are always subject to change.

It should be great conditions for getting out and enjoying some fresh air and sunshine and supporting local youth skiers.

Many of those skiers will be away this Saturday for a race in Steamboat, but will be hosting the Colorado State Ski Meet, coming up on Feb. 17 and 18. The Nordic racers will be at the YMCA while the alpine ski teams will be competing at Winter Park.

This race represents the culmination of a lot of hard work and sacrifice, with skiers training after school in the dark with headlamps, in what has turned out to be a cold year for doing that. Some of these skiers started their skiing careers just this year and have made great progress in this one short season.

If you have the time to get away, they would appreciate your support, just please do respect social distancing considerations, as we unfortunately still need to be considerate of that.

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