Grand Nordic Corner: A bluebird day for Ranch2Ranch Trek |

Grand Nordic Corner: A bluebird day for Ranch2Ranch Trek

Diana Lynn Rau

A wonderful Colorado bluebird day with no wind and freshly groomed snow — what more could you ask for the Ranch2Ranch Trek last Saturday, besides great skiing companions.

Over 100 people were able to park at Granby Ranch, get shuttled to Snow Mountain Ranch — courtesy of Granby Ranch — for registration and take off at their leisure down Wilson and Pole Creek on snow beautifully groomed to so up Just Trail and over the hill top on Audun Trail headed toward Tim’s Tunnel and the first Aid Station. Master groomer Shawn Otterson had groomed only the Ranch2Ranch Trek trail and Grand Nordic had signed every intersection so the path was perfectly clear. And the 360-degree views were incredible. Temperatures in the teens and 20s were perfect in the warm sun.

Friendly faces waited at the aid station with bananas, oranges, energy bars, cookies, warm drinks and medical supplies available if needed. And even a moment to stand and chat since this is an untimed Trek. You had time to relax and take in the scenery, enjoy the grooming and learn about a new place to Nordic ski. Brian Mountain Patrol had volunteers along the way as well for on-trail emergencies. Then off we went under Highway 40 through Tim’s Tunnel packed fully with snow by Granby Ranch groomer Ben Koenig. Granby Ranch Ben and HTA groomer John Brammer maintain the Fraser to Granby Trail all winter from the Tunnel over to join into Granby Ranch east Mountain Nordic trails.

John from Headwater Trails Alliance also grooms east from the Tunnel all the way to the Fraser Ballfields. The Fraser to Granby trails are free and open to skiers, snowshoers and walkers with their dogs. These trails join into the Fraser River Trails and extend all the way to the Winter Park Resort and are maintained by Fraser and town of Winter Park!

The Fraser to Granby Trail winds thru the Creek meadow lined with willows, moose, deer and beavers then heads up the long hill toward the high road of the Val Moritz development. Traci’s trail parallels the high road over to the base of Rabbit Run and the Second Aid Station where again, you are greeted with friendly faces, food and warm drinks.

Then we headed off the new Pirouette Trail, through beautiful Aspen groves and rolling terrain where you felt magically transported off to Grandma’s house in the woods, across to the Alpine trails of Granby Ranch. For safety reasons, the Alpine trail just above you had been roped off by the Ski Patrol so you enjoyed sweeping down the groomed trail to the Deer trail cutoff and down into the Granby Ranch Base Lodge. Our Grand Nordic tent awaited you to turn in your bib and get your voucher for a delicious BBQ lunch at the Grille and dedicated outside seating to watch others finish the 12K Trek.

But some people turned around at the Nordic-Alpine juncture and skied back over to the YMCA completing over 20K of beautiful terrain. On a spectacular day like it was, who blamed them! It was fantastic conditions and perfect for skiing.

Our sincere thanks to our many Board members and volunteers from Grand Nordic at registration, trail marshals, aid stations, trail finish area, and those who braved snowstorms to set directional and warning signs for the Trek trail itself. Thanks for the cooperation of Snow Mtn Ranch, Granby Ranch and Headwaters Trails Alliance to make this fundraiser event supporting kids ski programs in Grand County the success it was. Our hats are off to the groomers who did a fantastic job and Mother Nature herself for our abundant snow this season. And finally, to Karen Fletcher our social media and publicity guru, and Al Rothenbach our incredible webmaster and membership chairman, for a job well done. Our kids and Grand Nordic love you all.

For more events coming up. Look for the information on the free Barnelopet for Kids on Feb. 23 at Snow Mountain Ranch, the Latigo Loppet and untimed Kids race at Latigo Ranch on Sunday, March 3, as well as the daddy of them all – the 35th Annual 2 day Snow Mountain Stampede March 9 and 10, your only opportunity in the country to be the boss and ski a 50K classic and 50k Skate race in one weekend.

Happy skiing.

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