Grand Nordic Corner: Fate of Grand County trails
Grand Nordic Corner
When summer biking and hiking season ends, it’s time to set the final stage for winter activities. These days it’s winter fat biking, hiking or snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Nordic Centers with groomed trails pray for enough snow early to get started on grooming. But before that happens, they must clear and even mow their trails. They try to finish construction on new trails or facilities in a timely fashion.
On our public trails through Grand County, Headwaters Trails Alliance with the aid of volunteers works hard all summer to help local government agencies keep up with trail clearing and other maintenance as well as new construction. The funding provided by the recently passed Issue 1A can help that work tremendously and I congratulate our country voters for finally providing a regular funding source for maintenance of our rivers, trails, and open space. You have seen a big difference this year in the trail work performed by HTA and their volunteer crews. But our Headwaters Trails Alliance needs a dedicated source of funding to continue to expand what they are capable of doing for trails of all kinds in Grand County. We need to catch up with the other counties in Colorado who depend on trails for tourism. Please encourage your County Commissioner to find a permanent home or department to give HTA the stability it needs to do its job! Send your comments now to your commissioner: firstname.lastname@example.org cell-970-531-8283; email@example.com cell 970-531-4304; firstname.lastname@example.org cell 970-531-0028
The fate of trails in Grand County could depend on your action now. Please make your feelings heard!
Meanwhile the snow gods are blessing us with lots of early white stuff in the high country. Nordic areas are opening along with Alpine areas but the best snow is in the high country. Jeff Russell says it well — see more of his off trail reports at http://www.skigrandnordic.org.
The Nordic season has begun for those skiers hungry to start sliding on snow this year, starkly contrasting last years late start, with some early season snows that are looking like they will stick around on the ground. Mid-October marked the first snowfall of enough consequence to slide around on. Best skiing was found in shaded areas after the initial snowfall, as warm temperatures prevailed between storms.
Several subsequent snowfalls have added sufficiently for less choosy trail selection.
Best depths are found higher up in elevation with 12 to 18 inches average, though thin spots can still be found under thickly branched trees.
Rock skis are still recommended as any base from the mid-October storms is spotty. Venturing onto the mountain slopes is still a risky proposition as skiers will still encounter surprises under the thin veil of white.
The first skier-triggered avalanches have already been reported elsewhere in Colorado.
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