Rau: Snow Mountain Ranch opens with great lineup
Grand Nordic president
Snow Mountain Ranch sits on 5,200 acres off US Highway 40 between Tabernash and Granby. It is a year-round playground with over 75 miles of groomed trails for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, tubing, alpine/touring skiing classes and other winter outdoor activities as well as mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, Frisbee golf, zip line, climbing wall, and tubing in the summer.
Renovations in the parking area at the Nordic center are complete for the winter, but construction of the new buildings for Camp Chief Ouray and Activities Center will continue.
Snow Mountain Ranch is considered one of the best-groomed Nordic centers in the country, and you can cross country ski usually from mid-November until mid-April. The terrain can accommodate everyone from the first-time skier to the elite racer. Be sure to ski with your dog on the dog-friendly loops next to the Nordic Center, but remember leashes are required. This year the Nordic center opened Nov. 16.
The center’s full-service ski shop is where you will find great deals on lessons and rental packages. They also have the latest gear and apparel for sale. To re-energize, visit the Skinny Ski Café, which is opening soon, and enjoy a light snack or warm up with a bowl of soup and a sandwich. Learn to ski with one of their instructors or rent a chariot and let the rhythm of skiing put your child to sleep.
A one-year family or individual membership is $250 or three years for $600 and includes cross country skiing, sledding, winter tubing, and ice skating. You can rent cross country ski equipment, as well as performance gear, fat bikes and snowshoes at the Nordic center and, with a membership, you also get discounts on lodging. Regular trail fees for adults are $25 per day, but Grand Nordic members receive a discounted rate of $22. Children 12 and under can ski for $10, and children 5 and under ski for free. A five-time punch card that can be shared between family members is available for $110. For details on trail pass, equipment rental and group lessons, visit the website http://www.snowmountainranch.org/nordic or call 970-887-2152 ext. 4173. New this year is online signup for Nordic ski lessons. See website for details.
Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center opened last weekend with lots of skiing on upper north facing slopes. Storms on the horizon could change that at any time. Visit the conditions and grooming information page on the website for updates. Learn about backcountry skiing covering modern alpine/touring equipment, basic avalanche safety, terrain management-travel-preparedness and touching on use of avalanche beacon, probe, and shovel in the Intro to backcountry A/T class. Six dates are offered in January, February and March making this a perfect fit for those wanting to ski on their own.
The second of the series of free ski lessons offered by Grand Nordic including free equipment and trail pass for all Nordic Club members is offered Dec. 15. Signups for the free lessons are online at the Snow Mountain Ranch and Grand Nordic websites. The annual Early Season On-Snow camp is Dec. 20-22 while the Snow Mountain Classic Race is Jan. 11. The Grand Nordic Ranch2Ranch Trek Fest on Feb. 8 will start at Snow Mountain Ranch, go over the Fraser to Granby Trail and end at the Granby Ranch or you can even ski back, all benefiting kids Nordic skiing in Grand County. The season winds down with the famed Snow Mountain Stampede featuring both Classic and Skate events on March 14 and 15. Check out the YMCA website at http://www.snowmountainranch.org/nordic for details.
Snow Mountain Ranch will be hosting a Spring Festival on March 21-22. Free snowshoe or Nordic ski guided tours are offered many weekends for most of the winter. See the website events page under Nordic for details.
Colorado Biathlon hails Snow Mountain Ranch as its home venue. Rifle certification clinics are every fall and winter. Several events are held each month starting in December at Snow Mountain Ranch. Check http://www.colorado.biathlon.org/schedule or call 970-887-2152 ext. 4173 for more.
The free Grand Nordic Kids program starts Jan. 10 for kids 5-10 and runs every weekend in January and February ending with a Nordic Festival on Feb. 28. Visit the Grand Nordic website at http://www.grandnordic.org for more information or call Diana Lynn Rau at 970-887-0547.
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