Snowmobile donation from Winter Park Resort utilizes student creation

Lance Maggart
Winter Park Resort donated this snowmobile to MPHS to pull a Nordic trail groomer built by Middle Park students. Middle Park High School Teacher Larry Sanders (left) and Steve Hurlbert, Director of Public Relations at Winter Park Resort.
Photo by Echo Zoyiopoulos |

Nordic skiing is a beloved pastime for many who call the high county home. For most folks in the Granby area that means traveling over the often times dangerous mountain roads to places like Snow Mountain Ranch, Devil’s Thumb Ranch or the Grand Lake Nordic Center.

Now community residents have a new option when it comes to making tracks in the snow as Middle Park High School (MPHS) has begun grooming operations for a short circular Nordic track on the practice fields adjacent the high school. The grooming work has been made possible by a snowmobile donation from Winter Park Resort and the creation of a Nordic trail groomer by students from Middle Park High School’s Skills USA/Technology class and their teacher Larry Sanders.

“We really started this project last year by welding a Nordic course groomer for a Nordic track,” explained MPHS Principal Thom Schnellinger. “The kids made the plans and built it. We were looking for a machine to pull the groomer and Winter Park Resort graciously stepped forward and provided us with a snow machine with enough power to pull our groomer.”

The Nordic groomer was built by students from the Skills USA/Technology class from MPHS including: senior Noah Daniels, Ryan McClain, Jacob Kacik, Ryan Robinson and Daniel Kamer.

“Any opportunity we have to give back to the community, and especially to a school district, is something we relish,” said Steve Hurlbert, Director of Public Relations at Winter Park Resort.

“We look at this more as an investment than a donation. By investing in vocational education we hope the kids who are working on the snowmobile for the high school may someday be working on our snowmobiles or snowcats. We are hoping to groom some future Winter Park employees.”

Hurlbert praised Middle Park teacher Larry Sanders as the impetus behind the donation and the trail groomer. Sanders also works for Winter Park Resort during the summer months and reached out to the resort about the possibility of a snowmobile donation.

“We have been working on it for a while and are thrilled we were finally able to do it,” Hurlbert said.

The value of the donated snowmobile is $2,500.

The Nordic trail on MPHS’s practice field is open to the public for use after school hours. The new Nordic track will not impact MPHS’s current relationship with Snow Mountain Ranch, where the MPHS Nordic team trains.

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