Diana Lynn Rau: Grand Nordic events
The Cottonwood Pass Mailbag Trek on Feb. 11 is the kickoff to the Grand Winter Carnival closing ceremony. The Trek official start is 10 a.m. and goes 8 miles from the Old Coulter House Post Office at the west base of Red Dirt Hill, over Cottonwood Pass, through beautiful hay meadows, aspen groves and sagebrush fields, ending at the Hot Sulphur Springs Fire House. Snow is much better than earlier in the season and the views are gorgeous. Since parking is limited, park your car in Hot Sulphur Springs at the museum and catch the free Lift shuttle back to the Post Office at 8:30 a.m. or 9:15 a.m. Start after you register; light touring skis recommended. Snowshoes and dogs are welcome, but allow more time for the route. Aid station and medics will be enroute at the top of the pass and the Fire House or the Byran Mountain Nordic Patrol. Women are required to carry a backpack of at least 10 pounds and men 15 pounds to represent the mail. Again, please respect private property and use this opportunity to see some of our backcountry. Call 970-887-0547 for more information. Sign up for the trek with a $20 donation to Grand Nordic at http://www.granddddnordic.org or $30 registration at 9-10 a.m. at the Coulter House Post Office on Feb. 11. Old-time costumes and equipment are encouraged. Then, march in the parade in Hot Sulphur at 1:30 p.m. and win prizes. Check out the various events and festivities scheduled at http://www.grandwintercarnival.com.YMCA Snow Mountain RanchThe popular Salomon Classic Race is on Feb. 11. Sign up for either the Kids 2K, 5K Adaptive, 7.5K or 15K Mens and Womens races by going to http://www.ymcarockies.org/smrnordic to register. Jessie’s Dragonfly Snowshoe Race is at 11 a.m. on Feb. 12. This 5K snowshoe race gives that after-holidays exercise people crave while raising money for Jessie’s Heart Foundation and Children’s Hospital Colorado Heart Institute. There will be contests for best costume, largest group and more. For more information contact Jacqueline Lindley at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 720-777-1712.YMCA offers free skiing for Grand County locals on Wednesdays with free kids ski lessons at 1 p.m. on both Friday and Sunday afternoons in January and February. For those needing equipment, please arrive at least 15 minutes early. Parents are encouraged to help out.Colorado Biathlon will hold the last rifle safety certification clinic of the season on Feb. 5. State championships are at the YMCA on Feb.18 (Sprint) and 19 (Relay). For more information, go to coloradobiathlon.org. Devil’s Thumb RanchFeb. 4 is a full moon ski skate and snowshoe event for everyone. The next skijouring clinic is Feb. 5 – learn to ski with your dog. Equipment is available. Call 970-726-8231 for details on these events.Get your tickets now for the 9th Annual Grand Huts Moonlight Progressive Ski Dinner Feb 4. Great food, wine and camaraderie. Tickets are still available online at http://www.grandhuts.org or call 970-726-4099. Benefits go to the new Broome Hut on Second Creek. Volunteers are needed.The Rocky Mountain Orienteering club is hosting Ski Orienteering and Snowshoe Orienteering on Saturday, Feb. 11, offering beginner, intermediate and advanced courses. Details and registration available at http://www.rmoc.org.Devils Thumb offers free kids lessons at 10 a.m. on Fridays in January and February. Please arrive at least 15 minutes early if equipment is needed. A one-time $20 fee applies for hot chocolate and program fee.Grand Lake Nordic CenterFull-moon skiing on Feb. 4 features complimentary hot chocolate and marshmallows by the campfire from 5-9 p.m. Call 970-627-8008 for details. Also, Grand County kids ski free on Fridays. Fraser-to-Granby trailConditions are reasonable from YMCA underpass to Tabernash, Tabernash to the Fraser Ballfields, as well as County Road 8 on the Fraser River Trail to the Winter Park Resort. Grooming is done by volunteers when possible, but have patience as much of the trail is very affected by the winds. Trails from the top of CR 87 or Lions Lane to the cross-country trails at SolVista are good light touring. Parking is available at the top of 87 and SolVista welcomes you to their cross-country trails. Watch out for falling and fallen trees. If you can volunteer to help, please call Andy Miller at 970-726-4099 or Diana Lynn Rau at 970-887-0547. Above all, be courteous to landowners and respect private property.High school Nordic skiingHigh winds and cold temperatures were nothing new for the Middle Park High School Nordic ski team this weekend as they raced a classic meet at Eldora ski area. Thankfully, most of the trees are still standing on that side of the divide, and there was also a nice snow base to ski on. The race was a 5 km classic, with an individual start format. The Panther women finished 4th out of 12 teams racing, with Seraphina Smith finishing 5th, Jenna Curran 12th, Linnea Zink 16th, Elly Zietz 18th and Amelia Clancy in 21st, all above the state qualifying line for classic. Captain Sydney Markle skied well, improving about a minute on her previous finishes this season. Middle Park High School has two “skimeisters” this season, Lexie Sutcliffe and Carly Frick. These two ambitious women are competing in both Nordic and alpine skiing and both had good Nordic races as they continue to develop their technique.For the men, Taber Miyauchi took 9th, with Steve Simmons (11th), Colby Zink (14th), Cole Conger (21st) and Daniel Kopp (23rd) all finishing within a minute of Taber and all above the state qualifying line for classic. The Panther men finished 5th out of 13 teams. New skiers Jason Tarr, Remi Olsson and Scott Crawford all had strong finishes and continue to show improvement. The Panthers will race again next weekend near Breckenridge, at the Gold Run Nordic center, in a mass start freestyle meet hosted by Summit High School.It was a great showing for both the East Grand Middle School boys and girls teams on the windy trails of Eldora, Jan. 28, during the 3K Classic. The girls claimed top honors with 175 points. Led by first place skier Callie Hale, 3rd Georga Feek & 4th Chelsea McManigal. Sophia Koepke turned it up a notch, gliding to an 8th place finish. On the boys side, they tied Lake County for 1st place honors. First-year skier and tallest boy on the trails, Elliot Shaw, led the charge with a 3rd place finish. He was followed by 4th place Theo Loo and 8th place Mark Knight. The middle school Nordic Cubs head into their last race of the season on Saturday, Feb. 4, a 3K Mass Start Skate Race at Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge.For more information on races and to volunteer, contact MPHS coach Dave Zink at email@example.com or East Grand Middle School coach Karen Waschle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both teams will go to Eldora for Individual Classic racing on Jan 28. New this year, check results and schedules on http://www.egsd.org, click on schools and athletics.
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The Mustangs cross country team trudged through a muddy 5K Saturday morning during the West Grand Invitational, a race that slowed times but sent the fun factor through the roof for many of its competitors.