Diana Lynn Rau: Snow makes conditions great for Nordic skiing events
The Nordic season in Grand County with organized treks and races will be drawing to a close in the month of March and, weather permitting, into April.The snow is now coming almost daily and the backcountry can be a beautiful but dangerous place. With the unstable snow in early season, there have been far too many deaths this year already from avalanches in unexpected places.Think about avalanche beacons and new inflation devices and take action if you head into the chutes – no matter how small.Be prepared for the season with extra clothes and food/water. Be sure to tell people where you are going and when you expect to return. And go with a friend.YMCA-Snow Mountain RanchMarch 3-4 is the 29th Annual Snow Mountain Ranch Stampede. This is the first year for a two-day format with the Freestyle 42K, 21K, 10K and 2K children’s race on Saturday and the Classic 42K, 21K, 10K and 2K children’s race on Sunday.Saturday at 6 p.m. the Grand Nordic-sponsored dinner begins at a cost of $14 for adults, $8 for kids 6-12 and features all-you-can-eat meat or veggie lasagna or fish and rice. Come and join the bonfire and moonlight ski. Sign up online for the Stampede races at http://www.ymcarockies.org/smrnordic or the dinner only at http://www.grandnordic.org.YMCA offers free skiing for Grand County locals on Wednesdays. Call the XC Shop for sales on special equipment purchases – 970-887-2152 X 4173.The Colorado Biathlon has an individual competition on March 11. For more Information go to coloradobiathlon.org.Devil’s Thumb RanchDevil’s Thumb offers free kids lessons Fridays at 10 a.m. for the first two Fridays in March for 3- to 10-year-olds. Arrive at least 15 minutes early if equipment is needed. A onetime $20 fee applies for hot chocolate and program fee. The Full Moon Ski and Ice Skating will be March 8 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. featuring $5 Trail Pass or $5 Rental- Bonfire, marshmallows, and hot chocolate.Call 970-726-8231for details on these eventsGrand Lake Nordic CenterCall 970-627-8008 for snow conditions. Grand County kids ski free on Fridays. The annual Romp & Stomp for Grand County Pet Pals is coming March 11 from 10 a.m.-noon and is followed by a Silent Auction with snacks and hot cocoa in the Lodge. You can snowshoe or cross-country ski with your furry friends at the Grand Lake Nordic Center on the designated dog loop. The suggested donation to pet pals is $10 per person. For an additional $5 you may use the other Nordic Trails. Visit gcpetpals.org for more details and to sign up.Fraser to Granby TrailWinds have drifted the trail or blown it clear from Val Moritz to the 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 but the snow is the best of the year. The recent storms have provided good fresh powder.Grooming is done by volunteers when possible but have patience as much of the trail is affected by the winds. All sections are open for XC skiing, snowshoeing or just plain walking with your dog! Please observe dog leash restriction in the Beavers area and pick up after your pooch.Grand Park has been grooming behind the Recreation Center and is a great place to take your break for lunch or whatever with your dog and stop in at the Rec Center for a swim or hot tub. Be courteous to landowners and respect private property. Glide the DivideSteamboat 8th Annual North Routt Coureur des Bois Known as “Glide the Divide,” the Coureur des Bois returns to historic Hahn’s Peak on March 17. This unique and challenging ski marathon has been listed as one of the top 100 toughest sporting events in the world – perhaps the toughest single day ski race anywhere! There is a 90k course for the elite skier, a 45k course for athletes wanting a challenge, and new this year, a 15k course around beautiful Steamboat Lake for the more casual skier. For more information go to http://www.glidethedivide.com or register on-line at http://www.IMAthlete.com.
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