Diana Lynn Rau: YMCA race rescheduled, Carnival trek a success
Grand County, CO Colorado
The Annual YMCA Classic Race originally set for Saturday, Jan. 7, is being rescheduled – groomers do not feel they can provide consistent connecting track for the entire loop to make a quality course. Watch for new date.
Kids program starts this Friday and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the YMCA. Volunteers are needed to help teach – please call Diana Lynn Rau at 970-887-0547 or Chris Lee at 970-887-2152 ext 4173.
Devil’s Thumb has free kids skiing this weekend for ages 12 and under and will start their kids program on Friday, Jan. 13, at 10 a.m. Call 970-726-8231 for more information.
Grand Winter Carnival trek a success
The sunrise was gorgeous on Corona on Friday, Dec. 30. The snowmobilers took trekkers and their escorts to the Continental Divide just as the train had delivered Howelson and Schmidt 100 years ago. After pictures were taken to document the re-enactment, the trekkers came down the railroad grade just as before. And the historic day was reborn.
After a speedy descent past the old trestle, the Ranch Creek Y where the old trains turned around, the 5 way intersection and the old town of Arrow, the trekkers turned into Idlewild past the old lifts into the base area and on to Rendezvous and the Fraser River Trail. They arrived early to Cozens Ranch with grins on their faces a mile wide. Cameras clicked as the trekkers, outfitted in historic garb, crossed the bridge into our own part of history.
Clint Roberts, Roger Hedlund, Dan Heinz, Steve Stalgren, Jeff Russell and Marie Ange had completed the first leg of the 44 mile trek with escorts from the Bryan Mountain Nordic Ski Patrol, and all would go on to finish in Hot Sulphur. They were greeted again in Fraser at the Pinnacle Hotel and the Walk through History Park with banners from the Sons of Norway. Escorted by the East Grand Fire department, the trekkers and escorts crossed Highway 40 and took the Fraser to Granby Trail to Tabernash where the Shining Stars welcomed them. They forged on, cruising over Red Dirt Hill and into the YMCA arriving as almost 150 other skiers were starting the 12-plus-mile Citizen Trek over private lands and Cottonwood Pass into Hot Sulphur Springs.
The whole experience was unbelievable, the scenery was spectacular – the looks on the skiers’ faces told it all as the throngs struggled through the Cottonwood Pass Road aid station. For most, the effort to make the challenging trek from the YMCA to Hot Sulphur Springs was worth it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a part of the world the trekkers had never seen before and would never see again. With limited snow cover, the Trek was not at all easy and participants are to be congratulated. Several places had to be walked either from lack of snow or steep conditions. At least the wind was still and the temperatures warm. As light faded and temperatures dropped, some areas became icy and even dangerous. Yet most persevered, just like their forefathers. Mountain people are like that. And Hot Sulphur welcomed them all with a bonfire, speeches, food, drink and fireworks.
It took many people working together for many months to make this happen and our community can be proud. Not everything worked according to plan, especially Mother Nature, but all proudly survived with only one broken ski and one broken pole documented. People jumped in to help and groomers found snow.
A partnership of the Winter Carnival Committee, Grand County Historical Association, TV 18, Grand County Tourism Board, Grand Adventures, FVPT, Grand Nordic, HTA, YMCA Nordic Center, Grand Huts, Bryan Mountain Nordic Patrol, Cozens Ranch, Sons of Norway, Pinnacle Hotel, Chamber of Commerce, towns, East Grand Fire Dept, FVMRD, Grand County Search and Rescue, Shining Stars, City Market, people who donated old clothing and equipment, more than a dozen private landowners and scores of private individual volunteers combined to make this incredible event happen. And the list goes on and on. Kudos to groomers Charlie Rau, Andy Miller, Dave Knisley, Tom Merkt, Sean and rest of the YMCA groomers for their dedication to find a usable trail with snow! Because of Thursday’s wind, they even went ahead of the trekkers to make sure there was a trail to follow. Special thanks to my angel Alan who visited for one night and without one complaint helped me put together aid station supplies by candlelight when my power was taken out by a falling tree. I could keep going for another page but my greatest supporter was my wonderful husband Charlie.
Yes, Alan, to most of us, it was all worth it. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a different world courteously allowed by gracious landowners. We ask all to respect their privacy in the future. It was not easy but that’s sometimes the way life is. For those who want to see part of it again, Grand Nordic is presenting the Mailbag Trek on Saturday, Feb. 11, as the closing event of the Grand Winter Carnival. This is less than eight miles from the Old Coulter House Post Office at the western base of Red dirt Hill, paralleling Cottonwood Pass Road over to Hot Sulphur. Go to http://www.grandnordic.org to sign up. Meanwhile, check the Carnival Website for all the events happening almost daily – http://www.grandwintercarnival.com/events.
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The U.S. Forest Service has given initial approval to Loveland Ski Area to expand its terrain and parking in Arapaho National Forest.