Granby " Snow Mountain Ranch hosts Stampede on Saturday |

Granby " Snow Mountain Ranch hosts Stampede on Saturday

Grand County’s premier Nordic skiing event of the winter takes place this Saturday as the 25th Annual Alpina-Rossignol Snow Mountain Stampede ski marathon returns to the YMCA of the Rockies near Granby.

Considered one of the best cross-country ski marathons in the nation, the Snow Mountain Stampede features 42-kilometer races for both classic and freestyle skiing techniques.

“We already have 150 skiers registered,” said Jeff Schmidt, Nordic Center director at Snow Mountain Ranch-YMCA of the Rockies. “But from past experience, we know that most of the skiers usually wait until the last minute to register. We’re expecting anywhere between 300 to 350 skiers to race Saturday.”

The first-place winners in the men’s and women’s classes in both the 42K classic and skating races will win a portion of the $1,000 cash prize.

Along with the cash, several of the top ski racers will be trying to win valuable points in the annual Colorado Cup Series. The Stampede is the 11th event in this year’s series.

In addition to the 42K races, the Stampede is also offering 21K classic and freestyle races, and a 10K freestyle race. The top finishers in those races will win merchandise prizes.

“We will have three mass starts Saturday morning,” Schmidt said. “The 42K and 21K classic skiers will start together at 9:30 a.m. The 42K freestyle skiers will follow at 10 a.m. Finally, the 21K and 10K freestyle racers will start together at 10:15 a.m. The start times may be subject to change.”

The Stampede’s race course is the same as previous years. It is comprised of a 21K loop that the 42K racers will ski twice. Participants in the 10K race will be skiing two 5K loops. The finish areas for all races is directly in front of the Nordic Center.

Children ages 10 and under will also have the chance to compete Saturday in a free 2K race that starts at 9 a.m. The kids will be doing two 1K loops in the meadow in front of the Nordic Center.

“The idea is hold it right before the marathon and where everybody can see it to cheer on the kids,” Schmidt said. “We’re also offering free rentals to those kids who don’t have their own ski equipment because the more kids we have skiing in it the better. We’ll also have prizes for them.”

The awards ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday.

Snow Mountain Ranch has a real party planned during Saturday’s event. A D.J. will be playing music for the public’s enjoyment until 4 p.m. A barbecue will be served outside the Nordic Center where picnic tables will be set up.

“We’re expecting springlike weather Saturday morning with the temperatures predicted in the upper 30s and 40s,” Schmidt said. “So we’ve planned a Colorado beach party with music and a barbecue.”

Along with the food offered in the outdoors barbecue, those attending Saturday’s event can also find food and drink at the Skinny Ski Cafe located in the upper floor of the Nordic Center.

Race-day registration will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Saturday in the upper floor of the Nordic Center.

Registration is also taking place tonight, Friday, Feb. 29, from 4-9 p.m. at the Nordic Center. Those planning to race can not only register, but pick up their race packets.

Along with Friday night’s registration and race packet pickup, the public is invited to shop for ski equipment and clothing being offered as part of the “Stampede Sale” hosted by the Nordic Center.

“We’re having a 40 percent-off sale on boots, skis, poles, clothing, you-name-it,” Schmidt said. “You can outfit yourself for next year.”

Also during Friday night’s registration and sale, live music will be offered starting at 4 p.m. The “Rambling Trail Pickers” will be performing Applanchian folk music.

On Saturday morning, the public is encouraged to park in the ranch’s outlying parking areas because the Nordic Center’s parking lot is expected to fill up quickly. Shuttle buses will take participants to and from the Nordic Center.

Volunteers are also being sought to help during Saturday’s events. They will be manning the three feeding stations located on the race course and doing other tasks.

Volunteers are asked to report to the Nordic Center from 8 to 8:30 a.m Saturday. Volunteers will receive free Stampede T-shirts and lunch.

For more information, call the Nordic Center at 887-2152, ext. 4173.

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