Rau: Nordic adventures and events
What a difference the weather can make! Saturday was a fabulous day for the Ranch2Ranch Trek! Two years ago, we had 40 mile per hour winds and a blizzard, Last year it was 40 degrees calm and sunny. This year was again calm and in the teens – spectacular and clear and perfect for Nordic Classic skiing! The cold night before glazed the packed snow and made the gradual climb from the Granby Ranch Base Lodge to the Val Moritz switchbacks a welcome warmup. The great double track finishing touch put on the trail by Bill Pierce from Snow Mountain Ranch made it easy to climb and chat with your friends. The High Road rolled up and down and occasional hoofprints crossed the trail reminding you that you were really in wild country. The views coming out of the woods onto the Fraser to Granby Trail, the great stretch of willows across Fisher Creek and into Tim’s Tunnel (which was well packed with snow and even tracked!)) and the wide open beautiful countryside of the YMCA with it’s 360 degree panoramas were so gorgeous! We all considered ourselves lucky to live and play here. I skied the course backwards from the SMR Nordic Center with Cyrille, our volunteer coordinator, and Duke, the dog pulling the sled, holding the signage materials and spoke with everyone along the way gathering their comments. Consensus was the Ranch2Ranch Trek was well coordinated, well signed and well groomed. It was an event not to be missed! The BBQ offered at the end was fabulous and everyone went home happy. Youth skiing in Grand County got a big funding boost that day and we want to thank everyone who skied and everyone who volunteered their time to help this event succeed. Every one of you made a difference!
Town to Town Adventures
With the popularity of the Stagecoach Classic which goes from Devils Thumb to Winter Park and the Ranch2Ranch which goes from Granby Ranch to Snow Mountain Ranch, people need to think about skiing town to town. Last year, Charlie and I went with our friend Gail to explore the grooming done by Mountain States Cats in Winter Park and Fraser. Their special cat groomer runs from the Winter Park Resort to behind Safeway Center and the trail showed the extra love. We parked at Beavers and Grand Adventures parking lot and hopped on the Fraser River Trail skate skiing up to Trademark. Then we turned and glided back down. The grade is perfect for someone learning to skate ski as it is a gradual slope with long straight-aways and some fun turns. Lots of people were on the trail – some skiing, some snowshoeing, some walking with their dogs – all acceptable uses of the winter trail. Even with multiple footprints, the surface was packed and very skiable. More people need to pay attention to picking up after their pooch but the snow remained firm and beautiful.
We crossed the road beside the Grand Adventures building and parking lot and skied out east of the town into beautiful meadows and crossed the sparkling Fraser River. The snow was great and you could put your back to the condos at the edge of town and feel like you were out in the wilderness. There was a cutoff to Hideaway Park and Chamber of Commerce parking lot for easy access from the center of town. We glided by the spot where the old Idlewild barn housed the Nordic Ski area and where the Idewild Lodge used to be where Charlie and I got married 30-some years ago. The base of the old downhill ski area was up the hillside and trails still wind down the face where kids once learned to ski. It brought back many memories of the races held there in the 80’s and the times we skied over to the newly developing Devils Thumb – on much of the trail used for the Stagecoach Classic a couple of weeks ago.
Trail adjustments have been made in Rendezvous so we were able to keep skiing and follow the trail signs, connecting into the part of the trail passing behind St Bernard’s Catholic Church and right into the Fraser River trail between Winter Park and Fraser. We made it all the way to behind Safeway where we walked out to the front of Changes and caught the bus back up to the Winter Park Resort, caught the parking lot bus which dropped us off just beyond Adolph’s at the lower road to Trademark and put our skis back on to ski back down to Beavers. We did it all in a couple of hours with trails connecting the towns and using the public transportation to get back to start. What a circle! What fun! We decided the time fixing the trail and money invested by the towns for the grooming was money well spent.
We usually spend much more time on the Fraser to Granby Trail west of the Fraser Ball Fields and Ice Rink. John Brammer has been the mainstay volunteer groomer taking his machine from Fraser ballfields all the way to Tabernash, Tim’s Tunnel, Fisher Creek and on to Val Moritz and Granby Ranch. All this is free skiing and just begging you to hop on the groomed surface, now sporting a classic track all the way! Many Thanks to John and Tidd Tech for the new Tidd Tech groomer donated to Headwaters Trails Alliance! The community appreciates your support.
Saturday February 20 is the next Moonlight Ski/Snowshoe event this season at Pole Creek Gold Club 5 to 9 PM. Follow the solar lights around the course and join others at the bonfire for complimentary Hot chocolate and Star Gazing. Reservations are recommended for Bistro 28 – please call 970-887-9797 or 970-887-9195.
Get your tickets now for the Moonlight Progressive Ski Dinner Saturday, February 20 at the YMCA Snow Mtn Ranch. Tickets are $60.00 for adults and $20.00 for 15 and under for this Nordic ski adventure starting at the Nordic Center, off to the Rowley Homestead for appetizers and wine, next a pleasant ski to the yurts for soup, then on to the Indian Peaks lodge for dinner prepared by Wild Horse Catering, a silent auction and music by Sasquatch Mountain Project. The loop is about 4 miles. Tickets are available at http://www.grandhuts.org/about/events. Volunteers are still needed.
Sunday, February 14 Grand Lake is offering Valentines 2-for-1 Trail Passes. Bring your sweetie out for a special day in the beautiful outdoors! Or come out Saturday, February 20 for a Full Moon Ski | 5pm – 9pm featuring adult beverages at the bonfire, in addition to the usual complimentary hot chocolate and marshmallows! Plus red chili will be served in the lodge from 5pm to 9pm. Trail passes will be only $5 and rentals will be $10 – or – if you skied that day your trail pass is good for the evening! And Sunday, February 21 is the annual Romp & Stomp for Grand County Pet Pals – Bring your furry friends for a great fundraising event in support of the Grand County Pet Pals and their mission toward promoting responsible pet ownership and spay/neuter campaign. $10 per person and for $5 more you can use the Nordic trails all day on the day of the event. There will be a silent auction, hot cocoa and desserts to enjoy too! For more details about the event or Grand County Pet Pals, please visit gcpetpals.org
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Due to current public health guidance, there will not be an in-person wilderness campsite lottery for Rocky Mountain National Park this year.