Grand Nordic: How do you plan to do the Ranch2Ranch Trek this year?
Grand Nordic president
Grand County residents managed to avoid gatherings, wear masks, stay apart and reduce the COVID numbers over the holidays. They kept family and visitors under control, and the numbers of infected people went down.
Our people either just stayed home or headed to the fields of white, rolling hills, and mountaintops that Grand County is so famous for. Hopefully, the trend continues and we can avoid a spike in the next couple of weeks.
So many traditional events that have been a normal part of our lives have been missing and social interaction has been pretty nonexistent. Well, kids 5-10 years old now have the opportunity to join the annual Grand Nordic Free Friday lessons at the YMCA-Snow Mountain Ranch. The lessons start Jan. 22 and run through Feb. 26, except on Presidents Day weekend.
New this year, you must preregister at http://www.SnowMountainRanch.org. Parents are encouraged to help and will be given equipment and a trail pass for the duration of the lesson. A maximum of 20 kids are allowed, and COVID-19 restrictions will apply.
Grand Nordic also has a plan for our annual fundraiser — the Ranch2Ranch Nordic Trek — scheduled for Feb. 6. Check our website at http://www.grandnordic.org for updates and changes.
During the trek, we plan to ski from Granby Ranch to Snow Mountain Ranch, which is about 12 kilometers. With COVID-19 restrictions, we cannot include lunch or transportation. However, we are still planning to man two aid station tables and will have lots of fruit, cookies, energy bars, and warm energy drinks or water for you to take off the table, along with maybe a couple of surprises along the way.
You and a close friend or family member can carpool or leave a car at both ends, but I would challenge you to start and ski to the first or second aid station before turning around and skiing back to where you started.
The end at Snow Mountain Ranch has a hill down to the Nordic center — so don’t just go down but turn around at the top and go back down the hill you just skied up! That hill has great turns and who needs two cars? Some people skied the whole distance last year, did all the hills and turned around and skied back. One gal did the course four times to practice for a marathon … crazy!
Our plan is for online registration with printable waivers so you can bring a signed copy, check in at our tent and flag at the base of Granby Ranch, verify your name from a safe distance, and get your bib to signify you are on course.
Once on the course, you can climb our private corridor up the beginner downhill Deer trail to the fabulous Pirouette trail meandering through the woods over to the aid station. There you can grab a snack or drink off the table and head across Traci’s Trail and the Fraser to Granby Trail to Tim’s Tunnel under US Highway 40 and the second aid station.
This time I recommend the cookies and some orange slices. It’s a trek — no timing, no pressure — so enjoy the beautiful scenery.
The next section will be the SMR trails. At the top of Adun is a great 360-degree view of the entire valley that’s well worth the climb. If your car is parked at Granby Ranch, you can turn around at the top and zoom back down, meandering on the trail through the NSCD Riding Center and back to Tim’s Tunnel.
This time I recommend two cookies — or ski on down to the SMR Nordic Center and turn in your bib at the starter shack to say, “I’m done!” At this point, it could be time to hit the sales at the SMR Nordic center.
You can also turn around at anytime to return to Granby Ranch, so it’s a question of how far can you go? You can push yourself a bit if you want because we will have medical personnel ready to help if needed. Or you can just park a car at the Tim’s Tunnel parking lot. The choice is yours.
Grand Nordic, Granby Ranch and Snow Mountain Ranch are working with the Grand County Department of Health to make sure all we are planning is safe for participants, volunteers and staff. Stay tuned for full approval and cost to participate.
Grand Nordic has now provided ski equipment to all the preschools, elementary school programs and rec department programs in the county. We even teach those teachers how to ski. We have helped the middle school and high school programs with equipment and scholarships for the kids who cannot afford the fees and equipment to ski. We provide scholarships to the kids who apply to the Competition Center for more competitive programs.
This Ranch2Ranch fundraiser and our membership fees support all those activities, so come support our efforts. Volunteer or ski the trek yourself. It’s time for a little contactless fun.
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As kids are heading back to school, the youngest members of our community, who are not yet old enough to start kindergarten, are often chomping at the bit to learn, play, and grow.