Grand Lake Nordic Center sits on more than 500 acres below the Rocky Mountain National Park and next to the Colorado River. It feels like the River flows through your soul as you stand looking down on the Colorado flowing under one of the two new bridges built by the touring center.
The other bridge takes you over the Red Top Valley Ditch. The Winding River Trail is delightful to ski, very user friendly. The new piston bully adds that touch of perfection to good snow that makes for a perfectly groomed trail system. Weather permitting the Nordic Center hopes to be open by Thanksgiving. Remember they are dog friendly and have designated trails for your faithful companion.
The lodge was recently remodeled and the ski shop has all new ski boots and some new skis as well. The addition of new trails, including a new beginner single-track used in summer for mountain biking, hiking, and Fido of course, have really given the place a facelift, offering something for everyone. Try out the new single track trail to the Colorado River.
The dog loop has tripled in size and the new picnic tables and benches make you feel welcome and invite you to relax. It just feels good as the 35 kilometers of trails wind in and out of the Rec District property to the neighboring private land where owners have allowed ski access for more than 30 years greatly expanding the terrain.
Enjoy soup, chili and libations while relaxing in front of a warm cozy fire in the recently renovated lodge. Play inside game boards, not just for kids. The tubing hill visible from the lodge is free and tubes are available or bring your own.
Don't miss out -- the early bird season pass is available until Dec. 10 for $100. After Dec. 10 the cost goes up to $120. Children can get a season pass for just $20, which is discounted to $15 if purchased with an adult pass.
Trail fees are $13 daily and only $5 for 16 and under. Five day punch cards and half day rates are also available. The rental shop has all new boots and some new skis added to their equipment to rent plus equipment, clothes and other gear and accessories for sale.
The first event of the season will be Locals Day with free trail passes. Date will be announced when the snow base improves.
The first full moon ski of the season is Dec. 28 from 5-9 p.m. with chili served in the main lodge. They always have a campfire with complimentary hot chocolate and marshmallows but please call ahead for weather conditions. Kids free ski lesson Fridays will be available but you must call the Nordic Center to sign up, 970-627-8008. Local kids 16 and under ski free on Fridays except holidays.
Grand Nordic free ski lessons are offered Dec. 16 to everyone with free trail passes and rental equipment to all Nordic Club members. Preregistration is required through the Nordic Center to reserve your lesson space and if you need to reserve equipment.
More information is available on the Rec District website, www.grandlakerecreation.com, or call the Nordic Center at 627-8008.
Snow Mountain Ranch season opener
The Snow Mountain Season Opener race scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 17,has been canceled. The trail system at this point is ski-able for the anxious, but there is not enough snow to host the event. Blue Ridge Road will be open Monday and is in good early season condition with 100 percent coverage. Repeat: The road is not open until Monday, Nov. 19. The ski shop will open this weekend, and the new piston bully is on the way.
Denver University Nordic coaches Dave Stewart and Hakon Johansen will host a Nordic clinic at the ranch on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 10 a.m. Visit http://blog.ymcarockies.org/ for more information.