Time to enjoy what nature is bringing us. This time last year the Nordic areas were struggling but the small storms are lining up and hopefully keep coming this year. This means water for the valley in the summer to come. Conditions are excellent all over Grand County whether groomed tracks in the Nordic areas or the incredible High Country. Temperature swings are huge - it can be double digits below when you wake up and T-shirt weather in the afternoon. Winds blow in weather changes fast and furious so you must be prepared more than ever.
I cannot stress enough the dangers of avalanches, even in familiar terrain, as evidenced at Cameron Pass last week when yet another young skier lost his life. And the two skiers caught were experienced backcountry skiers who even carried avalanche beacons. One was lucky but remains hospitalized in fair condition. Their dog has not yet been found.
The upcoming Snowball events at the Winter Park Resort hopefully mean lots of people for the downhill areas and lots of visitors in our towns. Volunteers are needed everywhere and you can hook up to help through the Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce at 970-726-4118. Or plan to Nordic ski and escape the crowds in our scenic parks and Nordic areas. Remember to ask permission before going into private lands, ski with a buddy and let people know where you are going. Be prepared with extra clothes, food and water and pack out what you pack in. Don't make someone who cares that our lands remain beautiful pick up your trash later.
YMCA Snowmountain Ranch Nordic Center
Madshus Snow Mtn Stampede Marathon was glorious and warm for the cheering onlookers as the sun went in and out of the clouds for the Freestyle races on Saturday while the winds picked up for the Classic races on Sunday. The course was a new 10.5K loop with both downhill start and finish that eliminated road crossings and the need to carry water and gear for the racers yet passed the Nordic center four times to delight the spectators. All participants were treated both days to a BBQ picnic and loads of raffle prizes from the many sponsors.
Skate events on Saturday -
The 42K Men's Skate on Saturday was won by Matt Huntze from Boulder in 2hr 2min followed in a race to the finish by Nathan Schultz with Eric Meyer and Arnaud Du Pasquier in third and fourth. Top local finishers include Larry Steffen, Dan Batwinas, Dave Cleveland, Patrick Brower, Sean Dee and Jon Kuhns. The 42K Women's race was led by Diana Finkel from South Fork CO in 2hr20min followed by Mia Gaw and Gwynn Barrows. The 21K Men's Skate was won by a landslide by local Shawn Scholl in 59min followed by a pack of TJ Thrasher, Chris Grauch, and local Kyle Boschen. Other locals finishers were Bill Quinlin, Phil Shipman, Elliott Shaw, Theo Loo, and John Laake. The 21K Women's Freestyle was won by Mary Rose from Boulder in 1hr9min, Tina Gini Larter, and local Gretta Foscha. Other local finishers included Tina Wilson, Karen Ishibashi, Lydia Castiello, and former local Diane Legner. The 10K Men's Freestyle was dominated by young people 19 and under led by Albert Steiner from Laramie in 38 minutes, followed by local Sebastian Brower, Greg Townsend and local Wil Cleveland. The 10K Women's Freestyle was won by Madelyn Zander from Evergreen in 41min followed by Cathy Chittum and Angela Brickman. Local Caroline O'Meara was in the middle of the pack. Local Sylvia Brower won the coveted stuffed Lion for the Kids 2K race followed by Davis Kruger and Wil Thorpe. Other local finishers were Taylor Lahrman, Sierra Jamison, and Adrian Brower.
Classic events on Sunday-
Sunday's 42K Male Classic was won by Vegard Kjoelhamar in 2hr13min in a close battle with Arnaud Du Pasquier from Boulder. Matt Huntz and Levin Zars battled for 3rd and 4th. Maria Wik from Lafayette won the Women's 42K Classic in 3hrs30min followed by Diana Finkel and Laura Johnson. Local Shawn Scholl again blew away the field for a 1hr3min win in the 21K Men's Classic followed by Alex Rosenberry and TJ Thrasher. Locals Bill Quinlin, Vincent Call, and John Westerlund also finished. Tina Gini Larter from Boulder led the Women's 21K Classic in 1hr19min followed by Sue Griffith, Paula Marish and locals Tina Wilson, Karen Ishibashi, and Drea Kasianchuk. The 10K Men's Classic was won by Frank Barry in 45min followed by Steve Lynn and Brendan O'Brian, Madelyn Zander captured the10K Women's Classic in 45min followed by Steph Race and Mary Barry. The 10K Classic Adaptive was won by Oksana Masters in 50min followed by Beth Requist. The 2K Kids Classic was won by Madison Larter in 6Min followed by Sylvia Brower, Zack Later, Emily hoffmeiser and Kenneth Hoffmeister.
Combined two-day totals -
Many skiers skied both days combining their times for the overall event. Quite an accomplishment in anyone's book! The combined 42K Classic/42K Freestyle was won by Arnaud Du Pasquier, Matt Huntze, and Vegard Kjoelhamar. The combined 21K Classic/21K Freestyle was won by local Shawn Scholl, TJ Thrasher and Alex Rosenberry. Many thanks to the YMCA staff, groomers, sponsors and MANY volunteers who make an national event like this possible. And thanks to the many coaches and parents who give their time throughout the season as well
Snow conditions continue to be excellent with fantastic grooming so come enjoy the snow. Every Wednesday SMR offers free skiing for locals. Just show your drivers license! The last individual Biathlon is Mar 16. Check the website www.coloradobiathlon.org for details.
Free Waxing Clinics Saturday mornings 9:30 to 10:30am continue through March 30, 2013. Learn basic waxing techniques and ski maintenance to increase your enjoyment of cross country skiing. Rotating subjects each week. Call the Nordic Center at 888-573-9622 for schedule. Meet people afterwards for skiing.
Devils Thumb Ranch Activity Center
Prepare your skis for the end of the season March 23 from3-4p. Come and enjoy a waxing clinic hosted by Igor Guziur activities manager. It is time to get those skis ready for the end of the season. This waxing clinic is an opportunity to learn more about how to take care of your skis and how to prepare and store them over the summer so they are ready to use at the start of next season. There will be wine refreshments. Igor will be there with stations setup for waxing. Bring your skis and get hands on practice preparing your skate or classic skis for the following day or next season.
Grand Lake Nordic Center
Enjoy the scenic views of Rocky Mountain National Park and the Arapahoe National Forest at the Grand Lake Nordic Center. We offer the beginner to advanced skier a variety of terrain on 35 km of classic and skate skiing trails. The terrain and trails are also excellent for snowshoeing, and we have a dedicated dog loop and kid's tubing hill! The GLMRD Nordic Center is a full-service, outdoor winter destination featuring our ski and snowshoe rentals, lessons, a retail shop, and a winter soup kitchen at the Lodge.
Grand Nordic is the countywide Nordic ski club that promotes Cross Country skiing for kids, schools, and all ages. We promote free lessons for kids at each of the major Nordic areas and help fund the programs at elementary school, middle school and high school. We provide three free lessons for everyone each year, one each at Devils Thumb, Grand Lake and the YMCA including free trail pass and equipment for Nordic club members. We now provide an annual Trek for those who want to experience the private ranches and farmland while supported by aid stations and patrollers. Membership is 25.00 per individual and 35.00 for an entire family. Visit the website www.grandnordic.org to sign up or just check out the various skiing opportunities. Call Diana Lynn Rau, President, 970-887-0547 for more information.