Ah, fickle Mother Nature.
This time last year the Nordic areas were struggling but the small storms keep adding snow by the inches where the more intense sun melts it into our water reserves. Hopefully the storms keep coming this year as the water demands on our Valley are way out of proportion. That means water for the valley in the summer to come. Snow conditions are excellent all over Grand County, whether groomed tracks in the Nordic areas or the incredible High Country. Bare spots do exist where the sun was too much for thin cover, so be careful.- 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. Crust is forming as the snow settles and the cold night temperatures freeze the wet snow from the warm afternoon of the previous day. Crust skiing is a springtime delight as you can travel anywhere that crusty layer will hold you. The true test is if it will hold up your dog from breaking through! This works best while the temps are still no more than teens so go early after a cold night.
I cannot stress enough the dangers of avalanches, even in familiar terrain. Last weekend on the trail to Byers Peak, we saw several places where slides had sloughed almost blocking or wiping out the trail. I was just glad I was not there when they had occurred!
Safest are the Nordic ski areas and our scenic parks. 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 Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center
Snow conditions continue to be excellent with fantastic grooming so come enjoy the snow. Every Wednesday SMR offers free skiing for locals. The last Free Waxing Clinic is Saturday morning 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on March 30. 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 or bring your dog for the great dog loops available. The SMR Nordic Center is looking at April 15 for a closing date depending on snow conditions.
Devils Thumb Ranch Activity Center
Join the festive egg hunt on Easter Sunday and stay for Easter Brunch at Heck's. Reservations recommended. Activities Center - 970-726-8231. The Nordic Center anticipates remaining open until April 15, conditions permitting.
Grand Lake Nordic Center
The Nordic Center closed for the season on March 24. We thank everyone for a wonderful season.
Volunteers are treasured in Grand County
Throughout the winter season, all of our Nordic events have been staged with the assistance of a myriad of volunteers. Some help with clubs and organizations, registration or help desks, grooming, laying out courses and trails, coaching, promotion, and so many other tasks. -Grand County could not exist without the volunteers that keep our activities going. There are too many to name and we don't want to forget anyone.- Thank you many times over for all you do.- If you see a volunteer at work, thank them and even join them.- The pleasure earned from volunteer work is lasting and genuine.- And the world is a much better place...Ask what you can do to help your favorite cause.
Last event at Steamboat march 30
The Steamboat Coureur features cross county events with 10K, 25K, and 50K, Snowbike with 25K or 50K, Snowunicycle with 1K, 5K or 17K and lastly Snowbike and Ski 25K/25K.- Loads of prizes and give a ways.- Go to steamboatcoureur.com for more information.
Nordic world achievements
In the Spring of 2010, I brought four Nordic Combined team members to Grand County to meet the school kids and Grand County public. They had just won the first Nordic Combined team medals in our nation's history at the Winter Olympics. What an inspiration they were then and still are to our population with their stories of how they achieved this incredible goal and the things they had to conquer along the way. The stories are still coming in and these minor miracles are still happening. As a travel agent, I work with kids and coaches all over the Nordic world to help them achieve these goals.- At the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme Italy at the end of February, these same guys, Demong-Lodwig-Taylor and Bryan Fletcher- led the USA to bronze in the Nordic combined team event, the first ever US medal in the team event at World Championships in which each of the four team athletes performed both on the jump and on the cross country track.-For the US Men's Ski Jumping team (another of my clients), Nick Fairall qualified for the world show of Ski Flying at Planica, first American to do so.- Other team members - Anders Johnson and Peter Frenette (coached by Clint Jones) and Chris Lamb, Nick Fairall, Mike Glasder and Nick Alexander (coached by Casey Colby) had best US finishes on record at the Four Hills Tournee, Continental Cups and US cups this winter.- And the Nordic World Juniors are making waves as well. It's an exciting time in Men's ski jumping.
Just as I worked with the celebrated Nordic Combined team members and the USA Ski Jumping team in their formative years, I worked with the newly formed Women's Ski jumping team when they first started about 10 years ago. They were taken in by USSA several years ago. Now two weeks ago they became a part of history in the first time ever that women were allowed to compete on the large hill, or K120, in an International Ski Federation-sanctioned event. And they did it in the cradle of ski jumping - Oslo, Norway - home to the massive concrete and steel Holmenkollen jump, a modern marvel and pride of the nation rumored to cost $100 million to build. Women and men ski jumpers took turns in their competition rounds, putting on a flight show for the 30,000 people who were in the Holmenkollen stadium watching, with another 20,000 on the outside, taking in jumping and other Nordic ski racing events.
American and 2013 World Champion Sarah Hendrickson won the Holmenkollen event, besting rival Sara Takanashi, of Japan, by less than a point. Austria's Jacqueline Seifriedsberger was 3rd. The Visa Women's Ski Jumping Team placed 3 in the top 10 - Hendrickson 1st, Lindsey Van 7th, and Jessica Jerome 10th. Alissa Johnson was 19th and Abby Hughes was 28th. After the event, the season's top honors were awarded. Takanashi, winning eight of 16 events, was crowned the World Cup Champion. Hendrickson, racking up 10 podiums (including four wins), was second overall, and France's Coline Mattel was 3rd overall.
For the second year in a row, the Visa Women's Ski Jumping Team won the Nations Cup - the overall World Cup title for teams. The U.S. women edged out Slovenia, a team that caught fire this season with six jumpers in the top 17 overall. Japan, led by Takanashi, came in 3rd. And with their performance at the Nordic Worlds in Val di Fiemme, Americans now have won two of the three World Ski Jumping Championships ever to allow women to compete. Van won the inaugural event in 2009.-Women's ski jumping has now been added to the next Winter Olympics.
And for the Women's Nordic world, Kikkan Randall from Alaska Pacific University (another client of mine) coached by Erik Flora is currently third in World Cup standings in the world, something no other American woman has done before. She has been joined by teammates Holly Brooks and Rosie Brennan and Jessie Diggins and Liz Stephen for various podium honors and for the first ever FIS World Cup relay podium finish for the US Cross Country Team earlier this year. The Women have been in the spotlight!
Ski jumping, Nordic combined and Nordic racing have benefited over the years from coaching from incredible athletes and mentors.- I have had the pleasure of knowing and working with the likes of Larry Stone, Alan Johnson, Casey Colby, Clint Jones, Erik Flora, Gaskill, Denny, Smith, Keuler, Jarrett, Heckman, and locals Greg Poirier and Todd Wilson, to name a few. These people have dedicated their lives over the years to other athletes and the Nordic Sport.- We can only say thank you for all they have done and, when possible, donate time and money to help out where possible.- And hopefully another kid can make his or her dream come true.