What a difference a day makes! The 31st Annual Snow Mountain Stampede Freestyle Races on Saturday, March 1, saw mostly snow blowing sideways with occasional moments of stillness and sun. The temperature was not cold but the wind was biting. The moments of sun kept you hopeful that the storm would break. The skaters were occasionally blinded by the snow and skied off the course – it was tough to see where the track really was. When the sun did come out the racers shed layers and left a trail of clothing behind. Then they tried to find it when the wind and snow returned 10 minutes later. If you didn’t like the weather just wait and it changed. At least the spectators could pop outside when the announcers called the name of a friend or relative as they crossed the lap lane or the finish line or the racers could come inside when they finished their race. The second floor railing of the YMCA Nordic Center was a great spectator spot because you could see across the valley between the snowflakes as the racers crisscrossed up and down the Valley and came back for laps in front of the Nordic Center. The aroma of the delicious BBQ served at the Skinny Ski Cafe for racers and spectators alike temped many to just stay inside and watch from the windows. Outside the cowbells rang, the cheering onlookers lifted the spirits of the weather-worn racers and the announcers kept the names and encouragement coming.
And then there was Sunday, day two for classic technique events – the picture perfect Colorado day. With perfect temperatures and sun for classic skiing and tracks set fit for royalty, the day couldn’t have been better and the racers happier. Spirits soared as the weather finally cooperated and all saw the glory of Nordic skiing at its finest with several exciting sprints to the finish even after 42 or 21 km.
The locals did well. The results list is filled the Snow Mountain Ranch staff names as they took a break from their duties and then rushed to clock back in shortly after they crossed the finish line. Even the groomers themselves picked up some well-deserved hardware. Local high school and middle school athletes took some of the top spots including the 21 km combined totals for both men and women. Tabor and Tyler Scholl showed they must be reckoned with, even at their young ages. Guys likes Theo Loo and Elliot Shaw showed the stuff of the high school team and Grand Nordic is proud of them all. The Brower family won the family award with dad Patrick in the 42 km, mom Lydia in the 21 km, Sebastian (age 12) in the 10 km, Sylvia (age 9) sweeping the kids’ 2 km races both days and Adrian (age 5) top boy in the classic on Sunday. And these are only a few. Grand Nordic is so encouraged by our next generation. They have so much potential.
FRASER TO GRANBY TRAIL
We keep fighting the wind and new snow but the trail has been packed again in most places. In some areas the drifts are beyond us and we need bigger machinery to maintain the trail. But we are working on trying to get that solved. But the snow is good and the trail is a delight with new improved access from the Fraser ballfields and a wonderfully scenic route from Tim’s Tunnel at the YMCA entrance to Val Moritz and Granby Ranch thru 10 Mile Creek. This corridor of trails through the county is such an incredible asset to year round recreation for both locals and visitors alike. And most of the maintenance is done by volunteers. Hats off to the winter grooming crew with the primary volunteers being Andy Miller, Jeff Russell, Greg Foley, Dave Knisley, Charlie and Diana Rau, and John Brammer. We couldn’t do it without them! Call Maura McKnight at Headwaters Trails Alliance 970-726-1013 to volunteer.