Earlier this month, I hoped the weather forecasters would be correct and Friday would bring the expected 6-8 inches – we were not disappointed.  Now after another long series of sunny bluebird days, I am praying again for the holiday forecast to not disappoint.  I get tired of writing about the lack of snow because I know what that lack of moisture means to my surroundings, how my surroundings affect the areas downstream, and so on.  It isn’t a pretty picture and the images I see of sprinklers watering the streets in Denver or sprinklers watering crops in the Imperial Valley CA in the middle of the day, or a beautiful steam in the Fraser Valley reduced to a trickle raise my ire.

We are normally spoiled in Grand County every winter with piles of the white stuff yet some years there is just not enough.  Our Alpine ski areas have become more consistent because of recent snowmaking techniques but, when you cover the terrain that the various forms of Nordic skiing frequent, snowmaking doesn’t make up for much except to connect a Nordic Center to north-facing or tree-covered slopes.  The north-facing slopes do not get as much of the powerful sun that melts the white stuff so quickly.  Trees offer even more protection from the sun’s rays and the combination is ideal.  In low snow years, the experienced skier heads for tree-covered north-facing terrain.

Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center sits on a south-facing hillside, ideal for basking in the winter sun.  But across the valley on the slopes of Blue Ridge or Snow Mountain, the north-facing exposure is ideal to retain the snow.  The trees that are prevalent only enhance the quality of the snowpack. All their currently groomed trails are in that area.  Climb higher on Blue Ridge and the snow in places can be measured in feet.  But to get to it is the challenge.  The winds affect the open areas more so, again, seek the trees for shelter.

Meanwhile in the lower valleys and open areas, consider using your rock skis or ones you were ready to discard last year.  Everyone should have a pair in their closet for low snow conditions.  If you have too many rock skis or older boots, consider putting them in the Grand Nordic donation boxes at the Fraser Library, Grand Park Recreation Center, or Granby Library.  We get the equipment to people who don’t have access to any equipment, can’t afford better equipment, or school team members who need that pair of rock skis so they don’t ruin their new racing skis and boots that they have worked so hard for.

The Grand Nordic Free Friday Kids program at Snow Mountain Ranch is open for registration – follow the signup link on www.skigrandnordic.org or under youth programs at www.grandnordic.org.  This program designed for kids ages 5-10 offers instruction for beginners and more-accomplished skiers in both classic and skate skiing plus games and fun. The program starts Friday Jan 7 through Feb 25  1pm-230pm, offering free equipment and trail pass for both students and parent helpers.  Pre-registration is required with a max of 30 students each lesson. Masks and social distancing are required.  Show up 30-40 minutes early to get your equipment.

Just in time to step up your training, free community Nordic lessons are offered again this year Sunday Jan 9 at Snow Mountain Ranch featuring instructors from Grand Nordic, Winter Park Competition Center and Colorado Nordic Masters.  Registration is available by following the link on www.skigrandnordic.org.  Instruction is offered for classic and skate beginner, intermediate, advanced and kids.  Pre-registration is required and masks and social distancing protocol will be followed.  Grand Nordic members will receive free rental equipment and trails passes if needed for the lesson.
Now that you’ve reviewed your technique, time to join in the fun and excitement and try the annual Snow Mountain Classic race Jan 15!  Even if you feel you are not competitive, try the 7.5KM single lap or challenge yourself to the full 15KM distance. The goal is to finish!  Details at ymcarockies.org  Nordic center events.

Please remember to do your part to remain safe, get vaccinated, and use masks and social distancing in groups, particularly indoors.  Otherwise events like these will need to be canceled – keep checking the websites or call Grand Nordic 970-887-0547.  And pray for the snow to come!  Merry Christmas to all…