Winter is here with a force! The recent snows make me think of old times when every winter was like this. Maybe best when snow is deep in high country and maybe not where we have to shovel day after day. But then I am telling my age…
But this fluffy white stuff is the heart of our economy. It is the reason we live here in this winter wonderland! And this year, we feel blessed. Grand Nordic’s mission is to promote all aspects of Nordic skiing in Grand County. We want to see people outside enjoying this world we live in and feeling comfortable in this environment. We start the preschool with appropriate Nordic gear to let the kids learn to slide and glide. We support Learn to ski programs on the Elementary level. We support the Middle School and High School Nordic teams as well as programs at the Nordic Centers who teach the kids both to ski and to compete along with the discipline needed to succeed. The top step of that progression is to support the Competition Center Nordic program where training is available to attain the highest level of competition. Then we go back to train the trainers and offer a coaches clinic each year to go over new skills and techniques to make sure our local coaches are on the same wavelength and give them a chance to up their own skills.
The steady improvement in the performance of our kids has been amazing! Last weekend, the home race for MPHS and EGMS was hosted at Snow Mountain Ranch on a beautiful Colorado bluebird day! The event was live-streamed via drone by a volunteer from the Grand County Sheriff’s Dept thanks to the MP Booster Club. The locals came out in force to volunteer providing a wonderful, well-run event for the 14 schools that attended.
Our kids did not disappoint – the boys took first place across the board while the girls had a wonderful showing as well. Many personal bests were recorded for the likes of Kimo Sulivan who won the 5k Skate for High School Men (we had 3 in the top 7!) and Dan Jensen who took second in the 3.5k Middle School Mens Classic. In fact, almost half of the top 20 finishers in the Middle School 3.5k Classic were East Grand boys! We just need more girls racing as Sylvia Brower, Liz Hammond, Maggie Barker and Anna Lantermans were holding their own against the other girls
Congrats to Maire Sullivan and the entire crew of volunteers for a race well-run and totally organized. It was an inspiration to all the almost 300 kids that competed and their families that were here to cheer them on. What a tribute to our past and current coaches who mostly volunteer their time with these kids. Good luck to all of them at State Ski Championships Feb 27 and 28 in Maloit Park in Minturn!
CLASSIC JANUARY RESULTS
Classic January started with the Annual Snow Mountain Classic with a 15k, a 7.5k and a kids race. Eric Meyer won the Mens 15k handily in 50.39 with the pack of Logan Miyauchi, Matt Rossman and Matt Klick within 40seconds of each other following a few minutes behind. Maria Wik led the women at 1:01:54 with Lillian Marcione and Tina Larter 3 and 5 minutes behind respectively. The kids race was won by 9-year old Kajsa Wik.
The Grand Lake Classic had a record number of skiers and definitely proved a family event. Low-keyed with fun the main mission, it was the perfect opportunity for new racers. The kids event with well over 20 racers was led again by 9-year old Kajsa Wik with Sabra Forquer and Barrett Acker a couple minutes behind. The 7.5k was won by Amy Shertzer in 34:05 with Lucan Wik (the Mens winner but only age 12! ), Marie Ange Anderson and Eric Meyer in a tight race a minute behind and Will Kuhns and Rich Shertzer only a few seconds later. Racers ranged in age from 12-82 and variation led to many an exciting finish between older experience and youth sheer strength! Ty Scholl led the 15k at 49:48 with Trevor Willoughby and Matt Williams a minute behind in a close race for second. Silas Goetz and Odd Bersvendsen finished two minutes later duking it out for 4th. Lead woman was Ella Dewolf at 59:03 chased by Maria Wik about 30 seconds later. Lightly snowing, it was cold enough for great classic skiing on well-prepared tracks followed by the best potato bar ever!
The Winter World Masters games held ever 4 years was hosted in January in Seefield, Austria. It was yet another stage for Grand County Biathlon leader Dave Cleveland who once again medaled, this time bringing home an individual bronze in the 10K and a bronze in the 7.5k Sprint. Dave said the uphill approach to the range offered a challenge to many of the competitors, but the perfect conditions and hero snow made for fantastic events. More on the making of such individual champions in a later column.
UPCOMING NORDIC EVENTS
Considered one of the most fun events of the season, join Grand Nordic this Saturday Feb 8 for the 7th Annual Ranch2Ranch cross-country point-to-point ski trek from Snow Mountain Ranch to Granby Ranch via the Fraser to Granby Trail. Enjoy the 12 Km trek or ski 24 km-out and back for no extra charge! The Trek features some of the best scenery in Grand County with open vistas of Blue Ridge and the Continental Divide as well as intimate passages thru groves of aspen and conifers! Skate, classic, touring skis and snowshoes are welcome. Snowshoers should plan on starting by 9:30 to avoid cut off times. Rental equipment is available at Snow Mtn Ranch and must be returned there as well. Cutoff for registration on www.grandnordic.org is about 5pm this evening or you can register event day for an extra $5.00. All proceeds go to Youth Nordic programs in Grand County.
This weekend is the full moon and Pole Creek is offering another full moon ski and snowshoe Sat Feb 8 on their free packed trails from 430p – 830p. Dogs are welcome and the trails offer tiki torches to mark the path. Bistro 28 is offering a special menu including shrimp rellenos, port belly tacos, prime rib and much more.
Snow Mtn Ranch is offering a free youth skiing program for local youth grades K-6. Sundays until March 15 (no class Feb 23) the program runs 230p-4pm. Come early if you need the free equipment that is provided. Call the Nordic Center at 888-573-9622.
Grand Lake also has a full moon ski on Feb 8 from 5p-9p with complimentary hot chocolate at the bonfire. Feb 14, they are offering the annual Valentines Day two-for-one Trail pass as well as a romantic lunch special at the Sly Fox Restaurant, famous for home-made soups and chili. Feb 16 is the Romp and Stomp Pet Pals fundraiser from 10a-12noon. For details visit gcpetpals.org.