It’s time for the kids to show off. Every year the Middle Park High School hosts other schools from around Colorado for races at Snow Mountain Ranch. Since Grand county has remained in Orange zone most of the month of January, the kids are able to keep their scheduled race date of Friday, January 29 for the Middle School and Saturday, January 30 for the High School racers.
On Friday, January 29, East Grand Middle School will start the 3km skate race at 2:30pm with Summit and Lake County. The schools will follow rules for a cohort wave start. A Cohort start means that the racers of each school race together in the same wave. That means the Lake County Boys start at 2:30pm in a wave, at 2:40pm all East Grand Boys start in a wave, at 2:50pm at Summit Boys start. Then there are three similar waves that the girls from each team start in.
The Middle School has a team of about 30 skiers this year. The boys’ team has only a few returning 8th graders so they are rebuilding this year. The girls’ team has quite a few 8th graders so the team appears to be strong this year. Coach Jon Kuhns always wants to see more sixth graders or, for that matter, more kids of any grade who want to learn, come out to Nordic ski.
The High School racers are doing seeded interval starts every 15 seconds for the 5km skate race on Saturday starting about 11am. Racers are seeded or placed in start times by past performances. The faster seeded skiers will go first followed by the lower seeds. The racers are racing against the clock and usually timing chips are placed on the skier’s leg to register their time. The 22 or so Middle Park High School skiers should prove super strong teams for both girls and boys. They are racing against Poudre and Steamboat with the boys stating about 11am and the girls starting about noon.
Spectators are allowed but not in the start/finish arena. They are allowed on the course but must be socially distanced (6ft) from other cohort groups and are required to wear a mask along the course, says Dan Jamison, Head Coach MPHS Nordic. Best way to see the races is usually to volunteer to help! Contact Maire Sullivan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good luck to our local skiers this weekend! They have been working hard and this is usually the best event of the entire season…
Another opportunity for kids 5-10 are the free lessons offered by Grand Nordic at Snow Mountain Ranch on Friday afternoons January and February at 1pm except for holiday weekends. Sign up required at SnowMountainranch.org/Nordic center. Kids participating in the Granby Elementary School physical education program and afterschool rec department programs are asking for more Nordic skiing. It is so wonderful to see them happy being outside and discovering the things they can do in our cold and snow and really enjoy themselves. Parents are encouraged to help and we give them skiing tips as well. Or offer suggestions to help them help their own kids.
For those parents wanting to try to get out in the beautiful terrain other than the normal groomed resort, try the contactless Ranch2Ranch Nordic Ski Trek Feb 6 and 7 from Granby Ranch to Snow Mountain Ranch. A trek means there is no racing, no timing, stop and take pictures, enjoy a snack at the aid station but push yourself to see how far you can go. The course is geared toward intermediate skiers or someone in decent shape. There are beautiful open meadows, paths thru the trees just as you imagine the best Nordic can be, a few hills that make you breathe hard when you struggle up and a few hills that make you stiffen up as you fly down. Hold on – you can do this! Just take your time, walk if your need to but don’t miss it. Bring your camera, the vistas are incredible… Go to grandnordic.org to register – only 75 people each day with time slots of up to 25 people every half hour starting at Granby Ranch 9am. If you left your car at Granby Ranch, turn around anytime and ski back. Challenge yourself and try to make it at least past the two aid stations. Register then car pool with family or friends and drop a car at the YMCA highway parking lot and ski back and forth if you don’t want to climb the Granby Ranch trails. Whatever, just remember to get your bib at registration to say you are ‘on course’ and return your bib at either end or aid station to say ‘off course’, or we’ll come looking for you…