Free Kids Nordic Lessons start January 6 at SMR
Free lessons for kids ages 5-10 start Friday January 6 from 1-230pm at the Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center. The program offers ski instruction for beginners and more accomplished skiers with skiing games, winter nature activities, and lots of fun and runs every Friday through the end of February. The last week February 24 is a Nordic Festival with games, races and prizes for all. Please arrive 30 minutes prior to lessons to get free equipment and trail pass for the duration of the lesson. Parents are encouraged to help and can also get free equipment and trail pass to ski with the lesson only. Call the Nordic Center at 970-887-2152 x 4173 for further information and to register. Call Grand Nordic 970-887-0547 with other questions.

After school lessons through Granby Recreation Department at Granby Elementary School and through Fraser Valley Metro Rec District at Fraser Elementary School are available January and February for a small fee.

XC skiing the Fraser River Trail. Photo by Jeff Russell

XC skiing the Fraser River Trail with Winter Park Resort in the background. Photo by Jeff Russell

Free groomed skiing on the Fraser to Granby Trail
Grand County’s Fraser to Granby Trail connects towns and recreation areas and is a cooperative effort of government, non-profits, businesses and individuals that is rarely seen. Started over 15 years ago by FVPT and spearheaded by Headwaters Trails Alliance, the trail is still a work in progress. The public trails system extends from the Winter Park Resort to Granby over both public and private lands and is useable both winter and summer. The WP Resort and towns of Winter Park and Fraser created and maintain their portions in conjunction with HTA who also supervises maintenance and building on the trail through the county working with volunteers from all over. This is a long slow continuing process but so much has been accomplished and so much remains to be done.

Winter grooming is currently in full swing and conditions are great on the entire trail from the Winter Park Resort to Val Moritz and Granby Ranch. Again this year, the towns of Fraser and Winter Park are paying for Mountain States Snocats to groom the area trails and the community response has been incredible. The grooming has been suitable even for skating but note that walkers with their dogs, snowshoers, and fat bikes are also allowed on this multiuse trail. Grooming from the Fraser Ballfields to Granby Ranch is still done by volunteers with John Brammer shouldering most of the load grooming from Granby Ranch to the Fraser Ballfields once a week and more. Pole Creek Machine has loaned several grooming machines to HTA that are currently used to tenderize and even lay a great track.

All sections are open for XC skiing, snowshoeing or just plain walking with your dog! Please observe dog leash restriction in the Beavers area and always pick up after your pooch. Where horses are allowed, please pick up after your animal. We are grooming Tracey’s Trail from Val Moritz upper road loop toward Ski Granby Ranch to connect with their free XC trails and the Ski Lodge. Logging on upper trails has increased drifting in some areas but the logging is finished on the East mountain. The portion from Val Moritz to Tim’s Tunnel at the YMCA entrance goes through the beautiful Fischer Creek Valley where wildlife abounds. From Tim’s Tunnel, the Fraser to Granby crosses the front of the YMCA property paralleling HWY 40 all the way to Tabernash at Pole Creek Meadows. After a short walk through town, take Sunnyside Lane down past the Thurston Ranch, up the road to Hidden River development and across the plateau with great vistas of the whole valley. Head down through the Denver Waterboard property toward the Fraser Ballfields where parking is always available. A new loop has been created through the ballfields and skiing is excellent on this entire portion. The trail connects through Fraser on the river and splits into the Fraser River Trail for winter sports and the paved Highway trail. The winter trail stays on the east side of Winter Park and emerges at Beavers where it is groomed to the WP Resort.

There are many areas with parking to access the trail starting at Beavers, the Safeway parking lot, The Fraser Ballfields parking for the Ice Rink or Nordic skiing, Tabernash Cty Road 5221 corner lot, the church lots west of Tabernash, the YMCA lot at Hwy 40 and Tim’s Tunnel, and Granby Ranch parking lots to name a few.

It’s a lot of miles and is maintained by the towns and volunteers for the enjoyment of both locals and visitors alike since access is free to all. Hats off to everyone who makes this kind of cooperation work for the good of all! We couldn’t do without our volunteers and the people who make it happen.

If you can volunteer to help, please call Diana Lynn Rau 887-0547 or HTA 726-1013. Above all, be courteous to landowners, respect private property, and pick up after your pets. Enjoy our fresh powder!