Most of the colors in the Aspens have faded and now the once-colorful leaves adorn the ground. But the snows that now crown the mountains make us think about the coming winter. Soon the ground will be covered in white. Some of us are looking forward to the snow, some of us are wishing for more time on the bike. I like to think that as of November 1, it’s time for snow and bring it on!

For now, look over your winter gear and see what you need, get your ski passes set up and, after this last warm spell, start putting away the summer bikes and rafting gear lovingly cleaned up. The Alpine Ski swap was just last weekend and the Nordic Ski Swap is still coming up October 28. Sell the gear you no longer use or have just outgrown – bring it to the Devil’s Thumb Broad Axe Barn above Zack’s Mercantile from 5-6pm to register and tag it at the price you want. If you just have gear you want to donate to the Kids Program, bring it in and get a tax donation receipt. Stay from 6-830pm and look through last years or otherwise used gear offered by other individuals, Devils Thumb Nordic Center, YMCA-Snow Mtn Ranch Nordic Center, Winter Park Trading Company and maybe others. Nordic skis, boots and poles for classic, skate, and back country for people of all sizes as well as maybe snowshoes or roller skis, bells, hats and lots of other clothing. Take advantage of our gear buying assistance if you are not sure what length ski to choose, what stiffness, or whether you want skate or classic, or whatever your questions may be. And bring a small dessert to share for the Dessert Potluck.

Get your annual membership for Grand Nordic – a real deal at 25.00 for individuals and 40.00 for families. Buy your membership at the Swap or go online at www.grandnordic.org. We offer discounts at Nordic Centers and many shops year round. Buy your Nordic passes at early season rates for Devils Thumb, Snow Mountain Ranch, and Grand Lake. Find out the dates of our free Nordic lessons offered at each of the three major Nordic areas in December – both equipment and trail passes are included for Grand Nordic members. Get the scoop on the mid-winter ski treks from Devils Thumb to Winter Park and Snow Mtn Ranch to Granby Ranch and other events scheduled for this winter like the new family friendly Grand Park Nordic Relay Festival. Blasts sent out to your email by our webmaster will keep you up to date on local events and races or check our website www.grandnordic.org for details and signup information.

We still need a few good volunteers for the Nordic Swap. Please contact Christine Lee at skiswap@grandnordic.org or call 708-990-5967.

Put it on your calendar now for Friday, October 28, 6-830pm, this year at Devil’s Thumb Broad Axe Barn above Heck’s Mercantile. Get ready for being happy in the winter ahead. Pray for snow!

Think trail maintenance and permanent funding for trails which are such an important part of our economy in Grand County. I encourage people to consider supporting Open Lands, Rivers and Trails Ballot issue 1A. I know that we all hate the idea of more taxes but sometimes a small amount from many different people, particularly those visiting and using those very rivers and trails, makes a huge difference in how much we can afford to build and maintain the quality system which attracts them. Help keep the water in the Colorado and other Rivers, preserve and protect ranch land-wildlife habitat-open lands and natural areas, as well as maintain our trails systems. Protect our Grand County character and beauty for future generations.