Winter Park Competition Center and Snow Mountain Ranch Host Successful Junior National Qualifier

He took a lot longer than usual to arrive, but now that he is here, Old Man Winter has been strong and steady! The thick white blanket that was laid upon the landscape at the turn of the year has been well maintained by persistently seasonal temperatures. Occasional small snowstorms have kept the snow surface fresh and powdery, and while we’ve had our share of sunny Bluebird days, the temperatures have not risen far above the freezing point. This has made for easy waxing, with crystals that have stayed relatively sharp and pointed, allowing one to sink one’s kick wax onto them without great effort. We’ve even been able to go a bit harder with our wax, not needing to rely on the softness of Swix Blue Extra that works so well, so often on warm sunny Colorado snow.

Waxing conditions were just so for last weekend’s classic and skate races at Snow Mountain Ranch, where youths from around the Rocky Mountain Region vied for the opportunity to compete in the National competition that will be held March 6-12 in Minneapolis Minnesota. Local skiers posted some great results with some podium finishes coming from our younger teammates, and older ones moving up in the field.

An event such as this is quite a massive undertaking, requiring lots of hard work, organization, communication and flexibility. Thanks to Snow Mountain Ranch for providing the venue and stepping up the grooming to a quality commensurate with a national qualifying event, approved by USSS standards. What a great opportunity it is for teams coming from outside the valley to stay on site and not have to travel from distant hotels to get to the starting line. Thanks to all those who volunteered, setting up the race course and stadium, organizing registration, starting orders, and results, marshaling the course to keep skiers safe, patrolling, directing parking, and all the thousands of other little details that go into putting on a high quality event. Snow Mountain Ranch will host again on February 17th and 18th as the Colorado State High Schools meet to see who has the fastest skinny skiers. Keep your eyes and ears posted for festivities around this event, and plan to come out to watch and cheer our local athletes and then ski the trails after getting enthused by the excitement of nordic racing.

The pandemic continues to have an influence on activities, even in the cross country skiing world, where outside activities tend to be safer, as the International Ski for Light event that was to be held at Snow Mountain Ranch has been cancelled. One Cross Country Skiing event still on the calendar is the annual Ranch to Ranch trek, Saturday February 12th and Sunday the13th. It is hoped that holding the event over 2 days will spread out participants and reduce risk of contagion. This is a fun and family-friendly event, taking skiers from Snow Mountain to Granby Ranch and back if they desire for a 24 kilometer tour, or skiers can opt for a shuttle ride with a one-way 12 km ski. You can get more details and sign up at Happy skiing!