What a Nordic season – not enough snow for regular activities in early season forced many events to be cancelled and rebooked for later in the season. Thanks to my dedicated group of volunteers like Lisa Bornfriend, Al Rothenbach and Karen Fletcher for helping to get the new schedules out – time and time again! But the events were still successful, and we appreciate the patience of our local Nordic ski followers.
Feb 10 dawned with wind and blowing snow. The Ranch2Ranch Trek course was groomed perfectly the day before by the fantastic groomers at Snow Mtn Ranch and Granby Ranch. The wind and new snow slightly filled in the tracks but the course signage done by myself and different wonderful volunteers during the week kept everyone on course. The weather was exactly Colorado – some wind and blowing snow one minute, blue sky the next minute. At least the temperatures were in the 20’s, actually quite delightful. People had been advised to be prepared for wind and snow so most people were ready with proper clothing and supplies. Aid stations along the way manned by Middle Park High School Nordic team members at Tim’s Tunnel and East Grand Middle School Nordic team members at Val Moritz were ready with warm drinks and food donated by Safeway and City Market. And lunch at Granby Ranch was included after you finished a delightful Trek through the woods on the new Pirouette trail that joins into the Granby Ranch Alpine trails. That left a delightful downhill ski to the base lodge where a tent with more volunteers awaited with your meal ticket! For those who Nordic Ski regularly in Colorado, it was a real Colorado Day! Maybe not bluebird conditions but real Colorado.
Special thanks to our many volunteers that make this fundraiser work from those helping to groom the course, sign the course, gather food for aid stations and donate giveaways for Trekkers, Brian Mtn Ski patrol for course safety and sweep, generate and put out publicity, registration and finish helpers, and our wonderful webmaster Al Rothenbach for all his blasts and registration online. It indeed takes a village. We love you all!
The Trek is a primary fundraiser for Grand Nordic Kids programing in Grand County. The fifth Annual Trek was the largest ever. The Trek course was about 12KM and connected Snow Mtn Ranch to Granby Ranch. People can regularly purchase a day pass that includes both areas – combined it is the largest groomed Nordic area in the country. Right in your backyard! Nordic kids programs provide in every school in East Grand from Pre-schools to Elementary schools to Middle School, High School and even the Competition Center at Winter Park Resort. The non-profit Grand Nordic supports all from equipment donations to scholarships and volunteers with your help. Join the club for access to annual Nordic Ski Swap, free lessons, postings on events and a Community forum for members to use to sell gear or join up with others to ski. Go to grandnordic.org for more club information. To see all the Nordic opportunities in Grand County including free skiing, backcountry and Nordic News, go to skigrandnordic.org for More K’s More Days information.
Grand Nordic Free Kids Learn to Ski program at Snow Mountain Ranch just wrapped up last week after averaging over 20 kids each Friday afternoon session offered in January and February. Thanks to a group of about 6 dedicated volunteers and numerous parents, these kids learned to play and ski, enjoying the snow and just being outside even in wind and blowing snow conditions. The volunteers taught how to stay warm, how to cool off, how to find sheltered areas, hydrate and even enjoy a well-deserved candy bar to keep up their energy. They learned to literally ski rings around their parents. They learned how to apply Alpine skills to Nordic and vice versa. Great start for the next generation of skiers! Local shops like Christy Sports, B Jamin/Imaginations, Icebox Mountain Sports, and Alpine Sun donations prizes of ski gear so every kid who finishes our races and games at our last day Nordic Festival goes home with a prize. And this year Jan Waldron donated headbands for everyone! What a wonderful encouraging community we live in…
For the first time in history, Women have scored gold in Nordic competition. Exciting for our world who has been watching the development of Nordic Skiing in the last 50 years in the US. It takes time to get the program right to get the right athletes, the right training program , and the right financial and mental support to take a program to international winning circles. The TEAM of Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins became the first ones to get it right on the world stage. It was a TEAM effort with each skier doing two sprint legs. This was the 5th Olypmics for Kikkan who has spent many years alone at the top of the women’s program now encouraged mainly by coach Erik Flora at Alaska Pacific University. Read the history of the development of the Nordic program in Alaska presented in the Anchorage Daily News. Visit this link to see the generations involved – https://www.adn.com/sports/skiing/2018/02/21/gold-medal-belongs-to-kikkan-but-alaskas-past-olympians-helped-forge-it/ . It is a read well worth it. It shows how some dedicated people over the years can make a real difference. It takes time and development of skills and understanding. Please offer support to organizations like USSSA (United Sates Ski and Snowboard Association) for their support of the Nordic skiers and to USANS (USA Nordic Sport) for support of the Nordic Combined and Men’s Jumping programs. NBC coverage made people believe it was the finish of the Women’s Team Sprint that mattered most. I love Jessie and she indeed gave her all to make that finish happen. But without the support of her teammate Kikkan Randall, they would not have been in that position to fight for the Gold medal. ABC got it right when they covered the two as a TEAM on their morning show this week.
Alone, without the support of our TEAM, we cannot scale the heights that are possible when we work together. Teamwork means everything – sometimes it takes a while to build the right team, but once you get it right – the sky’s the limit! We need to keep refreshing the team. Join a team of your favorite sport today and keep the energy going.