Welcome to 2019 with double digits below zero!  That used to be a regular part of our winters but now, we are getting spoiled with zero degrees as the norm. But that is January and it is usually our coldest month of the year.  That’s why Nordic skiers have January as their Classic month! This Saturday January 5, the 19th Annual Snow Mtn Classic features a kids 2k, 7.5k and a 15k Classic race followed by the Grand Lake Classic January 13 featuring a kids or beginner race, an 8k and a 16k race with family pricing, and last but not least is the 6th Annual Stagecoach Classic featuring a 30k Classic for the big guns, a 15k classic race, a 15k classic ski tour and a 15k snowshoe tour.  Participants, volunteers and spectators alike are needed everywhere!

The 19th Annual Snow Mtn Ranch Classic starts Saturday at 9am with the kids race, 10am for the 15k classic and 1015am for the 7.5k classic.  Awards are scheduled for 1230p. The YMCA is known for the best grooming in the country and the terrain is comparable to none. Register at www.active.com/granby-co/winter-sports/skiing-races/snow-mountain-classic-race-2019. Lodging discounts are offered as well.  Volunteers are always needed for registration, course marshals and aid stations – call 970-887-2152 ext 4173.

The Grand Lake Classic Race on Sunday January 13 is a fun family affair. Choose between a 1.5k or 3k kids or beginner loop on the rolling golf course terrain starting at 930am.  The 8k intermediate or 16k advanced races starting at 10am get back on the hilly wooded areas near the river with exciting ups and downs. A $50.00 entry fee for a family or four or more allows racing to be affordable for all.  Drinks, adult beverages and food are included, all donated by local restaurants. For more information, call 970-627-8008 or visit www.grandlakerecreation/Nordiccenter. Proceeds benefit kids programs in Grand County.

The 6th Annual Stagecoach Classic coming January 26 at Devils Thumb Ranch has a 30k race for the college and big gun racers thru terrain that was once the historic stagecoach route from Devil’s Thumb Ranch to the town of Winter Park where the old Idlewild Nordic Ski area was once located.  Many years ago we skied a similar route between the Ranch and Idlewild almost daily but private land sales and development closed that route almost 20 years ago. After negotiations with the US Forest Service Sulphur a trail was carved out that is used once a year for this special event. The 30k race circles around the Devils Thumb Ranch groomed trails and then shoots south toward Winter Park finishing through the old Idlewild downhill area where kids could once ski almost right in town.  The 15k ski race follows mainly the route to Winter Park but timing and prices still apply. The 15k classic ski TOUR allows you to see the course without the pressure of timing. Enjoy yourself with a well-marked trail, gorgeous views and aid stations along the way. An expensive but fabulous way to ski with friends! Shuttles are provided all day from Winter Park to Devils Thumb so you can park your car in Winter Park. Register at www.active.com/tabernash-co/winter-sports/skiing-races/stagecoach-classic-2019 .  For questions, call 970-726-8231.

For more spectator-oriented Nordic events on January 26, come cheer on the local Middle Park High School and Middle School athletes at the YMCA hosting their big home race of the year.  The pursuit format this year starts at 10am so bring your cow bells and cheer our kids on against racers from all over the state. For more information, go to http://mphs.egsd.org/nordic-ski-ca5bc9e8, hs.nordic@egsd.org or call 970-531-0845.

For a less expensive way to tour our beautiful Grand County, try the Sixth Annual Grand Nordic Ranch2Ranch Trek starting at Snow Mtn Ranch over the Fraser to Granby Trail to Granby Ranch.  For the hardier folk, ski back to Snow Mtn Ranch! With a well-marked trail and aid stations along the way, try this 12-13 km trail that goes through Tim’s Tunnel under Hwy 40, with beautiful climbs, fun downhills,  gorgeous vistas and meanders through the woods that delight the soul. Lunch is included so park at Granby Ranch, take the shuttle to Snow Mtn Ranch and ski back or just park at the YMCA, ski back and forth and drive back for lunch!  Two for one kids pricing through age 18. For more information call 970-887-0547 or register at http://www.grandnordic.org/ranch2ranch.html . All proceeds benefit Youth Nordic skiing in Grand County.

The snow this year has allowed Headwater Trails Alliance, Fraser, Winter Park and Grand Nordic volunteers to groom areas throughout eastern Grand County to give our locals and visitors alike some of the best Nordic trails available in the country.  Visit www.skigrandnordic.com to see resorts, ranches, youth skiing programs, free skiing areas and back country information available to all in Grand County. More K’s More Days of Nordic skiing here than anywhere else in the USA!