Talk about snowmageddon! Last week was amazing, with about a new foot of white powder every day on my own back patio at the top of Red Dirt Hill! My back was tired from shoveling and my husband Charlie had done most of the work. Our driveway is beginning to look like a trench and sometimes it is tough to look around the corner at the end of the road to see if there is traffic coming!
The ski areas are in ‘Seventh Heaven’ as the powder keeps coming. Winter Park Resort reported about 4 feet of snow last week alone. The Nordic areas are recovering from the severe wind and huge amounts of snow and are open at full tilt, with everything open and groomed, if they could get to it. There will be no shortage of the white stuff now for the rest of the season, so make sure your gear is tuned up and ready to go, all waxed and ready to slide.
Ranch2Ranch Trek Rescheduled
We tried to make it happen! All the prayers for snow were answered in one week. It was mind-blowing as I went out each day with different volunteers to place directional and warning signs along the course and each day there was more snow. The first day, Terri Rylander and I were already amazed at how much new snow was on the Snow Mountain Ranch trails from last weekend’s storm. All employees were out trying to roll and pack in anticipation of the three-day storm that was still coming. One employee had already been stuck four times on his snowmobile! It was so easy to get off the trail line, because the stake markers were starting to get buried and wind had filled in the marks of the track. How far off the trail do you place signs and how high above the snow should you place them to be seen after a three-day storm? We did our best.
Next day, Thursday, the winds created havoc. The snow kept coming and Sam Brown and I were in goggles all afternoon, marking from Tim’s Tunnel over to Granby Ranch’s Rabbit Run and Cakewalk. It got to be so ridiculous that we got the giggles and started having some fun to keep up our spirits. How were we going to pull off this event and make it happen? Granby Ranch’s track machine was still at Power World being repaired and Cakewalk was too soft and not packed, so we decided to wait to finish until Friday. Wrong!!
Friday morning, I met Maureen Brossard and her son Kyle at Tim’s Tunnel, which connects Snow Mountain Ranch and Granby Ranch under Highway 40. We were there to fill the tunnel with snow for the skiers, but Ben Koenig, head Nordic groomer at Granby Ranch had already pushed snow into the tunnel with their smaller cat and it was tracked beautifully. So we moved on to Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center to put in the final signs to start the trek down Pole Creek toward the sanitation pond. Maureen is one of the kids’ instructors for the free Grand Nordic Friday program at SMR, so she and Dan Scott were there in case any kids showed up. None were crazy enough to come out in that weather.
Kyle and I posted directional signs, afraid the wind would knock them over before the end of the morning. When we got over to the area in front of the Reunion Cabins where the trails were laid out for the Barnelopet on February 23, we lost the main trail and even Dixie the dog couldn’t stay on top of the snow! It took almost two hours just to slog up the hill, up to our thighs in fresh powder, that kept moving with each gust of the wind. Kyle made a heroic effort, searching for the trail and finally succeeded to get to the top of the snowbank and the road. The signs are still there to prove we made it! But we were too tired to even walk back to the Nordic Center and caught a lift. And Kyle had a hockey game the next day in Denver…such dedication!
When I went to Granby Ranch and heard their stories of digging out snowmobiles and track groomers breaking, that was the final straw. Avalanches had closed Berthoud Pass, Hwy 70 was closed and people couldn’t even get here, and now our trail was destroyed by wind and white powder! It was time to throw in the towel!
The next weekend was a holiday weekend and the next weekend was the American Birkebeiner in Wisconsin – the granddaddy of all American Nordic races. Most of the SMR staff would be there competing but somehow SMR and Granby Ranch were able to confirm February 29 for a new date. And Charlie and I leave for a Grand Canyon raft trip the next day!
So help make this event a success! Lots of hard work has gone into this, but how do you cancel completely the most fun Trek in Grand County with what will now be probably the most beautiful snow we have ever had?! Come on out and help support our youth Nordic programs county-wide. Register at grandnordic.org. If you were signed up for the event previously and can’t make it, either request a refund by email, or donate your entry fee to our youth programs. Or just go ski the trail… the signs are still up!