YMCA of the Rockies – Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center
Even with the limited amount of snow, the trails in the shade of Snow Mountain and Blue Ridge manage to hold the white stuff like no other Nordic area. I skied in mid-November and again this week on minimal snow. Of course, I wasn’t using my good skis but an older pair of “beater skis” that are no wax and it doesn’t matter how much snow you have. For early season and late season everyone needs an old pair of skis just to get you outside and feeling good.
I walked from the Nordic Center across the valley and was mentally transformed into paradise. I put my skis on and glided off toward the Biathlon Range. The higher up you go around the Gaylord Reservoir and up Young toward Blue Ridge, the better it gets. Keep climbing and you are rewarded with Eagle Valley and the Blue Ridge Loop where the white stuff is drawn as if by magnets. Such an expanse of old logging roads and wonderful viewpoints – and several thousand acres are preserved in perpetuity. Scre-e-e-e-ech! Back to reality as my ski scraps a rock and I grind to a halt. Pray for snow!
Snow Mountain Ranch sits on 5200 acres just off Hwy 40 between Tabernash and Granby. It is a year- round playground offering over 120 km of groomed trails for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, fat biking, tubing, sleigh rides and other winter outdoor activities as well as mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, Frisbee golf, zip line, climbing wall, and tubing in the summer.
One of the best groomed Nordic Centers in the country, you can cross country ski usually from mid-November until mid-April. The terrain can accommodate everyone from the first time skier to the elite racer. Be sure to ski with your dog on the dog-friendly loops next to the Nordic Center – but remember, leashes are required.
The Nordic Center’s full-service ski shop is where you will find great deals on lessons and rental packages. They also have the latest Nordic and snowshoe gear and apparel for sale. To re-energize, visit the Skinny Ski Café, opening soon, and enjoy a light snack or warm up with a bowl of soup and a sandwich. Learn to ski with one of their instructors or rent a chariot and let the rhythm of skiing put your child to sleep. A one-year membership family or individual membership is $250.00 or three years for $600.00 and includes cross country skiing, sledding, winter tubing, and ice skating. A membership also gives access to the swimming pool, basketball, roller skating and so much more. You can rent cross country ski equipment as well as performance gear, fat bikes and snowshoes at the Nordic Center and, with your membership, you also get discounts on lodging at the YMCA of the Rockies. Regular trail fees for adults are $20.00 per day but Grand Nordic members receive a discounted rate of $17. Children 12 and under can ski for $10.00, and children 5 and under ski for free. A five-time punch card is available again for $85.00. For details on these and the Learn to Ski package including trail pass, equipment rental and group lesson, visit the website www.snowmountainranch.org/nordic or call 970-887-2152 X 4173.
Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center is now open with great deals on equipment and clothing and some skiing on upper northfacing slopes. Storms on the horizon could change that at any time. Visit the Conditions and Grooming information page on the website for updates. Experience the Paralympic ski world Jan 10 or, new this year, learn about backcountry skiing covering modern Alpine/Touring equipment, basic avalanche safety, terrain management-travel-preparedness and touching on use of avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. Six dates are offered making this a perfect fit for those wanting to ski on their own outside the resort. The last of the series of free ski lessons offered by Grand Nordic including free equipment and trail pass for all Nordic Club members is offered Sunday Jan 7 following the Annual Snow Mountain Ranch Classic Race scheduled for Jan 6. Colorado Mountain Mushers Dog Sled Races are scheduled for Jan 6-7. The Grand Nordic RANCH2RANCH TREK FEST on Saturday Feb 10 will start at Snow Mountain Ranch, go over the Fraser to Granby Trail and end at the Granby Ranch benefiting Kids Nordic skiing in Grand County. The season winds down with the famed Snow Mountain Stampede featuring both Classic and Skate events on Mar 10 and 11 – the only place in the country to do back-to-back marathons or half-marathons! Check out the YMCA website at www.snowmountainranch.org/nordic for details.
Snow Mountain Ranch will be hosting a Spring Festival (there’s more than just skiing but details to come) March 23-25. Free snowshoe or Nordic ski guided tours are offered many weekends for most of the winter. See the website events page under Nordic for details.
The Junior Nordic Race Program at Snow Mountain Ranch has details posted under the Junior Nordic Program page. Commit, sign up, and come participate in the training processes that will change how you approach sport and life! says Bill Pierce, head coach. Register online at active.com. The program has already started.
Colorado Biathlon hails Snow Mountain Ranch as their home venue. Rifle certification clinics are held every fall and winter. Several events are held each month starting Dec 2 at Snow Mountain Ranch. Check www.colorado.biathlon.org/schedule or call Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center 970-887-2152×4173 for more information. Come out to see the action and learn about biathlon.
The free kids program starts after the Christmas holiday Jan 12 with Friday afternoons at 1pm for kids 5-10 and runs every weekend in January and February ending with a Nordic Festival Feb 23.
Visit the Grand Nordic Website for more information or to register for the Ranch2Ranch Trek Fest www.grandnordic.org or call Diana Lynn Rau at 970-887-0547.