By James Dickhoff
Special to The SUN
With fresh snow expected on the mountain peaks soon, the Pagosa Nordic Club is busy preparing for another great cross country ski season.
New this year, the club is conducting an early season membership drive, which includes a chance for the first 100 paid memberships to win a free season ski pass to Wolf Creek Ski area, a $599 value.
Memberships will be accepted at PagosaNordic.Com until Oct. 5 at 5 p.m. At 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, the drawing for the free season pass will take place at the Pagosa Brewing Company, located at 100 North Pagosa Blvd.
The winner will be notified immediately following the drawing and their name will be posted on our webpage, PagosaNordic.Com. This is a great opportunity to support the Pagosa Nordic Club with the bonus of a chance to win a free ski pass, so don’t wait, sign up now.
The Pagosa Nordic Club is a nonprofit, 100-percent volunteer organization with a mission, “To enhance winter recreational opportunities in Pagosa Springs by maintaining accessible groomed winter trails for skate skiing, classic cross country skiing and snowshoeing for all ability levels and to encourage and promote the use of these winter trails through education, marketing and events.”
The amount of volunteer time and money needed for maintaining trails is much more than you might think. The club grooms up to six different trails and invests approximately 650-1,300 hours per season of volunteer time for trail grooming and trail preparations, depending on the frequency and amount of snow we receive.
The operating expenses associated with trail grooming, equipment maintenance and trail supplies can exceed $5,000 per season. The club relies on membership donations, sponsorships and trail-use donations to cover these operational expenses and capital equipment investments.
The upcoming 2012-13 cross country ski season events and free activities include the following, so make note and mark your calendars.
New this year is the two-day Pagosa Nordic X-C Ski Challenge season-opening race at Wolf Creek Ski Area. On Saturday, Dec. 8, skate ski and classic cross country ski distance races are scheduled and on Sunday, Dec. 9, the Eagle Mountain Red Ryder BB Gun Biathlon will take place. Kids’ races are held each day. This will be a great warmup for the season, so no matter your ability level, come on up and join us.
This season’s free Sunset/Moonrise, Soup and Chili X-C Ski Socials are scheduled for the following Fridays: Nov. 23, Dec. 28, Jan. 25 and Feb. 22. Join us between 4 and 7 p.m. and enjoy a beautiful ski/snowshoe under an incredible sunset and moonrise. We meet back at the trailhead for a campfire and hot soup and chili afterwards. This is a great, family-friendly activity, and s’mores will be available. You can bring something to share, though it is not expected. We will determine the social locations as snow conditions permit, so keep an eye on PagosaNordic.Com and The SUN for details.
This season’s free Learn to X-C Ski Clinics are scheduled for the following Saturdays: Dec. 15, Jan. 12 and Feb. 2. These clinics are a great opportunity to learn basic skills and get tips to help you feel more comfortable with your equipment and ski technique to help encourage you to get out on the trails more often. Participants will be able to choose between beginner or intermediate levels for cross country skate ski or cross country classic (kick and glide) ski instruction from some of the area’s best skiers. You will need to come with your boots, poles and ski equipment, and dressed warm in layers. All local ski shops are offering discount rentals for the clinics; just mention you are attending the clinic. Location to be determined as snow conditions permit, so keep an eye on PagosaNordic.Com and The SUN for details. In addition, we expect Murray Banks to conduct another intermediate and advanced skating clinic sometime in December. Details are still being finalized. Murray’s clinic last year was very well attended and inspired even the best local skate skiers.
A free Dog Harness Demo day is planned on Jan. 5 with a Fun Canine Ski Jouring race on Jan. 6. On Jan. 5, you and your friendly dog(s) can try out some harness gear and learn some harness techniques. Imagine teaching your dog how to pull you along on your bike, skis, in-line skates and more. The following day, you and your friendly dog(s) can go out for a fun canine ski jouring race to try out your new gear and the techniques you learned the day before. Snow conditions will determine the location, so check out PagosaNordic.Com and The SUN for details.
The third annual WinterFest Nordic Ski Races are Feb. 9-10, and include kids’ races, competitive and citizen classic cross country ski and skate ski races with sprint, relay, distance and Eagle Mountain Red Ryder BB Gun biathlon race events with awards and prizes.
The second annual Pagosa Paw Dog Sled and Canine Ski Jouring Races are on Feb. 23-24. This Colorado Mountain Mushers two-day event includes multi-dog team division dog sled, canine ski jouring and canine cross races. Truly an incredible spectator event, not to be missed.
The second annual Pagosa Spring Quad Challenge is on Sunday, March 3, at the West Fork Nordic trails and includes a 10km skate ski or 5km classic X-C ski, a 5km run, 22km bike to town and 1km swim at The Springs Resort. Participate as a solo racer or team with awards and prizes. Will you be ready for the challenge?
As always, updated activity/event information and grooming reports will be available at PagosaNordic.Com