By James Dickhoff
Special to The SUN
The Pagosa Nordic Club (PNC) conducted its annual early membership drive with all paid members before Friday, Sept. 26, being entered into a drawing for a Wolf Creek season pass. Seasonal local Gary Williams was the lucky winner.
Becoming a PNC member helps support the PNC, a 100-percent volunteer nonprofit 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.”
All membership and sponsorship donations are used to cover expenses associated with grooming cross-country ski trails.
With the prospect of an El Nino weather pattern this winter, PNC is gearing up for another cross-country ski season and is preparing grooming equipment that can be deployed quickly once enough snow falls.
PNC will typically start grooming Fall Creek, which is at a higher elevation on Wolf Creek Pass. Fall Creek is located 2 miles east of the Wolf Creek Pass scenic overlook hairpin curve. Fall Creek is a 5k out (up) and back (down) route with incredible views. The first 1 km is fairly easy, the next 2 kms are moderate terrain and the final 2 km are a little steeper. PNC is soliciting volunteers interested in helping with trail grooming efforts for this season. Grooming trails is hard work, but very rewarding and fun. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Wolf Creek Ski Area will also groom the Alberta Park loop early in the season. Both of these trails provide a great early season opportunity for groomed cross-country ski trails for skate skiing with set tracks for classic cross-country skiing.
PNC has just finalized the event and free activity schedule for this year.
Free Learn to Classic X-C Ski and Skate Ski clinics for beginners and intermediates are on the following Saturdays at 10 a.m.: Dec. 13, Jan. 10 and Feb. 7.
Free moonrise/sunset X-C ski socials are on the following Fridays between 4 and 7 p.m.: Jan. 2, Jan. 30 and Feb. 27.
The Season Opener BB Gun Biathlon, 6k/12k, will be held at the Alberta Park loop at Wolf Creek Ski Area on Dec. 14. The course gives racers three opportunities to shoot at targets and is a great warm-up for the season.
The Free Dog Harness clinic is on Jan. 3 at Yamaguchi Park. This is a dry land clinic demonstrating the harness techniques for ski-joring, bike-joring and more.
The “Pagosa Paw” Dog Sled Races are now part of the competitive Rocky Mountain Sled Dog race series, and the event has been moved up to Jan. 23 and 24. This is an awesome spectator event not to be missed. The location is set for the Toner Ranch, up Piedra Road. The event includes two-, four-, six- and eight-dog sled teams, Canine Ski-Joring and Cani-Cross races.
The Winterfest BB Gun Biathlon, 6k/12k, is on Feb. 14, location to be determined. The course will give participants three chances to shoot at targets with Red Ryder BB guns.
The Plumtaw ULTRA 30k/60k race is on Feb. 14. The course begins at the end of Fourmile Road and continues to McManus Road and then back on Plumtaw Road. This is a ultra-long, self-supported race for hearty Nordic souls.
The Spring Quad Challenge is on March 1 and includes a 10k X-C Ski, 5k Run, 22k road bike and 1/2k swim.
Check out pagosanordic.com for trail maps, event information and grooming reports.