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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

GMNC Ward Lake Trails Grooming report

No grooming at Ward Lake trail system today, but Al plans to work on those trails tomorrow afternoon to prepare for weekend traffic. Twilight parking area is currently plowed allowing access to some telemarking and the upper Ward trail head parking area has enough space for about six vehicles. Also, if you are planning a snowshoe trek, please try to avoid snowshoeing on the set parallel classic ski tracks, both to preserve the tracks and make for easier snowshoeing.
Jerry Evans

GMNC Skyway County Line Grooming report

Wed. 31Dec08
Kenton groomed for tomorrows race this afternoon on Vista Loop, Lyons, and Will's Hill with the snowcat. He also groomed Sunset and Winslow trails. Jon will be doing touch-up grooming with the snowmobile on the race course and County Line trails tomorrow morning. Skiing is good with 4.5 feet of base.
Jerry Evans

Sleds at Skyway and County Line Trailheads

In the event you encounter an ill or injured skier unable to ski back to the parking lot, sleds are available to assist. 
Give some thought to how you would react if you encountered an ill or injured skier.  Many of us who ski frequently have encountered other skiers in need of help.
Some considerations:
1.  Enlist help from other skiers.  Can you or someone else administer first aid?
2.  Call 911 if warranted (Need to get to parking lot for connectivity)
3.  Keep the person warm.  Use sleds to bring warming blankets from the survival kit in your car.
4.  If possible, enlist help from snowmachine operator.
5.  Strong skiers can use sled to evacuate injured to parking lot.
This year the kayak sled is located at Skyway.  It's next to our snowmobiles.  The homemade wood sled has been replaced with a plastic sled.  The plastic sled is lighter and more stable.  The wood sled has been retired.  The new plastic sled is located at the County Line trailhead.
Description and pictures at:

New Year's Race Weather

If you are starting 2009 off right and will be up on the GMNC trails, expect another beautiful Colorado mountain day. Southwest winds will remain gusty that will likely cause some drifting snow in the open areas. I am not at work and hate to deviate from the NWS forecast, but a quick look at the latest model runs indicate that there will be little to no new snowfall for the race. Snow and air temperature will likely be in the 20s. I have found FastWax Blue non-flouro to work just fine in those conditions. Any non-fluoro cold to medium cold glide wax will likely work well for skating. As usual for waxing on the Grand Mesa, when in doubt go colder.
Happy New Year!

All Hail the Trailmakers!

The GMNC and our grooming crew gets a shout-out today from Grand Junction Daily Sentinel writer . The story made the front page of the Outside section.

Read it here: All Hail the Trailmakers

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ward Lake

Ward Lake has lots of snow and great trail conditions. Some snow angels visited Tuesday...


This Week at GMNC

This week's happenings at GMNC:

Thurs, Jan 1
Celebrate the new year with the Skyway Skuffle 10km freestyle fun race
11am, Skyway
Registration begins at 10am and costs $10 for GMNC members, $15 for non-members.
More info: Tom Ela 434-9753

Sun, Jan 4
Skis, Not Skirts women's ski training group meets at Skyway at 11am for a skate outing.
Learn more and view video from our last meeting at

Buy or sell gear at GMNC's Colorado Ski Swap
Email your "for sale" or "wanted" ad to:
To include a photo with your ad, attach photo to the email.

Ski Lessons
Renowned ski instructor Al Fournier offers skate and classic lessons for skiers of all ability levels. Call Al at 872-3868 to schedule a private or group ski lesson.

Grand Mesa Gliders
Registration is still open for the Gliders youth program. Get details at:

Happy New Year!

Grooming Report, 12/30/08

Jon Canty groomed the overlook at CountyLine, Loop 3 and Kannah Crossing Yesterday.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Amazing Mountain-Top Inversion and Golf Courses

It is a wonderful time to get up on the Mesa. With a very strong inversion (warmer air over cold) in place over Western Colorado, temperatures on our trails are warmer than the valleys. For example on Monday, high temperatures in Grand Junction/Montrose were 21/28, while on top MesaLakes/TricklePark reached 37/35. And the air is cleaner on the Mesa too, perfect conditions for some nordic aerobic fun. These conditions will likely continue through Wednesday.
The next storm is still forecast to pass on New Year's Day bringing snowfall for Steamboat and Vail. Grand Mesa effects will likely be gusty winds, but little to no snowfall. Temperatures too will fall back to afternoon highs in the 20s with some significant wind chill.
A stronger two-barrel storm will pass this weekend. Gusty winds and significant snowfall (6-12inches?) will occur with an open trough passage Friday Night-Saturday. Snow will continue Sunday-Monday, but with the upper flow switching to SW, Ward Lake trails will be favored for snowfall. Gusty winds will occur across the top and the north-facing slopes down to Powderhorn.
If you are like me, tied to the valley with work or family responsibilities, golf courses are great places to ski right now. In Grand Junction, I have gotten out on the 3 inches of snow on the Lincoln Park golf course. I set classic tracks around the perimeter and have gotten in a few laps before sunset since Christmas. A Rode Super Blue wax is giving me good kick on the snow/grass combo and there are no new scratches in my rock skis. My golfing acquaintances asked that we circumvent the greens so we don't hurt the turf there. 
Happy New Year!

Grooming report

Canty will be grooming county line & other heavily  used areas which need touch up. If time allows the no snowmobiles signs will be placed.
Fournier groomed Ward with the grader & set track Sunday. There was 54" at Ward Lake CG & 36" at Ward creek Reservoir.  A Reminder:  Snowshoers, Please do not walk in the set ski track.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Hi gang, skiing was unbelievable again today. How many of these do we get and it still remains legal!!! Here's a shot of our Senior Groomer Kenton refueling and ready to go.

...and here's a shot of the most stylish do on the Mesa today - Coco was in full flight gear and brought a two human friends with him to enjoy the snow.

Ciao, Dave Knutson

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Jon Reported that all the trails at Skyway and County Line were snowcat groomed and set track today except for Lions Loop.  Total depth not reported but 6" of new snow last night.  Only minimal grooming tomorrow.
Al used roller on Ward Trail this afternoon and encountered many drifts and about 1 foot of new snow (about 54" total ) at the Campground. And about 36" at Ward Creek Reservoir.  He plans to use grader tomorrow to take the tops off the drifts and set track. 

Froze Our Buns Off!

It was cold, cold!

County Line Loop 4 was both fine forest ski tracks and nicely groomed in the open.

Snow plows working hard to clear the highway and parking.

Lee Gelatt

Cold Enough For Ya?

Finally a break in the snow storms! You've got your cold wax on your skis, right?
Today, Saturday, was probably the coldest day of 2008, with morning lows on the trails around -20 to -25F and afternoon highs just barely climbing into positive single digits. But look for a warming trend through Tuesday. Clouds increase Saturday night and Sunday that may bring a few flurries but Sunday afternoon highs all the way back up to near 20. Monday and Tuesday will climb into the mid-upper 20s making for some nice ski conditions.
Two storms are on the horizon. New Year's Eve-New Year's Day expect gusty west winds and snow accumulations something like 4-10 inches. A stronger storm will pass next weekend.
Find all the latest weather information, specifically for our trails, here:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Grooming Report

Jon Canty reported that he had groomed today with the snow cat but snow and wind continued. And 4" of new snow had covered what he had groomed.  He will resume grooming Saturday doing the Dog Trail and Scales Lake Road then  Skyway if weather conditions allow. 
Plans are to groom Ward Saturday afternoon.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A White Christmas

Christmas Eve was a great day for skiing on the Mesa.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

grooming report 12/24

While it wasn't the best day for skiing, it was pretty good if you don't mind a little wind with your cold temps. Most of Skyway/County Line groomed, as was Ward from top to bottom.
The grooming crew will take Christmas day off, then back at it at both trail systems on friday.
Happy holidays everyone,


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

grooming report 12/23

Despite the wind and the snow, the crew did groom Monday at Skyway/County Line and Ward. No grooming scheduled today; however Wed. will see both trail systems groomed as we expect a lull in the storms.
No one scheduled for Christmas day, then we will pick it back up on Friday.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Storm Update

Monday Afternoon Weather Update: its blowing and going on our trails today! This morning Powderhorn reported 3 inches new and wind gusts to 50 mph (how did they measure that 3 inches when its moving sideways? Poor ski patrol). At 2PM the automated weather towers on top indicate that 7 inches had fallen at Mesa Lakes and 9-10 inches at Trickle Park Reservoir. And this is just the beginning of the storm. The cold front will slam into the Mesa around midnight with associated heavy snowfall that will linger through Tuesday. The snow will end Tuesday evening with at least another foot of powder left in its wake, perhaps more from Powderhorn to Mesa Lakes. Near zeroF can be expected again Wednesday morning.
The next storm is right on its heals. SW winds increase through the day on Wednesday, and become strong Wednesday night and Christmas. Christmas day winds will be 30-40mph in open areas, with gusts to 50mph or more from Mesa Lakes down to Powderhorn. The next cold front brings heavy snowfall again Thursday night and Friday with another foot or two of snowfall possible by Friday evening.
After a cold Saturday morning (probably below zeroF), we finally get a break in the storms. The mountain-top flow turns from NW on Saturday to a mild (less cold) SW flow beginning Sunday. Little to no snowfall is expected into the new week with afternoon temperatures reaching the 20s; perfect blue-wax skiing. The latest model runs are advertising the next storm for New Year's.
After a very dry November, we have caught up and passed average snowfall on the Grand Mesa. We will be well above average as we begin 2009. If this pattern holds, look for more storminess into early-mid January, then a mid-season melt by late January or February.
Find all the latest weather information, specifically for our trails, here:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice Pictures!

Hi GMNC gang, this year's solstice at Skyway was a spiritual experience. Here's a shot of Brad from Ridgway getting his legs back...
A shot of snow in the forest....
Two shots of John one of three grooming heroes!
And a shot of Al, another GMNC intrepid, brave courageous groomer.

BTW he is the go to guy for lessons! Apologies to Kenton the other member of our grooming team - who was probably getting some much needed rest!

The skiing was amazing today - the scenery unparalleled - the camaraderie great! Come join us.

Dave Knutson
GMNC Board Member
"fun raising while fund raising!"
970.527-3969 260-3260c

grooming report 12/21

Happy to report today was the best day of skiing of this young season. All trails at Skyway/County Line are groomed(except Will's hill) and conditions are excellent.
Planning to groom on Monday, 12/22 at both Ward and Skyway/County Line.


Great Day to Ski!

What a day! Thanks to our talented, hard-working grooming crew, the trails are in perfect shape.

Get out and enjoy the snow.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let it Snow Let it Snow Let It Snow

The Parade of Storms continues. Recommended ski days are Sunday and Wednesday/Christmas Eve. But if you are looking for fresh powder, then think about Tuesday and Friday.
A cold dry airmass pushed in on Friday night and Saturday morning, with 6 inches reported Saturday noon at Powderhorn. After a cold saturday night (dropping below zeroF), Sunday should be a lovely day on the ski trails, with afternoon temperatures climbing into the 20s.
Monday-Tuesday: SW winds get gusty again early Monday, really gusty at Powderhorn. Light snowfall is possible through the day, probably lighter than the current NWS forecast with the best snowfall at the Ward Lake trails. The cold front passes Monday night bringing 12-18 inches of new by Tuesday evening.
A moist southwest flow brings light snowfall on Thursday, that will continue on Christmas Day. The next cold front passes Christmas night for more snowfall in the valleys, and another foot or so on the trails by late Friday.  More storminess is possible next weekend.
Find all the latest weather information, specifically for our trails, here:

Grooming report 12/19

We all need to give our grooming crew a collective 'thank you' for the hard work they put in on friday. Kenton and Al packed and graded Sunset/winslow; Kenton continued grooming Lions and the drifted in portion of Scales with the snocat; Al moved to Ward and knocked that out from the top to the lower parking area; then Jon worked the P.M. shift(after wrenching on some of our equipment) and ran the 'cat to County Line and groomed Scales, Dog, and the Dog loop. All this on 30" of new snow.
Plan for today (Sat.12/20) is to have Kenton continue to work the Skyway/County Line system.
Plan for Sun.; continue grooming both Skyway/county Line and Ward.


Friday, December 19, 2008

this weekend at GMNC

Find a ride!
Log on to the Grand Mesa Nordic carpool list to find a carpool partner.
Use password: Gmnccarp00!

Skis, Not Skirts
The Skis, Not Skirts women's ski club will meet for a skate ski outing at Skyway this Sunday at 11am. 

Call Al Fournier to arrange for a group or private lesson. 872-3868 

Have a great weekend and enjoy the snow!

new! virtual ski swap

You've asked for it, so I'm happy to introduce the Colorado Ski Swap,
an online bulletin board for GMNC members who want to swap gear.

Are you looking for gear? Do you have some used skis you'd like to
unload? Do it here.

Email your ad to:

Sellers--please consider donating a portion of your proceeds to GMNC.


grooming 12/19

The crew will be working hard to catch up today (Friday), provided the snocat will start. Kenton will work the Skyway/County line system, while Al will work on the Ward system.
Depending on how things go today, the plan is to groom Skyway/County Line on Sunday.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Update 12/17

Kenton and Al took advantage of the break in the weather and packed/rolled Sunset/Lions and Loop 3 at County Line. No grooming with the PB as the battery was dead. Difficult work to open up the trails with 18" of new snow without a packed,firm base.
We will look at Friday as the next opportunity to get more trails groomed. Hopefully the cat will start.

Stormy December Continues

I just have to mention, that as the Climate Focal Point for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, I forecasted a dry November and February, and a wet December and January (see the outlook posted back on 2September). How am I doing so far? :~}
This is a major hassle for our trails and groomers, but it is great for the downhill ski areas, and all of us who plan to drink water, eat, grow food, or water our lawns  in 2009.
Active weather will continue for the remainder of December, with 4 storms being resolved.
Storm 1, Today-Thursday: SW flow aloft doesn't favor the Grand Mesa, but this storm is plenty moist. Relatively warm moist air works over Western Colorado today and tonight. Light accumulations expected today-tonight something like 4-10 inches, favoring Ward Lake trails to the County Line, less down at Powderhorn. But the winds will be gusty and strong, especially on the north side of the Mesa and Powderhorn. Then the cold front pushes through on Thursday and will produce another 4-10 inches with Powderhorn finally getting their fair share.
A break Thursday night into Friday looks like a good time for grooming to open up a few of the trails.
Storm 2, Late Friday Night-Saturday Night: this storm starts out in west flow but veers to northwest quickly, and is colder than storm #1. Better snow amounts expected with this storm 6-12 inches favoring Skyway, County Line and Powderhorn, less at Ward Lake.
Sunday: snows will diminish but not end. Snow accumulation Trace-2 inches.
Storm3, Monday-Tuesday:  8-14 inches.
Storm 4: Thursday/Christmas-Friday: a bunch more.
So please bear with the GMNC as we try to maximize grooming efficiency through this stormy period. It is a great time to use your backcountry skis or visit Powderhorn.

Grooming plans for the week

The GMNC would like to ask for everyone's patience as we try to figure out our grooming schedule during this active weather pattern. We are looking out 2 days ahead, but as it is very dynamic situation, we don't want to schedule grooming only to have it snow hard and waste our efforts.
As of now, we are looking at Thurs. and Friday at Skyway/County Line. We hope to have Ward groomed on Friday and in good shape for the weekend.
Again, thanks for your patience.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ski Race Video Coverage

Since you are waking up to some snow in the valleys, with our trails buried under drifted powder, here are some early season ski nordic races from Europe. The USA teams did not show up for the relays in Sweden. Well the men did, but were not healthy enough to field a full team. I haven't watched the Finnish 15k and 10k yet. And if you are into bondage skiing, there is Slalom skiing from Aspen on 30Nov.
No software download necessary, but if you are on a dialup line they will likely ski reaaalllyyyy ssssllllloooowwww.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

No grooming on Sun.

Due to the wx forecast, the GMNC will hold off sending our hard-working groomers out until there is a break in the storms. We will try and have some trails worked by mid-week, but no promises as we try to balance efficiency and safety with our goal of providing quality groomed ski trails.
Thank you;
Win Robertson

Big Storm #1 of 3 is Here

The outlook for this storm has changed little since I advertised it here a few days ago. This early Saturday morning, mountain wind gusts are already at 50mph, even 80 mph over Monarch Pass! Light snow today turns to a big dump this evening as the cold front passes. Snow will continue on Sunday under very cold temperatures, with maybe 2 feet of new snow accumulation expected by Sunday evening. Grooming late Sunday may help prepare the tracks for the next storm, but the tracks won't last more than 24 hours. There will be a diminishing Sunday night into Monday morning before the next storm slams us again Monday Night-Tuesday. Then a third storm will bring more snowfall later in the workweek.  
We needed more snowfall, but be careful what you wish for! The weather situation will be rapidly evolving. Stay abreast of the latest here

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grooming report 12/12

The Pisten Bully was delivered this morning. Kenton and Jon packed loops 1&2 at County Line today, and groomed Scales with the PB in the P.M.

Next grooming is tentatively planned for Sun., if the predicted winter storm moves out.

W Robertson

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Grooming report 12/10

Jon rolled the Arroyo and Vista trails and reset Scales, Dog, and Dog Loop.
Al worked the Ward system as close to the lower parking lot as possible.

Next grooming will be Friday (at Skyway), when we will attempt to pack some of the remaining trails. Also, the PB 100n will be delivered on that day.

Win Roberton

One More Nice Day...then Beware!

Holy Moly this is going to be a big storm! Thursday is The Pick Day for skiing for the next week, with Friday number two. Then it is Blizzard time. The National Weather Service will be issuing Warnings in the next day or two.
Thursday should be lovely with mild temperatures, light winds, and sunshine. Friday, clouds and wind will be on the increase with light snow showers starting in the afternoon. Saturday, a very strong cold front will approach. It will be brutal on top with southwest winds increasing to 50 mph in exposed areas by the afternoon. Winds will be even stronger on the north side of the Mesa from Powderhorn upward. It may be white-out conditions up there, with the potential for trees falling across the trails. This is especially true for Waterdog and West Bench backcountry trails.  
Saturday will be an awful, even dangerous, day to ski.  I am recommending our groomers not even go up on Saturday. 
You shouldn't either.
The cold front will pass Saturday night. The winds will subside on Sunday shifting to northwest, but it will remain cold and snowy. High temperatures on Sunday may not make the double digits. Skiing conditions Sunday will most likely be backcountry. Snow fall will continue off and on (mostly on) through Wednesday. The highway may be closed at times due to avalanche danger. Best rough estimate for now is 2-4 feet of new snow by Thursday.
Even with the Lambert Foundation snowcat, and some of the best, most-dedicated groomers in the Rockies, we will have a hard time keeping the trials groomed or even open after Friday. Stay tuned here for the latest trail and snow information.
If you must ski this weekend, be prepared for extreme weather. Carry a shovel, sleeping bag, and survival kit in your car. Ski with care, with extra clothing, and a good sense of your location and your strength. Be nice to your dog and leave her at home.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Grooming report; Dec. 9

12"+ new snow this A.M. at Skyway/County Line (24" at the stake). Jon was able to roll and set track on Practice loop, Scales, Dog trail and Dog loop.
Plan for tomorrow, Dec. 10, is to continue with packing additional trails and groom the above trails if time allows.

Al will be doing some grooming on the upper part of the Ward Lk. system.

Win Robertson

Monday, December 8, 2008

Grand Mesa Carpool Group

Board member Christina Stark has started a carpool group for Grand Mesa Nordic skiers located at:  
password: Gmnccarp00!

Here's Christina:
As we all know parking is limited at the trailheads and it can be difficult to find a space on the weekends.  I hope that everyone will use this group and help reduce crowding at the trailheads.  It is a great opportunity to save gas (or get gas money), reduce your carbon footprint, and meet other local skiers. 
I strongly encourage Grand Mesa Glider parents to use this group and I have added a table to the GMG yahoo group ( under Databases for organizing rides on particular days.  I also add an application to the GMG yahoo group that allows for GMG members to post ski items that they would like to sell or are looking to buy.

Winterstart Pictures and Video Posted

Winterstart pictures and video have been posted. 
The Winterstart pictures and video web page is not modem friendly, i.e., it takes a long time to download via 56kb modem.  In previous years I was careful to create modem friendly web pages.  Should I still do this?   Please send me an email if you are a modem user and prefer modem friendly pages.  If I don't hear from anyone, I won't worry about it.
Here's direct link to Winterstart Results where you will find a link to pictures and video.

Re: [GMNC] GMNC Skyway County Line Grooming report

Plan is to groom Skyway/County Line tomorrow, Dec. 8. Jon will start around 11:00AM and with luck will be able to add Arroyo and Lions loop to our grooming report.
Ward trails will be attended to after further evaluation of snow conditions.
We will try and have the PB 100N moved up by this weekend in anticipation of the winter storm that our resident meteorologist claims is on the way.

Win Robertson

Here Comes Winter

After a mild, mostly sunny weekend, that produced a thin crust in the Colorado mountains (think dangerous avalanche potential later!), more snow is on the way. The National Weather Service has issued an Advisory for 4-8 inches on the Grand Mesa Monday night through Tuesday noon. Thereafter scattered showers Tuesday afternoon might produce some very light accumulation, with showers ending before sunset.
Another weak Pacific disturbance brings a slight chance of snowfall Thursday-Friday. But the big news is a change of weather pattern beginning this weekend. For the last month or so, High Pressure anchored near the West Coast has forced storms to the north of Colorado. Over the weekend a trough of Low Pressure will develop over the western states, that will allow Pacific storms to ride into the central Rockies. This bodes well for some big mountain snowfall so we can open our other trails, and bring up and start to use the Lambert Foundation Snowcat. Our lift-assisted friends down at Powderhorn will be especially happy for this pattern change.
As always the latest observations and forecasts tailored for the GMNC trails are right here   

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Winterstart Results!

Winterstart results are now posted. Photos and video to follow.

Here's the link:

There were lots of close, competitive finishes...Al and I pushed eachother to the point of near-vomiting in our race to claim 3rd overall in the classic race (better luck next time Al!) Likewise, Helen Carlson and Christina Stark had a tight race for 2nd place female, looks like Helen took it by a hair.

And we weren't the only ones digging deep..take a look at the results to find out who else had a close finish.

Do you have stories to share? Post them in the comments section below. You can also post photos in the comments section. Or, email photos to and we'll post them here.


Skirts and Lessons and Lots'o Sunshine

Today was a fabulous day for skiing on the Mesa. Air temperatures were warm, but the snow was in great condition--not icy, just right.

We had a great turn out today for Al's group lessons and the Skis, Not Skirts. There were lots of smiles out there.


WinterStart Ski Races were great!

There was good snow and the weather was warm and sunny for the WinterStart races, among the first nordic ski races for the season in Colorado. The conditions made for difficult waxing for the Classic race but the comfort level was high. Joseph Szekely of Farmington NM and Dave Aschwanden of Cedaredge duked it out for the Classic win with Szekely prevailing at the end. Aschwanden got his revenge in the Freestyle race when they flipflopped places. Christie Aschwanden was impressive finishing both races in third place overall and was the first place female. She was followed by Suzi Evans of Grand Junction in the Classic and by Kari Distefano of Telluride in the Freestyle.
Also impressive were our youngest competitors Stephanie Wahlers, Maddy Pill-Kastens, and Cleo and Molly Mueller. They have a bright skiing future ahead of them. It was great to have Mesa State College represented by Brooke Bosman and Hotchkiss High School by Asa Burritt. Mesa State is putting together a nordic team this year for the first time so we look forward to seeing them competing with Brooke on Grand Mesa ongoing.

Race winners took home organic Fuji and Braeburn apples from Ela Family Farms and everyone got samples of a variety of Clif Bar energy products as well as Dan Schultz-Ela's birhtday cake. Door prizes were provided by Western Rockies Federal Credit Union. Our volunteers Leslie Brodhead, Bryon Lawrence, Jane McGarry, Shirley Ela and Bill Ela made it all happen. Thanks to everyone for a fun day on snow!

REMEMBER: we all now have kilometers we can log for Virtual Racing! Use the "Real Skiing, Virtual Racing" link on the GMNC home web page. And all you non-racers can and should become Virtual Racers too. Check it out!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

GMNC Skyway County Line Grooming report

06 Dec 08
Al re-groomed all the skating lanes on Scales, Dog Trail, and Dog Loop this afternoon. After spring-like conditions today it should set up for firm, fast skiing tomorrow morning. The classic tracks are still in good condition and may need a soft kick wax tomorrow.
Jerry Evans

Friday, December 5, 2008

[GMNC] Skyway / County Line Grooming report

05 Dec 08
2 inches new on ~ 12-15 inch base. This afternoon, Jon graded Scales Lake Road trail to the tower, Dog Trail, Dog Loop, Arroyo and Lyons from 4-way to Scales. He also removed downed tree on Dog Loop. Double classic tracks set on Scales for tomorrow's race. Skiing conditions very good on Scales Road; some rocks and stumps on Arroyo and Lyons. Fair conditions with some branches on Dog Loop and Dog Trail.
Jerry Evans

Beautiful Weather for the Weekend

High pressure is building in from the west over the weekend for very mild and nice ski weather. Saturday morning will start out cold on the ski trails, somewhere in the teens. But as the sun comes up, the temperatures will quickly modify. By the 11AM start time of the Winterstart race, temperatures will climb above freezing. Snow temperature will lag though. With a low sun angle and some thin high cloud shielding the snow, snow temperatures will remain in the 20s. So a blue kick wax, perhaps a red wax in your small kick zone (a few inches on either side of your toe), should work well. Any old cold to somewhat cold glide wax should work, well with cold snow pockets expected in the trees and Arroyo bottom. Humidity will be low, which means inexpensive carbon waxes will work best (reason number 587 I love our trails!). It will be somewhere around the mid 30s in time for the skate race. Winds will be light from the northwest that should not create any drifting problems through the weekend.
Sunday, another beautiful day for Skis Not Skirts and adult lessons. I am going to get some tips from Al, and at $15/person/lesson it is The lesson bargain. Al is a great and knowledgable skier with coaching experience, and he is a very nice guy to boot. Temperatures will be milder than Saturday, perhaps climbing to near 40 for the lessons. A soft kick wax should still work, red-ish maybe, if we are doing classic lessons.
Another Pacific open trough passes on Monday favoring the northern Colorado mountains. The current forecast gives the Grand Mesa another 1-5 inches of snow by Tuesday morning. Then dry for the remainder of the week.  As always the latest observations and forecasts are right here   

Learn to Ski with GMNC!

Al Fournier, ski instructor, groomer, GMNC board member and nice guy!

GMNC now offers adult ski lessons!
Whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned skier looking to improve your technique, Al Fournier can help. Al has 35 years of Nordic skiing experience and is the former ski coach at Colby College.

Al offers private and group lessons in both classic and skate techniques. To sign up, call Al at 874-3868.

Group lessons begin this Sunday (11am at Skyway).
Click here for a full schedule of group lessons.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This Week at GMNC

Lots of great happenings on the Mesa this week, including races, adult lessons, and Skis, Not Skirts.

Saturday, Dec 6: Winterstart ski races at Skyway
Be part of Colorado's first race of the season!  
11am, 5km classic-only race
12:30pm 5km freestyle race

Registration is race day only at the Skyway trailhead.  Ski one or ski them both for the same price, $10 for GMNC members, $15 for others. Grand Mesa racing is focussed on citizen racing. No matter how fast or how slow you are, there is almost always someone else of similar ability to have some friendly competition with. Reward yourself afterwards and refuel with some hot soup and cocoa. For more info contact Tom Ela 434-9753

Sunday, Dec 7: group cross-country ski lessons
meet at 11am, Skyway trailhead 
cost is $15 for GMNC members, $20 for non-members, both classic and skating lessons available. For more info, call instructor Al Fournier 872-3868
Full schedule available online

Sunday, Dec 7: Skis, Not Skirts, women's skating group
Skis,  Not Skirts is a women's ski group dedicated to getting fit,  improving skate ski technique and having fun. Come celebrate the beginning of the season this Sunday with some pointers on the first outing of the season, followed by a group ski and apres ski social.
meet at 11am at Skyway trailhead

As always, find snow conditions, wax report and daily updates on the Grand Mesa Nordic News

See you on the trails!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Skyway / County Line Grooming report

3 inches new snow on approximately a 1 foot base. This afternoon Jon groomed Scales Lake road, Dog Trail, Dog Loop, and Arroyo to Lyons to Scales loop. A tree is down at the bottom of Dog Loop. Plans are to remove it tomorrow. Some obstacles sticking through on Arroyo as it climbs to meet Lyons trail. Some grooming tomorrow and trails will be groomed Friday afternoon in preparation for the race Saturday morning and weekend skiing.
Jerry Evans

First Forecast for the First Ski Race

A wee little cold front passed Tuesday night and produced just a bit of new snow on the trails. As often happens after a cold front, its colder today, Wednesday! A little snow may fall on Thursday, but less than an inch, so what we have is what we will have Saturday for the Winterstart races. Friday afternoon temperatures will rise dramatically on our trails. Saturday will start out cold, inthe teens, but rise into the low-mid 30s by 11AM. So snow temperatures should be in the 20s somewhere. First thought is a red or soft blue kick wax should work, but I will update this outlook on Friday. Kenton says to bring your rock skis, as the groomers may Lion's Loop to Arroyo for the race. 
As always the latest is right here   

GMNC in the GJ Daily Sentinel

The Sentinel's outdoor reporter,

Monday, December 1, 2008

GMNC Racing Real and Virtual

December is here, which for the GMNC means racing! If you're intimidated by real racing, try Virtual Racing. Here are the details for both:

Real racing begins Saturday Dec. 6 at Skyway on Grand Mesa. This is both our first race and Colorado's first race of the season. There is a 5K classic-style-only race at 11 AM followed by a 5K freestyle race at 12:30. Registration is race day only in the parking lot prior to racetime. Ski one or ski them both for the same price, $10 for GMNC members, $15 for others. Grand Mesa racing is focussed on citizen racing. We try to make sure all ages and abilities feel comfortable joining in and testing themselves against the course and the clock. No matter how fast or how slow you are, there is almost always someone else of similar ability to have some friendly competition with. Reward yourself afterwards and refuel with some hot soup and cocoa.

Virtual Racing starts today, Dec. 1! Virtual Racing is actually an on-line log where you can keep track of the kilometers you ski for three months, December, January and February, and at the same time view all of your fellow virtual racers' accumulation of K's. It's open to all skiers whether you ski on Grand Mesa or elsewhere. This is great motivation to ski a little more and achieve greater fitness. Pick a target and shoot for it. It's easy: go to the GMNC home page at and click the "Real Skiing, Virtual Racing" link. Create an account by choosing a real or virtual name and add a password. Each time you ski, log-in and edit your log by adding your newest mileage. Give me a call if you need help with it.

Here's to enjoying a long and invigorating season!

Tom Ela

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Snowy Windy Foggy Fun

Al Fournier, taking a break from grooming on Sunday, talking with Greg Peterson at Skyway.
- Lee Gelatt

Grooming Report, 30 Nov 2008

Sunday 30Nov08
4 inches new snow on a 1-2 foot base.  Scales, Dog Trail and Dog Loop trails at Skyway and County Line were groomed today and there will be some drifting tonight. Next grooming, based on the current forecast, is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon after the next snow storm, but that may change as the forecast changes.
Jerry Evans

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Grooming report Saturday Nov 29

Saturday 29Nov08
Scales Lake Road, Dog Trail, and Dog Loop were re-groomed this morning for skate and classic to repair sections with drifted snow. Grooming will be done as necessary tomorrow (Sunday) morning as the forecast calls for snow and blowing snow tonight.

Jerry Evans

Winter Wonderland

Come on up, the skiing is great! The snow is still falling, but previous grooming on Scales Lake produced a nice firm base, so it's not too punchy.


GMNC Weekend Weather Forecast

This weekend's storm (29-30Nov) will pound the mountains to our north and east. Snowfall for the Grand Mesa still looks like it will be limited. The National Weather Service is forecasting only 1-2 inches both Saturday night and Sunday. We may get more though, as mountains just to our northeast are getting a foot or more of snow, so we are close to the 'big snow' edge. Stronger confidence on the wind though: gusty northwest winds will produce areas of blowing and drifting snow, and you will want to be dressed for winter to fully enjoy your ski outing.
After a break on Monday into Tuesday morning, more snow will fall late Tuesday into Wednesday, and then again next weekend. The majority of this snowfall will again fall over the northern Colorado mountains, but we will get some accumulation on our trails. Keep checking the latest conditions, Warnings, and forecasts here    Enjoy!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Grooming Report: Skyway / County Line Nov 28, 2008

Friday, 28Nov08
Snow depth approximately 1 foot with 8 inches new snow by this afternoon. Scales Lake Road, Dog Trail, and Dog Loop groomed for skate and classic today. Skiing good on Scales Lake Road; some plants and a few rocks on Dog Trail and Dog Loop.
Grooming as necessary is planned for Saturday morning.
Jerry Evans

Thanksgiving Ski

We were so fortunate to host six Tibetan monks from Gaden Shartse
Monastery for an afternoon of skiing at Skyway! Lots of tumbles,
laughter, a little kicking and gliding, and a rousing snowball fight.
This was the first-time ever ski for these monks, who are touring North
America giving teachings, creating sand mandalas, and sharing their
goodwill and fine humor wherever they go. You can see more of them at It was wonderful to be able to share our Colorado
mountain winter with these holy men from the high mountains of Tibet
(now in exile in India). Thank you GMNC!
Jane McGarry and Chuck Behrensmeyer

Thursday, November 27, 2008

GMNC Thanksgiving Weather Forecast Update

A noon Thanksgiving report from the Mesa top is 3 new inches of wet snow with more falling. Looking at the forecast models for Thursday night into Friday, the National Weather Service will be issuing a Snow Advisory for another 4-8 inches of snowfall by Friday early evening.  Snowfall is possible Friday night thru Sunday, but accumulations will be light; a trace to 2 inches is the best forecast for now.  Stay tuned. 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

GMNC Thanksgiving Weekend Weather Forecast

The Pacific storm approaching western Colorado this Wednesday afternoon will favor the San Juan mountains with snowfall. Still the GMNC trails will get some snowfall starting Thanksgiving. We are expecting 1-4 inches on Thanksgiving and another 2-4 Thursday night. Some light accumulations will continue on Friday. Winds will not be especially strong, but some drifting will occur. Not much snowfall is expected beyond Friday. With snow temperatures in the 20s on Thursday, then ranging from 15-25F for Friday onward, conditions should be fun and glidely (if you are glide waxed cold as you should be for our trails). Blue kick wax should work well.
Thank you for becoming members and helping this grassroots organization produce the best nordic skiing in the region.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nov 25 Still skiing!

Conditions are holding up very well. It's a tad scrappy that first kilometer or so, but once you get to the trees the trail is in excellent shape, and the classic tracks are near perfect.

The Aspen Valley team was skiing today, having some fun skating around on the frozen lakes by the junction of Scales Lake and the County Line trails. It's fun, fast skiing--akin to spring crust cruising.

It sounds as if we have the best conditions in Colorado at the moment, and more snow is coming soon.

See you on the trails!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 23--the skiing is still great!

It's been sunny and warm down at my house, but the Grand Mesa's snow is holding up quite well, thanks in part to the hard work of our grooming crew.

The classic tracks are a tad sloppy close to the trailhead, but the skating lane is in perfect shape everywhere and once you pass the snowmobile trail, the classic tracks are in excellent condition as well.

No need for rock skis, there's not a single rock on the skate lane. The track is hard and fast.

We may have some more snow on the way this week.



Monday, November 17, 2008

Skiing on Scales Lake Road

It was like Spring skiing this weekend on the grand mesa. Delicious!

Skiing Nov 16

Sure, we need a little more snow to get all the trails groomed, but the 5km track from Skyway to the towers on Scales Lake road is in great shape.

The classic tracks are bit sloppy in places, but the skating track is fabulous--no rocks.

Get yourself up there to enjoy some early season fun.


more gloomy weather in store for this week

I hate being the bearer of bad news but sunny and seasonably warm weather will continue into the weekend of the 22-23 November at least, as High pressure dominates the intermountain West. There is a broad (read weak) trough of Low pressure forming over the weekend, but for now it doesn't look like a snow producer for the Mesa. In fact the meager snowpack will suffer some melting this week as afternoon temperatures climb into the 40s on our ski trails.
Beyond the 7 day forecast, forecasters look to the state of the oceans for clues to future storm track and intensity. For the West, the Pacific holds some clues for this winter. By comparing two different oscillations: the El Nino Southern Oscillation (neutral this winter) and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (cold this winter), I compared previous winters that were neutral ENSO/cool PDO for 5 sites in the Colorado mountains: Steamboat Springs, Winter Park, Crested Butte, Telluride, Silverton. Those years back to 1950 were:
2001-2002 (top 10 driest years for Colorado mtns) (followed by the summer of the Haymen, Coal Seam, and Missionary Ridge fires amongst many others) 
1978-1979 (top 10 snowiest years for CO mtns)
1953-1954 (top 10 driest years for CO mtns)
1951-1952 (top 10 snowiest years for CO mtns)

Initially you might think, as I did, that this is just noise or chaos to have two top 10 driest and two top 10 snowiest years occurring in this pattern. But this also indicates there is a tendency towards extreme winters under this Pacific pattern. Also by comparing these 10 years to the 30 year average (1971-2000), there is a tendency (just a tendency, not a guarantee by any means!) for a dry November, 
then a snowy December-January, followed by a dry February. So far that pattern is working out, so lets hope for the snowy Dec-Jan part to work out too! I will keep you posted when we get an inkling of Mesa snow. 
As gloomy as this weather is, we might as well try to enjoy the sunny and mild afternoons.  :~}

Thursday, November 13, 2008

13 November Skiing

Fantastic, fast skating up Scales Lake Road today. The trail is in nice
shape, except for the divots from two golden labs and their
snowshoeing master, who protested that he "usually never brings his dogs
to Skyway." Oh well. Let it snow!
Jane McGarry and Chuck Behrensmeyer

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday 11-7 skiing

We skied today! It felt great to get on snow again. Chuck and I skied from the Skyway parking lot to the Microwave Tower via Scales Lake Road on the groomed track. There was adequate coverage to avoid rocks and obstacles the whole way although some dodging was needed between Skyway and the snowmobile corridor. From there on out coverage was good. The classic track was melted out in a number of places throughout but those spots were easily avoided by moving onto the solid skating lane which was generally in good shape. The snow was fast which was good because I was weak. Guess I should have been doing some upper body workouts prior. Rode Super Blue worked well for kick. If we get a few more inches on top of this good base, we'll be sailing!

Full moon is Thursday so any clear night 'til then will be an irresistable opportunity for more skiing. First race is Dec. 6. No excuses for those that wait until then to get on snow!


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Snow Forecast Update for the Week of 9-15 November

Hi GMNCers,
Northwest Pacific storms are still headed our way for this upcoming week, but it is looking like the northern Colorado mountains will be favored over the Grand Mesa. GMNC trail snowfall amounts for this week are expected to be around 3-6 inches.
The first Low pressure system is digging to the Four-Corners late Sunday, further south than earlier forecast. If you are planning on skiing Sunday, expect breezy SW winds with highs in the mid 30s, so waxless skis or a purple or red kick wax will probably work best. Light snowfall will start in the late afternoon and continue off and on into Tuesday. High Pressure tries to build in from the Southwest by mid-week pushing the snowfall further north. Only light accumulations are expected from Wednesday into the weekend.
I will be gone through the new week, but keeping checking this evolving forecast at

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Grand Mesa Snowpack has Begun

Hi Skiers,
Tuesday Night-Wednesday's storm started the snowpack for our upcoming ski season. Reports from County Line on Thursday are of 6-7 inches of new snowfall with 5 inches at Mesa Lakes resort. This snow will hang around through the cold season though it may suffer just a little melt on Saturday afternoon.
The next pacific storm brings snowfall on Sunday into Monday. First estimate is another 4-7 inches by Monday night. This might give us just enough snowfall for skiing Scales Lake Road without gouging our ski bases.
Though it is a long way out, another little storm will bring snowfall later in the week, right now it looks next Wednesday and Thursday. This too looks like another 6 inch-ish producer. The bottom line is we may be skiing soon.
I plan to update the weather on this blog regularly though the ski season with the latest conditions and forecast. Don't forget the Meteorologist Recommended site on our webpage at   As we head into winter, I may have some exciting (exciting in a weather geeky kinda way) way to access current conditions.
So stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


No word yet on how much has fallen on our trails, but check here for updates.

In the meantime, check out the Grand Mesa Cam:


Thursday, October 30, 2008


November is almost here, and, except for a few flakes, the snow we
ordered has yet to materialize. But it's coming. Maybe even this

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ski Season is Coming!

Welcome to Grand Mesa Nordic News. With Labor Day come and gone, there’s a nip in the air and ski season will soon be upon us.

We have some exciting new programs planned for the Grand Mesa Nordic Council this year: a pre-Thanksgiving training camp, adult ski lessons and a women's training group, to name just a few. As always, we'll be hosting Tom Ela's fantastic race series.

As the season approaches, I will be posting regular updates here. Stay tuned!