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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Life is short. Ski long.

Another beautiful day up there on the Mesa. The air temperatures were spring-like (see GMNC Vice-President Annie Deprey at left), but the snow conditions were pure winter--cold powder.

Life is good. Enjoy it while you can!


Grooming for 2/28

Happy to report we have resolved our snowcat starting problems and will have Skyway/County Line groomed this morning.

Al will be working at Ward this morning as well.


Friday, February 27, 2009

Yet Another Beautiful Weekend in Paradise

A weak cold front passed through the Grand Mesa and vicinity valleys this Friday morning. It may produce a little snow Friday afternoon, maybe an inch or three. Gusty NW winds diminish this evening, and clearing skies will bring cold morning temperatures on Saturday.
High Pressure builds over western Colorado again this weekend. Saturday should be mostly sunny with cold snow (snow temperatures 15-25?) and afternoon high temperatures climbing into the upper 20s to near freezing. Clouds invade Saturday night and thicken on Sunday. Increasing clouds and winds on Sunday will bring warmer snow (SnowTemp 22-30?), and afternoon air temperatures into the 30s. But the clouds will likely produce a flat light, perhaps not quite as pleasant as Saturday.
Breezy, cloudy and mild continue into next week. Light snowfall may start as early as Tuesday, but heavier snow is forecast for Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. First estimate now is 5-10inches of new snow with some bigger drifts by Thursday afternoon. As the snowpack has gone through daily freeze/thaw for the last several days, it has begun to crust up. It is probably too thin to support skinny skis yet, but give it a try.
So enjoy yet another beautiful weekend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Fun at Ward Lake!

We had a great ski with friends at Ward Lake the weekend before last. We were on the trail as Al Fournier groomed it and chatted with him back at the trailhead after our ski.

Lee Gelatt

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Grooming report 2/25

Both Skyway/County Line and Ward groomed today. Conditions ranged from 8" of new snow on top to boilerplate from the rain at Ward. Strong SW winds were causing drifting in the usual places, but overall nice conditions for skiing.

Looking at Sat. morning for next grooming, after the next system passes.

Also, would the person who offered up the use of the portable generator please get in contact with myself or Kenton Shaw. We are interested!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Grooming for week 2/23-28

We have scheduled Wed. for the next grooming. The timing of the storms are a challenge to have the grooming plan in place more than 24 hrs. out.
Looking at Friday and Sat. for the next grooming.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Grooming report 2/22

On Sat. both County Line and the Ward system were groomed. Excellent skiing on all of our trails but we continue to experience snowmobiles at Ward and oblivious snowshoers at Skyway/County Line which requires us to regroom these trails.
We are asking our members to assist us on the trails by educating snowshoers trashing the classic and skating lanes, and reporting wayward snowmobilers to the USFS (with registration # if possible).

Thank you;
W Robertson
GMNC grooming coordinator

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beautiful Day

It was a great day to be on the trails...

Great day for a picnic too!

Did you lose your boot (skyway trailead)?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

GMNC Finances

The Grand Mesa Nordic Council depends on your tax-deductible donations.

Here's how we spend our money:
79%of our budget goes to grooming
9% Skis for Kids
6% insurance
3% newsletter
everything else is in the 1% range.

For a detailed explanation of how we do our budgeting, where the money goes and our IRS 990 forms, please see our new finances page:

This page contains a thorough rundown of how we manage our finances.

Questions? Suggestions?

Email me at:


Grooming report 2/19

After a delayed start (batteries) Kenton finished grooming Skyway/County Line under mostly cloudy and light snow conditions. New snowfall totals of 8"-12", depending on where you were measuring.

At Ward, Al set the Ward trail, where there was around 6"-8" of new snow.

Some touch up at Skyway today, then will groom on Sat. for the weekend.
Ward will be groomed Sat.P.M., if needed.


Another Beautiful Weekend in Paradise

Fellow GMNCers,
A ridge of High pressure amplifies over the Great Basin Thursday and Friday, building over Colorado this weekend.  A cool and breezy NW flow will continue on Thursday and Friday. Then milder temperatures and light winds are expected over the weekend under the "big bubble of no trouble." With morning low temperatures in the teens and afternoon highs in the mid 30s, the weekend snow should be firm and fast.
High clouds invade on Sunday as the ridge starts to shifts east, to be replaced by a flat west-to-east flow across the nation next week. Southwest winds pick up on Monday with Pacific moisture and ripples bringing a good chance for snow starting Monday night. Right now next week looks unsettled with light snowfall possible every day, accompanied by gusty winds.
So enjoy this weekend!   

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hurray for our Groomers!

Thanks to GMNC groomers for the wonderful job keeping our trails
pristine! It is such a pleasure to find beautifully groomed trails every
time we head up to the mesa. Many thanks to Winslow, Kenton, John, Al;
you guys are awesome! It's also great to get regular grooming reports as
well as stellar weather reports from Mojo. Thanks you guys!
A skier in Paonia

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Grooming for week 2/17-21

Looking at Wed.PM for grooming at Ward and Skyway/County Line. May do some 'touch-up' at Skyway on Thurs. if needed.

For the weekend, will either be Friday PM or Sat. morning for all trail systems.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Grooming for 2/15

First off, I wish to apologize for the grooming, or lack of, yesterday at County Line. When the snowcat refused to start, and the weather getting worse as the day progressed, I made the decision to bag it as I was concerned about the safety of our groomer, and the effectiveness of grooming with the snowmobile.
For today, Kenton will try again with the 'cat at Skyway/County Line. Let's hope things work better than yesterday.
For Ward, Al will groom the Ward Trail.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Grooming update 2/14

Al finished up the Ward trail late Friday. It is rolled and graded, but very soft due to the 14" of new snow on it. We will look at resetting it on Sunday A.M.
For today, John will work on Skyway/County Line. There was at least 15" of new snow there, so expect it to be soft, even with the tilling from the snowcat.
The GMNC will groom Skyway/County Line on Sunday A.M. after the latest round of new snow.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Ward Fun

Peaches the Pup helps Al groom Ward....

--Dave Knutson

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Avalanche control 2/13

CDOT will be conducting avalanche control work on Friday, 2/13 beginning at 0700 until around noon. Hwy. 65 will be closed over the top of Grand Mesa during this period.


Grooming report 2/12

John and Al completed Skyway/County Line and Ward yesterday, with the Ward trail getting rolled/graded but no tracks set due to the snow during the day.
There may be some grooming at Skyway today for the Mesa State team if needed.

We will look at grooming Ward on Friday P.M., and Sunday if needed.
Skyway/County line will be groomed Sat. A.M., and again Sunday for the holiday weekend.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Three More Winter Storms...Pick Day is Sunday

With a broad trough of Low pressure over the western states, we are open to Pacific storms. Timing of these storms: 1) Thursday afternoon-Friday,  2) Saturday-Saturday night,  3) Monday night-Tuesday.
Each of these storms look to produce something like 3-8 inches. Afternoon temperatures will be in the upper teens to mid 20s, with some gusty SW winds through the weekend.
Little to no snow is expected on Sunday and afternoon temperatures should climb into the mid-upper 20s. So this is looking like the nicest ski day.
But I liked what Tom Ela said here recently: don't trust the weather forecaster! Carry some extra clothes and at least a pair of classic skis with you, even if you want to skate. It is always a pleasure up top, sometimes just different than what you, or I, were expecting.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Getting Schooled at the Heart Throb

I guess we managed to scare everyone away with our dire weather predictions for the Heart Throb 50K. Too bad, because the skiing turned out to be superb. Kenton reported some wind early when he arrived to groom but it quieted down so that when we started at 10:30 there was a sporadic mild breeze, warm temperature and pristine tracks awaiting us. And it stayed that way for almost everybody.

Al Fournier schooled us all with a blazing 25K in 1:15:36 and that included stopping to chat at least once and skiing alongside pokey me long enough to talk for awhile and give me a valuable pointer on my classic form. I had 20K still to practice and it helped a lot. Thanks, Al! Bob Vermillion also skied 25K in a more reasonable 2:22. Greg Peterson got in 42K all classic style in 4:36. Greg leaves this week for Sweden to ski the Vasa. All those Grand Mesa miles should have him in good shape for it. Good luck, Greg! Joe Ramey reported "Fast snow, fast skis, slow body" after skiing the full 50K in 4:08. And then there was me. I skated the first 25K and then switched to classic. When I saw the first snowflake I checked my watch. It was 3:15. Everyone else was done by then. By 3:30 it was snowing hard. The predicted storm had finally arrived. It actually wasn't uncomfortable except the tracks were filling in and becoming very slow. I had tracks all the way to the snowmobile corridor on Scales Lake but there I found wind and things became unfun. I finally made it back to the Skyway trailhead but still needed 4 more K. I decided to check Winslow to see if tracks were still distinguishable. I found that they were but I stood there for at least 30 seconds thinking "man, this is stupid" but I realized I still had some energy and couldn't think of anything I'd rather be doing than skiing through the trees with softly falling snow at dusk. So I did it, all 50K in a gruesomely slow 6:57.

So here are the lessons to be learned:
1. Don't trust the weatherman! But don't blame him either. Just understand that, with something as dynamic and complex as the weather, a forecast made a day or two out can miss some on timing and intensity. With a look out the window Sunday morning, I could see that it probably wasn't going to be too bad.
2. There are no wasted trips to Grand Mesa! If you're a little bit flexible, have some backup classic skis along with and know where the protected trails are, you can almost invariably get some K's in and make the trip worthwhile. And often enough, the skiing turns out to be much better than expected. If you feel like skiing, Go!

And now I can rest.

Grooming for week 2/9-14

Both Skyway/County Line and Ward will be groomed on Wed. the 11th. As we get closer to the weekend, will look at the wx forecast for best day(s) to groom.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Introducing the Mesa State Ski Team

Meet the new Mesa State Nordic Ski Team!

From left to right: Brooke Bosman, Megan McGrath, Tre Anastasia, Kelsey Follett

The team may be small, but it's loaded with talent.


Heart Throb 50K Update

Hi all you long distance gonzos! Please check the weather forecast for Sunday, the day of the Heart Throb Show-n-Go 50K, and you'll see crummy weather likely. Due to the casual and unofficial nature of this race, it will not be rescheduled. I will be up there at Skyway planning on skiing whatever conditions allow starting at 10:30 and anyone can join me. Just understand trails may not be groomed and, if they are, may be covered over quickly. Come prepared for all contingencies and we'll enjoy whatever challenges we find!

Tom Ela

Friday, February 6, 2009

Weekend Update--Full moon party cancelled :(

Due to the forecast of high winds, blowing snow and overcast skies, the full moon bonfire party tomorrow (Sat, Feb 7) has been called off.

Nighttime skiing (and firemaking) in blowing, overcast conditions poses too many safety risks.

Let's try again next month...

The Gliders, Skis Not Skirts and lessons are still on.

The blowing snow is not all bad--it should cover all the dog poo that a few naughty dog owners have neglected to remove from the County Line and Ward trails.


Volunteer Ski Hosts Wanted!

To protect our groomed trails, welcome new skiers, and share our knowledge of good trail practices on Grand Mesa, consider becoming a Ski Host or Ambassador on the mesa trailheads some weekend this month or next. All you have to do is spend a little time at County Line, Ward Lake, or Skyway trailhead on a Saturday or Sunday, to:

* greet skiers and snowshoers
* encourage newcomers to become members of GMNC
* and hand out GMNC trail etiquette cards. It's fun!

Volunteers this year report that most folks they meet on the mesa are happy to chat and grateful to the Nordic Council for the fantastic trails.

Please email me, Jane McGarry, at if you'd like to help out. Added bonus: if you volunteer 8 hours or more over the season, you'll get a thank-you gift like the cool GMNC hat modeled by Pip in the picture, or a nice GMNC fleece vest.

thanks, volunteers!

Blowy and Snowy

It was such a sweet ridge of High pressure. Ellen and I had a nice evening ski on Wednesday under the waxing moon and no wind. But Low pressure along the California coast is in control this Friday morning. Light snow showers are possible today and Saturday, but the real story is the winds and wind chill. National Weather Service Doppler radar indicates wind gusts of 45 mph this Friday morning. By Saturday morning winds will be less SW 5-10 with gusts to 20-25 mph in the open areas. These winds will shift to South and increase towards sunset increasing to 10-15 with gusts 25-30mph in open areas. Mostly cloudy skies will block most, if not all, moonlight Saturday evening.
This morning's models remain in good agreement with previous runs. Snowfall starts early Sunday and becomes heavy at times during the day. Two models yield very different amounts: 2-4inches by noon in the GFS model vs 8-11inches in the WRF model. I am leaning towards the lower GFS while the current NWS forecast is holding on to the possibility of the higher WRF amounts.
So the bottom line is: Saturday and Saturday evening blowy and cold. Sunday blowy, cold and snowy. Temperatures will rise into the mid 20s both afternoons, but wind chills will make it feel colder.
More snow will fall into next week especially Monday.
Stay on top of the latest conditions and forecast:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Little Time Off . ..

Wednesday, Jan 28: climbed up two hours onto Huntsman's ridge in the
falling snow. Chuck says, "it's like being in a Christmas globe." We ski
one run on the north side in the glades, plumes of snow flowing around
us as we turn. A flock of pine grosbeaks feeding high in the snowcoated
spruce trees.
Thursday: A short ski from home along the Stewart ditch above Paonia.
Scrub jays in the oak brush. Everything is melting.
Friday: Snowmass afternoon with friends. KT Gully, Hanging Valley Wall,
Sheer Bliss, High Alpine, one run down the old liftline at Sam's Knob.
Soft new snow. Lots of vertical on the quadriceps. Life is sweet.
Saturday: Mayhem at Buttermilk with five fiveyearolds on skis for the
first time, the "purple Pandas". Tears and tumbles. At three o clock I
crawl into Bumps restaurant, buy a paper cup of tea, get on the
chairlift, and sip in silent bliss, gazing at the Maroon Bells. I survived.
Sunday: One run early on the Buttermilk lift. I am the first to ski the
corduroy, which has an inch of new snow. True first tracks laid down by
the coyote and fox who cross the slopes when the mountain is theirs
alone. At nine oclock: Purple Pandas, day two. We are a team. After 12
hours on snow together in two days, the fiveyearolds are making turns
and (usually) stopping with control. Voila: skiers!
Monday: Kicking and gliding up the road at Steven's Gulch in the waning
afternoon light, when I see a dozen turkeys a quarter mile ahead. Pip
charges after them. Good dog comes back when called. At home, I reward
her with snitters and bits from the roast turkey for dinner.
Tuesday: A few laps skating around County Line with Pip and Chuck. Warm
sun, fast snow "like a bobsled run" as Dave A says when we meet him on
the trail. Gray jays, ravens, mountain chickadees, a three-toed
woodpecker. Looking for crossbills high in the treetops.
Wednesday: Climbed up TV hill up Steven's Gulch with friend Jan. The old
woodies get a workout coming down on the suncrust. We watch an immature
golden eagle making his own turns.
How was your week?


Saturday, February 14, 2008 10:30am Countyline trailhead
Designed for ages 6-12, kids will travel on their Nordic skis and follow hearts and clues in search for the hidden treasure box.
Kids Bring: - Cross country skis - classic and Water bottle with water, Gatorade, or juice - please have your kids carry their own water bottle in either a small backpack, fanny pack, or sports belt; weather-appropriate attire; An adventurous attitude
Parents Bring: - Several small treats (individually wrapped) or prizes that we can put in the treasure chest for the kids to find at the end of their search. One of the coaches or a parent volunteer will gather the items at 10:30am, and ski to the end;  We will be skiing at Countyline trailhead, and dogs are welcome. If you do bring a dog, please make sure it is under control, especially around the children.

* Volunteers - if you would like to volunteer to help hide the clues, please meet at Countyline at 9:00am

All are welcome. However, if you are not a Glider, please RSVP to Annie by Thursday, February 12th so that we will have enough prizes for the kids. or 970-623-4424

Grooming 2/4

Kenton graded the skating (and snowshoe) lanes at Skyway/County Line. Next grooming will be Sat. morning.
Al groomed Ward, which required a great deal of effort to repair the damages caused by the ATV at the top of the Ward Trail. Next grooming will be Sat., if needed.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Full Moon Party Contingency Plan

A few people have asked about contingency plans for the full moon party on Saturday. Here's the plan:

If it's merely overcast, the party is on (bring your headlamp if you intend to ski). We'll have a warm fire and soup. If it's snowy (and roads are bad) we'll have to try again next month...

I'll post an update here with the final word Saturday morning, but that's the plan.

Enjoy the great weather while it lasts!


Winter Returns Friday; or Snow on the GMNC Parade

A big ridge of High pressure moves over Western Colorado Tuesday and Wednesday, so enjoy the sun and mild temperatures. These will be the nicest ski days for awhile, and the best nights to enjoy the upcoming full moon that occurs next Monday, the 9th. (For barrels of fun tonight, Tuesday, you are welcome to join the GMNC Board meeting at 6:30PM in Delta at the First National Bank behind McDonald's.) High clouds begin to invade on Wednesday, then thicken and low on Thursday as the SW winds pick up. Snow showers start early Friday morning and continue off and on (mostly on) through next Tuesday. Expect snow accumulations of 4-8 inches Friday through Sunday, with something like 8-16 inches total through next Tuesday with significant drifting. Afternoon temperatures will range from 18-25F but SW winds of 10-20mph with higher gusts will make it feel colder.
So the Grand Mesa Gliders need to bundle up for Saturday morning's lesson and plan to ski in the trees. The 2nd full moon, bonfire party is looking quite threatened. And the Heart Throb 50k informal marathon may see epic conditions on Sunday.
I will try to update with more detail as we approach the weekend. Until then, check out the lastest conditions and forecast:

Grooming Plans for week Feb 3-7

Plan is to groom on Wed. afternoon at Skyway/County Line, and looking at Sat. morning depending on when the next wx system arrives.
Ward will be groomed either Wed. or Thurs.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Full Moon Ski and Bonfire!

Join the GMNC this Saturday February 7 as we host our second full moon ski and bonfire party at the Skyway trailhead on top of the Grand Mesa.

The campfire and cookout begin at 6pm. We'll provide the warm fire and a pot of soup, bring your own drinks, side dishes, and skis for a moonlight outing. For more info, call 856-6783

Hope to see you there!

Schedule Change, Skirts

The Skis, Not Skirts gathering originally scheduled for this Sunday, Feb 8 has been rescheduled for 11am at Skyway on Saturday, Feb 7.

This change is to avoid conflicting with the Heart Throb informal ski marathon.

More info:

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Heart Throb 50K Approachs

Been getting your K's in? Hope so because the next unofficial "Show-n-Go" marathon is Sunday, Feb. 8. This is the Heart Throb 50K at Skyway. It's a no-fee no-support all-fun casual ski with scheduled time for the clock to be started at 10:30 AM. Sign in (AND SIGN OUT!) and record your time when you're done whether you ski 50K or 25K or something in between. The course is two loops of the Skyway-County Line perimeter plus twice around Lions Loop.
Remember this is self-supported so make plans to keep yourself hydrated, well fed and adequately clothed. Slacking on any of those three can result in dangerous hypothermia and/or serious bonking. Come prepared to finish safe and smiling!