“Winter Feels Good” is the snowsports industry’s promotional slogan, and Winter Trails Day 2012 on Saturday, January 7, is designed to provide a no-cost and easy way to sample winter outdoor activities and an opportunity to try equipment on your own or go on a group tour. Problem is that in much of the country’s snowbelt, it doesn’t feel much like winter at all.
Here in Colorado where there is some snow in the high country, the show willl go on. Winter Trails Day activities have ebbed and flowed over the years, with more scheduled some years than others. The big event hosted by REI is snowshoe-only — no cross-country skiing. It takes place at Echo Lake along Colorado Hwy. 103 between Bergen Park and Idaho Springs from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and features hundreds of demo snowshoes for adults and children, guided hikes, snow activities, outdoor gear displays and free giveaways. For more information, call 303-756-3100.
Free entry to & activities in archeological park in January and February
My resolution again is to be more conscientious about maintaining this blog to encourage people to pick up poles for Nordic Walking whenever and wherever the ground is bare and poles plus snowshoes when it’s covered in white. There’s good news for snowshoers and in fact, all visitors to southwestern Colorado.
Entry to Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado is FREE during January and February. The park’s main road and Mesa Top Loop Road remain open throughout the winter, 8 a.m. to sunset, weather permitting. Bring your skinny skis or snowshoes to explore four winter trails with a total of 28.4 miles of cross-country and snowshoe terrain, snow permitting. More than 20 miles are groomed; the remaining miles are located on Wetherill Road, closed to vehicular traffic in winter.
Moving across this timeless landscape with snow underfoot and the big blue dome overhead provides ample reason to explore Mesa Verde National Park, but don’t neglect is archeological treasures as well. The Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum is open daily, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until March 10. Put your snowshoes aside for an hour and join a ranger for a FREEwalking tour of Spruce Tree House, Mesa Verde NP’s third-largest cliff dwelling and the only dwelling open during the winter, available daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Food is available at Spruce Tree Terrace, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. The park is near Mancos in southwestern Colorado. For more information, call the Chief Ranger’s office at 970-529-4622, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Two remarkable septugenarians meet & trade stories
Ed Urbanski, Certified Master Nordic Walking Instructor and co-moderator of Nordic Walking eNews, paid a visit to Colorado this week. We have been cyber-friends for some time, so I was delighted to get to meet him in person, and he was eager to meet Dave “Bigfoot” Felkley, whom he described as “my snowshoeing idol.” Easy to make that happen. Ed came to Boulder, and together we drove up the canyon to Nederland. Dave was sure that they had met years ago at some athletic event, but here they are again:
Both of these remarkable men are on the leeward side of 70. Ed from Greendale, Wisconsin, has a long history as a runner, cross-country skier and triathlete (competing in his first Ironman at the age of 50). He has two artificial knees, thanks to all those pavement-pounding years of running, and prefers snowsports and walking with poles to running. Dave’s number-one sport was mountain running, and in winter, he was a cross-country ski racer. A number of years ago, he switched to snowshoeing — hence the nickname “Bigfoot” — and has been getting local kids and seniors outdoors in winter on snowshoes.
They have a lot in common and had a great deal to talk about. And I was happy to be a bystander to their conversation.