Council seeks traction with more skiers

This photo by Lee Gellat shows the myriad of tracks left from skiers and snowshoers using the groomed ski trails on Grand Mesa.



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This photo by Lee Gellat shows the myriad of tracks left from skiers and snowshoers using the groomed ski trails on Grand Mesa.

The Grand Mesa Nordic Council wants you to help raise its visibility.

“My general feeling is on holiday weekends we’re getting lot of people using the trails who maybe don’t even know about the Nordic Council,” said Leslie Brodhead, the Nordic Council’s director of operations.

“One of the things we are trying to do is raise awareness, that we are a voluntary group committed to providing (low-cost skiing) opportunity to the public,” Brodhead said.

A first step being considered, Brodhead said, is an ambassador-on-skis program, similar to that used by most downhill ski resorts.

“It will be volunteers who love to ski or snowshoe and want to be an ambassador for the Nordic Council,” she said. “They’ll wear some type of uniform, maybe just a vest or something, and will answer questions, provide trail maps and let people know who we are and that we’re out there to help them.”

Nordic Council president Christie Aschwanden said the ski tracks on the 10,000-foot high mesa might “be under the radar of most people.”

“We’re really wanting to do more outreach, to get more people involved,” she said. “Most people who use our trails benefit from us but don’t ever donate to us. We understand that and we are firmly committed to keeping fees affordable but we really would like to get better buy-in from many of our users.”

Brodhead said part of the new ambassador program will be to teach skier and snowshoer etiquette.

Here are few etiquette tips from the Nordic Council:

— Help keep the trails in good condition. Do not walk on groomed trails. Please do not skate or snowshoe in the groomed classic tracks.

— Dogs have designated areas where they are welcome. Dog Loop and Dog Trail at County Line and Ward Creek Trail are the only Nordic Council groomed trails where dogs are acceptable. Please keep your dog under control.

— Skiers going uphill yield to downhill skiers.

— When overtaking other skiers call out to make them aware of your intentions. The slower skier should yield to the faster skier, but don’t count on it.

— Do not stop where you obstruct a trail or where you might not visible to others.

— Assess your ability and then select a trail. Trails are not patrolled, assume your own risk.

— If you see a fellow skier in need, take the time to stop and help. A sled that can be pulled by skier or snow machine is available for emergencies.

— Garbage is your responsibility. Please pack it out.

— And last but not least, enjoy yourself.

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