“I can say, without a doubt, this was the best day of skiing I've had this year!” a Front Range Nordic skier mentioned at the end of the 1st annual Mineral Belt Historical Tour on January 27th.
The tour was part of a statewide series known as the Keep Winter White Tour, sponsored by both Rocky Mountain Nordic and Colorado Cross Country Ski Association. Five separate tours are taking place this winter in Colorado with a focus on green recreation, good skiing, and supporting the cross-country ski community.
Sunday, nearly forty participants traveled the length of the Mineral Belt Trail on the tour hosted by Leadville Nordic. They enjoyed food from Provin' Grounds, Tennessee Pass Nordic Center and Cookhouse, and local contributors at three stops. They also ventured into the Matchless Mine where the National Mining Museum and Hall of fame sponsored refreshments and gave everyone a dose of history with the tale of rise and fall of the Tabors.
Impeccable grooming by Paul Rauschke and the Ski Area Operations program at Colorado Mountain College was the highlight of the day. “I had no idea the skiing was so great back here,” exclaimed Gene Dayton, owner of two Nordic centers and a thirty-year resident of Summit County.
High Country Conservation helped to sponsor the event and provided some educational signs about how users can reduce their impact on the environment. In addition, Rocky Mountain Nordic will pay for the carbon offset for the event, including the travel that participants did to get there, making it entirely carbon neutral.
“Everyone walked away with a smile,” noted Tour Director Karl Remsen. “We had 90% of participants come from out of county, and they were all impressed with the skiing here in Lake County. Everyone mentioned that they would be back, either for a weekend, for the Leadville Loppet, or for next year's tour.”
All of the money raised by the tour will support skiing and skiers in Lake County and maintaining the Mineral Belt Trail. If you are interested in future tours across the state, check out http://www.coloradocrosscountry.com or http://www.rmnordic.org .