Cross country ski and snowshoe tour aims to ‘Keep Winter White’ |

Cross country ski and snowshoe tour aims to ‘Keep Winter White’

LINDSEY KRUSENsummit daily newsSummit County CO Colorado

SUMMIT COUNTY – Bangladesh could lose 17.5 percent of its land area. Sub-Saharan African countries have a greater risk of famine. Some forests will disappear. And Nordic skiing in the Rocky Mountains may never be the same. The impacts of global warming have literally hit home – most snowpack levels have declined over the period of 1950 to 2000, according to The Rocky Mountain Climate Organization’s website. The folks behind the Rocky Mountain Nordic Tour series want their snow to stay, so they’re putting on a “Keep Winter White” tour with the High Country Conservation Center and local businesses to benefit the earth and the kids – two things that go hand in hand.Donations from the tour will go toward the High Country Conservation Center. Entry-fee proceeds will benefit the Rocky Mountain Nordic Juniors, a development program for young Nordic skiers.

Two hundred to 300 people are expected at the non-competitive cross country ski or snowshoe tour. Two courses are available: A 10K short course and a 25K long course. Both distances will start between 9 and 10 a.m. at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge and will finish at the Frisco Nordic Center. According to tour director Mark Flolid, all ages and ability levels are welcome. He wants the event to grow in the future, and said he hopes the non-competitive aspect of the tour will attract skiers and snowshoers that wouldn’t normally come out to races. Another unique aspect of Sunday’s tour is the combination of community, kids and awareness. Matt Dayton, head coach and operations manager at the Frisco and Breckenridge Nordic Centers, thinks the mix is just right.

“We live in a mountain community that’s directly affected by the global warming issue,” he said. “We have a sport that’s directly affected by it and we have youth.”The community is helping the cause with a big helping of local flavor. Five food stops will pepper the course, and a sled with a keg of Fat Tire beer will roam the trails. The High Country Conservation Center will set up information centers next to the food stations with facts about global warming. Flolid also said the towns of Breckenridge and Frisco, along with the county, helped to get the race going. The towns have helped make the tour a “zero-waste event,” meaning little or no trash from the event will end up at the landfill, and the county allowed the tour to run on the bike path and open space areas.

The High Country Conservation Center’s stations will stay with the local, everyday angle, according to Carly Wier, executive director of the High Country Conservation Center. “A lot of people think climate change is so big and huge that only the federal government should be dealing with it,” she said. “A lot of it is just about common sense.” At the end of the tour, participants can take an “I pledge” quiz which determines the amount of carbon dioxide saved if the quiz-taker sticks to his or her answers. Things like carpooling and not idling in the car are examples of simple actions that add up to big emissions savings in the long run. And in the end, small steps create the big picture of reversing climate change. In the case of the “Keep Winter White” tour, the little snowshoe steps and ski glides will bring Summit County that much closer.

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