Frisco Nordic Center closes early
FRISCO – Eight days of 50-degree temperatures forced the Frisco Nordic Center to close Saturday, ending skinny skiing at the Peninsula Recreation Area for the season.
The closing was the earliest ever at the center by 10 days, center manager Rob Weeks said.
“It got so warm last week that the ground heated up and we couldn’t hold snow on the trails any longer,” Weeks said. “All the snow in the world wouldn’t help us at this point.”
Weeks added that scant snow throughout the season created a thin base to begin with. Under sunny skies, the base melted fast.
Frisco season pass holders can use their passes at the Breckenridge Nordic Center through the end of the season.
Operators in Breckenridge are struggling with conditions there, but Weeks said the hope is to keep trails open for two more weeks at the center on Ski Hill Road.
Gene Dayton, concessionaire of the Frisco and two Breckenridge centers, is pushing snow from the woods and along trail edges onto trails with a snowcat to maintain conditions in Breckenridge. The machine can move 16-foot swaths of snow in one sweep.
“Gene used the same technique here in Frisco last weekend so we could hold the Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer event on Saturday,” Weeks said.
Dayton was up at 3 a.m. Saturday morning in Frisco preparing trails for the event, which brought some 1,000 people to the center and raised $30,000.
Weeks is crossing his fingers that the Breckebeiner – a 60K annual fundraising event for the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center – will still happen March 28.
“It’s 10 days away,” Weeks said Thursday, “so we’re really hoping we can get some help from Mother Nature so that event can go off.”
The Frisco Nordic Center had an average start this season with a Dec. 22 opening. New snowmaking equipment helped the opening, but the center is looking to gain approval for additional snowmaking to extend operations, Weeks said.
“We only blew one to two acres around the lodge this year. We’d like to expand that to at least a three-kilometer loop,” Weeks said.
The center would need to gain approval from the U.S. Forest Service and the town of Frisco before going forward with additional snowmaking.
Despite its early closing, the center’s skier numbers were up this season by about 15 percent in both January and February. Weeks attributed increased business to less-than-stellar conditions at the county’s four downhill resorts.
“The Nordic centers are an alternative when the scene is not so good at the alpine areas,” he said.
Gold Run Nordic Center located at the Breckenridge Golf Course is still open. Snow blowers are being used to move snow from the greens onto the Nordic trails.
Weeks said it has been “smooth sailing” this winter with the new Gold Run center open for its first full season.
“Now we have the added benefit of marketing Gold Run as well as our other two areas,” he said. “We’ve found the community can definitely sustain three Nordic centers without diluting our business too much.”
Gold Run is expected to stay open one more week.
Kim Marquis can be reached at (970) 668-3998 or email@example.com.
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