Lights and guns – the new Nordic experience
FRISCO – With a little help from Mother Nature, the Frisco Nordic Center hopes to open peninsula trails at night this weekend.
The Frisco Nordic Center is the only cross country ski area in the West with both snowmaking and night skiing, according to program director Therese Dayton.
“We wanted to be able to guarantee that whether you’re a local or Front Range visitor, you can drop by any evening, jump on the tracks, have fun and get a great workout,” Dayton said.
Nordic center manager Rob Weeks said a little more snow is needed to cover some spots on Crown Point Road.
The road, which provides access to Forest Service campgrounds in the summer, offers flatter terrain and a wide swath for beginners. About four kilometers of trail will be lit at night.
The night skiing program hinged on recent approval from the Forest Service. A portion of the Nordic trails lies on town-owned Peninsula Recreation Area land and another portion is on Forest Service-managed land.
“I think being able to offer this at night is really going to raise interest in the sport,” Weeks said.
Regular visitors to the Frisco center agreed.
Eric Staub, a retired teacher in Greeley, owns a condominium in Silverthorne with his wife. The couple finds it convenient to just “jump on the trails” at the peninsula.
“I think it’s a really cool idea for the night skiing for people that are working or for families,” Staub said. “They can just run out there and get a couple hours of exercise.”
Peggy Kappy, a teacher from Denver, has visited the Frisco Nordic Center for 16 years. Kappy noted the wisdom of using solar cells to power the trail light system.
Snowmaking covers about two kilometers of trails at the Nordic center. Weeks said the snowmaking, which required Forest Service approval, has focused on the area around the lodge and teaching grounds, as well as the Frisco Bay trail. Snowmaking also covers the new town sledding hill near the lodge.
Weeks said more snowmaking might be in store, pending approvals, eventually covering a 3-kilometer loop.
Snowmaking would stave off the uncertainties in Summit County weather, Weeks said. The Frisco Nordic Center had to delay its opening this season due to lower-than-expected snowfall.
“Snowmaking really did a lot to get us looking good,” Weeks said. “More of it would mean we wouldn’t have to play the guessing game.”
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