ASPEN - This winter's Town to Town Tour, a cross-country ski tour from Aspen to Basalt, is scheduled Jan. 21. Hopefully, the snow, and the date, will stick.
Last winter's tour was postponed until February, when there was finally enough snow - barely - to pull off the tour in the midvalley.
This time, the non-competitive event, a benefit for Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, will offer a family-friendly start, as well as the usual Aspen start and an alternate start in Woody Creek.
For those who cross-country ski or snowshoe the entire 19-mile route, the tour begins at Galena Plaza behind the Pitkin County Library at 10 a.m. At the finish, in downtown Basalt, participants are invited to a post-tour party hosted by RFOV and local restaurants.
There's also an alternate start in Woody Creek, which cuts the length of the tour to 11.5 miles, and the new family-friendly start at Old Snowmass, which offers a 3.5-mile tour to Basalt.
Organizers provide refreshments along the way, free shuttles to help move participants to their starting point and crossing guards to assist skiers and snowshoers on the trail.
RFOV will launch a Young Stewards Initiative in 2012, so getting youngsters out on the course for the 3.5-mile ski or snowshoe only makes sense, noted David Hamilton, the organization's executive director.
The initiative aims to involve youths in RFOV's projects and promote lifelong stewardship of public lands. The organization organizes volunteer trail projects and open space work days throughout the greater Roaring Fork Valley during the summer months.
The Town to Town Tour, showcasing the Rio Grande Trail, has attracted more than 350 participants in years past, proving popular with families enjoying a day of skiing together and athletes who appreciate the length of the tour, according to Hamilton.
Early registration fees for the tour are $30 for individuals and $50 for families/partners. On the day of the tour, it's $40 for individuals and $65 for families/partners, or $20 to attend just the post-tour party.
RFOV is also seeking volunteers for the event. To register or volunteer, go to www.rfov.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 927-8241.