ASPEN - A week ago, there was no cross-country skiing in the Roaring Fork Valley. This week, the Aspen Golf Club course sparkles with fresh snow, and nordic enthusiasts are gliding into their winter regimen with relish.
Weekend snow allowed groomers to pack and roll the golf-course loops. By Tuesday, classic track had been set on about 75 percent of the terrain, along with corduroy for skate skiing on about 90 percent of the golf-course system. In addition, the Marolt loop had been packed, and the connection was in place to move between the golf course and about six kilometers of trail behind the Aspen schools complex.
"It's better than I thought it would be," said Michaela Craig, of Carbondale, who was skiing the golf course Tuesday.
"The only reason we could get a track set at the golf course is the finely manicured grass," said Austin Weiss, city trails coordinator. "We can do a lot with a little."
The Aspen nordic hot line (970-429-2039) was suggesting rock skis for the school trails, though, given the still-thin snow conditions. The loops there are groomed for skate skiing only.
Work is under way to pack the snow on the Owl Creek Trail, Weiss added. With about 4 more inches of snow, crews could get trails groomed at the Maroon Creek Club and start packing North Star, he said.
The Aspen Cross-Country Center is open for business seven days a week, and the Snowmass Cross Country Center is scheduled to open Saturday. The Snowmass Club golf course, however, awaits more snow for grooming.
At Ashcroft Ski Touring, a private operation in the Castle Creek Valley south of Aspen, groomers are rolling the trails this week with the expectation that some terrain will be open for skiing Saturday.
The trails also are being rolled at Spring Gulch outside Carbondale, though its website - www.springgulch.org - on Tuesday indicated that the area remains closed.