Aspen’s Nordic trail system will be groomed ‘as long as it is practical’ into spring
Alpine skiers aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits of great snow this month. The vaunted Aspen-Snowmass Nordic trail system will be able to stay open well into spring, officials said Wednesday.
Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Director Gary Tennenbaum said the department has fielded a lot of inquiries about plans for grooming since the cross-country centers are scheduled to close soon. The Snowmass Cross Country Center will close March 24. The Aspen Cross Country Center will remain open through Saturday, March 30. The trails will remain open even longer.
“We will continue to groom the trails as long as it is practical,” said Chris Petersen, the Aspen-Snowmass Nordic Trail System coordinator.
As an example of how good conditions are, the Rio Grande Trail was groomed from Aspen to Basalt High School on Wednesday, one of the latest grooms ever for the route.
“That just doesn’t happen,” Petersen said.
Nearly all of the 90 kilometers of trails remain open and will experience ongoing grooming. The groomed trails include the golf course networks in Aspen and Snowmass Village, the Moore, Marolt and Northstar open space properties, Owl Creek Trail and the Aspen High School network.
The high school network is typically the last to remain open. Last year it closed March 25, when conditions were much drier than this winter and warm temperatures dominated the month.
“We were milking it for all it was worth,” Petersen said.
This year, May 1 might be realistic, he said.
More snow is in the forecast for the upper Roaring Fork Valley in coming days, so that could freshen up the network.
“Even without, it’s amazing conditions right now,” Petersen said.
For updates on grooming, go to http://www.aspennordic.com or call the grooming hotline at 970-429-2039.
Alpine skiers also will benefit from an extended season. Aspen Skiing Co. announced last week that Aspen Highlands will open April 19 to 21 and April 26 to 28. The other ski areas will close as scheduled — Buttermilk on April 7, Aspen Mountain and Snowmass on April 21.
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