Nordic Slider at Snowmass not slick enough
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
SNOWMASS VILLAGE – This year’s experimental stab at providing a slick crossing across pavement for cross-country skiers using the Aspen-Snowmass nordic system has proven marginally successful.
A Nordic Slider, made in Germany, was installed last fall on Clubhouse Drive, the road that accesses the Snowmass Cross Country Center at the Snowmass Club golf course.
The Aspen Skiing Co. picked up the price tag, about $13,000, said city of Aspen trails coordinator Austin Weiss. It was hoped the device would prove a solution to road and driveway crossings that force cross-country skiers to stop and take off their skis whenever there isn’t enough snow to cross the pavement. There are numerous such crossings in the Aspen-Snowmass Nordic System, which boasts some 90 kilometers of trails.
“I wouldn’t call it an overwhelming success,” Weiss said. “It works some of the time.”
The Nordic Slider consists of two narrow grooves set into the pavement. In each groove are numerous sets of small rubber wheels allowing skis to roll across the span.
There are times when there isn’t enough snow on the road to allow skiers to cross on snow, but the tracks of the Slider are clogged, so the wheels don’t turn, Weiss said.
Use of the device remains an experiment in progress, but Weiss said he isn’t sure it has worked well enough so far to justify further installations.
The nordic trail system has roughly 20 at-grade crossings, not including the multitude of crossings on the Rio Grande Trail, he said.
While the Nordic Slider isn’t cheap, it’s a lot less expensive than installing a bridge or an underpass at crossings, Weiss noted.
The Nordic Council also works continuously with plow drivers, encouraging them to lift their plow blade and leave snow where the cross-country trail system intersects with roads and driveways, Weiss said.
The Nordic Slider is outfitted with a cover to protect it during the summer months, he said.
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A driver looking to squeeze one last four-wheel drive up Aspen Mountain discovered that it’s not the ascent but the decent that poses a challenge.