Nordic Town to Town Tour on thin ice
July 27, 2009
ASPEN – A nordic tour that enticed more than 300 cross-country skiers to kick and glide their way from Aspen to Basalt last January may be put on ice this winter.
The Town to Town Tour debuted in 2008 and returned for a second, well-received run last winter, but the event ran in the red, forcing the group behind it – Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers – to subsidize it to the tune of about $10,000.
The group is seeking sponsors in the hope of raising enough money to put on a third iteration of the tour in January, but executive director David Hamilton said last week he’s not optimistic, given the current economic climate.
“We need to know by September if we’ve got enough money to do this thing,” he said. “I’m not actually sure this thing is going to happen in 2010.”
RFOV, a nonprofit organization that harnesses volunteers for work on trails and other outdoor projects during the summer months, came up with the ski event to showcase the Rio Grande Trail as a winter amenity as well as to raise awareness of RFOV and raise funds for its mission.
The inaugural event was a good start toward those goals, Hamilton said. The second annual event, held in late January, attracted 320 paid participants but failed to break even.
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The budget for the event is about $30,000; in addition, about $15,000 in in-kind contributions help make the tour happen, Hamilton said.
“We’re a small organization. We can’t really afford to spend $10,000 every year,” he said. “If we can’t at least break even, we’re going to take a year off.”
Pitkin County contributed $500 to the event in each of its first two years. Last week, Hamilton approached the county’s Open Space and Trails Board with a $3,000 request.
That board, he said, offered a $2,500 matching grant if RFOV can garner support from other entities, including the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Eagle County and the Midvalley Trails Committee. In addition, the group has had discussions with the town of Basalt, Hamilton said.
If enough money cannot be raised, Hamilton said the event would be suspended this winter, with the hope of bringing it back in subsequent years.