Not enough snow for Town to Town Tour
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
ASPEN – The Town to Town Tour, a cross-country ski tour from Aspen to Basalt, has been canceled for the second time in two years because of lack of snow, leaving the future of the event in doubt.
This year’s tour was scheduled for Saturday. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, host of the event, announced Wednesday that it won’t happen. Monday’s storm left sufficient snow on the Rio Grande Trail in the Aspen area but only 1 to 3 inches between Woody Creek and Basalt and at least 6 inches is necessary to groom the trail for the tour, organizers said.
Snow is in the forecast this weekend at higher elevations, but higher temperatures and the possibility of rain in the midvalley left little chance for a skiable trail for the entire route, organizers and the head of the grooming crew agreed.
“Certainly, having this happen two years in a row is not fun,” said David Hamilton, executive director of Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers. Last winter, lack of snow forced organizers to call off the January event; it was rescheduled in February, when just enough snow materialized to let it happen.
This year, organizers decided from the start that if a cancellation was necessary, they wouldn’t try to reschedule the tour, Hamilton said.
“To put it off another month and have the roller-coaster ride … we decided early on we couldn’t go through that again,” he said.
What happens next for the tour hasn’t been determined, but giving up on the event altogether has been discussed, Hamilton said.
“Getting burned two years in a row by lack of snow in the midvalley … it’s not viable in its current form,” he said.
The tour, a 19-mile ski or snowshoe from Aspen to Basalt followed by a party, debuted in 2008 and took place again in 2009, but organizers skipped the event in 2010, citing the recession. In 2011, lack of snow forced the postponement.
In its first two years, the tour drew 315 to 325 participants each winter, but registrations slipped by about a third last year, given the uncertainty about snow conditions.
Sign-ups were down this year, as well, Hamilton said. In addition, it’s difficult to line up volunteers for event that may or may not take place.
The fundraiser was organized to showcase RFOV and the Rio Grande Trail as a winter recreational amenity. RFOV organizes volunteer trail projects and other outdoor efforts during the summer and fall, throughout the greater Roaring Fork Valley.
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