Town to Town Tour hinges on snow |

Town to Town Tour hinges on snow

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart The Aspen Times

BASALT – The eagerly awaited return of the Town to Town Tour could fall victim to a lack of town-to-town snow, though the route received a few inches of snow in the midvalley on Sunday.

The Jan. 22 event, hosted by Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, is to bring together participants who nordic ski or snowshoe from Aspen to Basalt on the Rio Grande Trail. A lack of snow at lower elevations combined with December rain, however, had left the trail devoid of snow or nearly so for much of the route. Sunday’s snow blanketed what had been dry pavement.

On Friday, the Rio Grande was only groomed for skiing from Aspen to Stein Park, and opportunities for cross-country skiing on the trail in the Basalt area have been infrequent this winter.

The Rio Grande hasn’t been groomed for skiing below Woody Creek yet this season, according to Austin Weiss, Aspen trails coordinator.

“It’s going to take a significant snowfall to get us in business below Woody Creek as there are very large sections of trail that are totally bare right now,” he said Friday.

“We knew there’d be a year like this – that there wouldn’t be enough snow. Now, it’s staring us in the face,” said David Hamilton, executive director of RFOV.

Organizers met Thursday evening to discuss their options. Postponing the tour into February was considered, but no decision will be made until Tuesday, Hamilton said.

No significant snowfall is in the National Weather Service forecast for the coming week.

This month was to feature the third running of the tour, after organizers skipped the event in 2009, citing the fundraising challenges posed by the recession.

The tour proved popular during its first two years. The goal was to make it a fundraiser for RFOV, a nonprofit that organizes trail projects and conservation work on the valley’s public lands throughout the spring, summer and fall.

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