The new offerings open this weekend, featuring three groomed skate and classic ski trails of varying length and difficulty, and seven miles of snowshoe trails on the Monument, Colo., property’s grounds and golf course. Club members can enjoy the trails for free, while visitors will pay $15 per day.
A new Nordic center will open Saturday, featuring more than six miles of groomed trails through the grounds and golf course at The Country Club at Woodmoor in Monument, Colo., the first destination of its kind in the southern Front Range, the Colorado Springs, Colo., Gazette reported.
“The enthusiasm for this is off the charts,” said Jim Smith, co-owner of Mountain Chalet in Colorado Springs. An introductory talk by Nordic center director Michael Brothers drew about two dozen people to the downtown outdoor equipment store Wednesday evening.
In addition to three groomed skate and classic ski trails of varying length and difficulty located mainly on the golf course, driving range and connecting club-owned land, the center will have about seven miles of snowshoe trails. Visitors aren’t required to join to access the space, use of which is free to members and otherwise $15 a day, said Brothers, a top-ranked Nordic skier who represented the U.S. Armed Forces at seven Military World Ski Championships and, as a biathlete, in the 2002 Winter Olympic trials, the Gazette reported.
Brothers started skiing the club’s backcountry about a decade ago and approached the then-owners early on about the possibility of grooming trails and hosting Nordic skiing. At the time, there was little interest, the Gazette reported.
“We’re always weather dependent being on the Front Range, but I’ve skied this golf course every winter I’ve lived here so I know there’s potentially three-to-four months of local skiing,” said Brothers, who is retired from the Air Force. “This golf course holds the snow very, very well.”
Last year, he again broached the idea of a cross-country center. The club had recently changed ownership and the timing was right. Brothers got the go-ahead and, last fall, started preparing his favorite routes for more traffic, grooming trails with a hand-built roller hitched to a snowmobile, the Gazette reported.
“Any skier that comes up here must realize that we don’t have the temperatures that Vail, Breckenridge, or any of the ski towns have,” he said. “Here, we go back and forth between good conditions and conditions that are a little thin, where you don’t want to be out on good gear.”
The challenge of creating snow trails that could endure through the mercurial Front Range winter called for creative thinking. Brothers tried to avoid sunny spots when mapping the trail systems, but where he couldn’t, strips of carpet were used as a base layer to encourage enduring winter conditions—or, at least, milder going for skiers and their equipment, the Gazette reported.
Most stretches of trail are “knee-to-waist deep in snow now, but a few sections connecting them through the woods or on a cart path or gravel road have lots of southern exposure,” said Brothers, who put down carpet remnants as an insulator and shoveled snow on top.
“On a good day, you won’t even know it,” he said Wednesday. “On a day like today, where it’s 50 degrees, you’ll have great skiing then get to one of these asphalt paths and you’ll see asphalt on the sides and carpet strips. Either way, it’s better to be going along that carpet than walking along rocky road or asphalt in skis.”
Brothers expects the center will open up a new world of options for area outdoor fans like himself, as well as those new to the sport, the Gazette reported.
“I think this is huge for dedicated skiers because it’s the only real venue we have in the Front Range. You’ll be able to ski before work, after work or during the lunch hour,” said Brothers. “It’s not as good as what you’d find up in the mountains, but it’s local. You don’t have to deal with two hours driving on I-70 to get there.”