Guest blogger, Sarin from the Rocky Mountain Nature Association shares the great adventures that await in Rocky Mountain National Park on cross country skis. Beginners not be afraid; she shares how you can start this winter sport with instructor guidance and slow, low-grade slopes:
Just because Trail Ridge Road is closed to cars in the winter, doesn't mean you can't explore its wintertime splendor. The road and the sub-alpine forest it cuts through are there all year-round as habitat for beautiful birds, the illusive snowshoe hare, and many other animals. While up above 10,000 feet, don't forget to stop and enjoy the amazing views down into Horseshoe Park and Hidden Valley while gasping at the adventurous lines carved by back country skiers.
During the winter season there is no traffic on Trail Ridge Road, which crests at 12,183 feet, just you and your skis in Rocky Mountain National Park. When I ski up Trail Ridge Road in the winter, I think back to what it must have been like when the road was first built in 1931 and how awestruck everyone was with this highway to the sky. Skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park puts me in touch with the natural world, as I glide on top of the snow, look out over the mountains, and feel a smile come over my sun and wind-burned face. There is no other place I would rather be in the winter than skiing in the Park, whether it is cross-country or back-country, it doesn't matter to me as long as I am there in that moment.
If you haven't skied before; want to learn more about winter sub-alpine ecology; or are looking to enjoy the outdoors with some new friends, then you should check out the Winter Sub-Alpine Ecology & Cross-Country Ski Adventure on February 22nd or March 15th with Kaiyote Snow through the Rocky Mountain Nature Association.
Worried about it being your first time? No problem! You don't have to have any prior skiing experience to participate. Trail Ridge Road has a very moderate grade, making it easy to ski up and fun to ski down. Plus, Kaiyote will be there to give ski instruction. All you have to do is kick and glide, or shuffle and use your poles for balance. All ages and levels of experience are welcome.
Don't forget to bring or rent your own equipment, bring snacks, lunch, water, warm clothes, and bring some family or friends, or even both. If you are interested please call Rocky Mountain Nature Association at 970-586-3262 to register or check out our website at www.rmna.org and click on the seminars tab.