Miles of Trails Await Cross Country Skiers at Chicken Creek

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It’s well off the beaten track,

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but once you get to the

Chicken Creek Nordic ski area,

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you’ll be glad you made the trek.

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You’re watching the Local News Network

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brought to you by The

Overlook at Edgemont Highlands

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and Serious Texas Bar-B-Q.

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I’m Wendy Graham Settle.

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The Chicken Creek Nordic ski area

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is a short five and a half

mile drive North of Mancos.

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But it’s worlds away from

the hustle and bustle

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of daily life.

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It’s 14 miles of trails,

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wind through the pristine forest

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of Ponderosa Pine and Scrub Oak.

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And the farther you ski,

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the more solitude you can experience.

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The solitude and the beauty

of being in the trees

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Just being able to quietly

move through the forest

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in that, in that beautiful

winter environment,

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you know, breathing hard and sweating

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and just you know gliding

through the woods.

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It’s pretty unique kind of thing.

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Long time Southwest Colorado ski pioneer

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and former Olympic Nordic

ski coach, Dolph Kuss,

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worked with the San Juan National Forest

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and a team of Mancos area volunteers

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to establish the first trails in 1984.

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They really wanted, when

they started this ski area,

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they wanted a non-motorized section

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that they could completely

not have snowmobiles

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come up behind them or tear up the track.

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Today an all volunteer group called

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Friends of Chicken Creek

maintains the ski area,

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grooming trails for both skate skiing

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and traditional cross-country.

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It operates as a nonprofit

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under the umbrella of

Mancos Valley Resources,

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and it raises funds to pay

for grooming equipment,

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gas and other trail maintenance costs

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through donations at the

Trailhead, memberships,

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commercial sponsorships from

local businesses and grants.

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Several years ago, the

group opened the two loops

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closest to the Trailhead to dogs.

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Although pet owners are expected

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to be considerate of others

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and haul out the gifts

their pets leave behind.

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We want the lower two loops

to be as family-friendly

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and accessible to everybody as possible.

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So we try to strike a balance that way.

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On a good snow year, the ski area

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will see more than 6,000 skiers.

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But it rarely if ever

can be called crowded,

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even on days when cars spill

over from the parking lot

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onto Montezuma County Road 40.2.

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Volunteers post ski conditions

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and grooming schedules on the ski areas

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Facebook page Chicken Creek Nordic.

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For directions, use the Google maps app

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and search for Chicken Creek XC.

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Thanks for watching this edition

of the Local News Network.

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Find us on Twitter and Instagram

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and get the latest news updates.

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I’m Wendy Graham Settle.

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