Larry and I (Stella) are skiing at different Nordic centers throughout Colorado this winter season. On Sunday, January 26, 2020, we skied at the Gold Run Nordic Center in the Town of Breckenridge for the very first time. And I can honestly say that it was the most enjoyable cross-country skiing experience that I have ever had, for a few reasons. Not only was the weather warm and sunny, but the trails also were impeccably groomed. The staff are very friendly, there is a beautiful lounging area with a massive fireplace and the retail center is adequately stocked with ski necessities.
The Gold Run Nordic Center spans the golf course, and then crosses over into multi-use trail areas where skiers can venture onto trails that lead into the mountains. The homes around the golf course are awe-inspiring, and the homeowners have the luxury of being able to jump onto the trails right out their door. What a blessing that would be!
The Gold Run Nordic Center, however, is a unique Nordic skiing experience because it possesses many miles of fairly level, flat trails, which allows skiers to enjoy miles of striding and gliding, which I particularly love! And that is one of the reasons why I enjoyed skiing there so much. But, watch out for moose at the Gold Run Nordic Center!
When we purchased our ski passes, the staff had warned us that there are many moose in the area, which we are accustomed to seeing in Grand Lake. However, once we had started skiing, I was having so much fun that my guard was down. Suddenly, Larry (who was behind me) said, “Stella, stop. Look right.” I completely froze, and the air escaped from my lungs as I felt my heart shiver within my ribcage.
Directly to my right, a massive bull moose had lopped up over the snowdrift and was standing about one hundred feet away from me. I hadn’t seen it because I do not have peripheral vision in my right eye. Moose may look gentle and docile, but they’re not! In my novel, 18th Winter, there is a chapter where Collette, the main character, has a moose encounter – do not attempt to touch the moose like she did.
I had willed my numb legs to slowly slide my skis backward in the tracks, while keeping my eyes fixed on the moose. And then, it stopped and looked right at me, directly meeting my eyes. I was completely panic-stricken. I turned around and slowly starting skiing back the opposite direction, as I knew Larry was still watching the moose; normally you do not want to turn your back on a moose. A moose encounter can be even more dangerous than that of bear, and their longs legs can run VERY FAST! They are massive, fearless creatures.
After a few seconds, the moose had resumed walking along the trail, and had moved to an area of willows far enough away so that we could safely get past it. However, it had taken me a while to recoup from that situation, and I was very guarded and vigilant for the rest of the day. Naturally, Larry scared me about a black wolf in the trees next to me a short while later, which was really just a beautiful dog.
After we had completed the majority of the flat, level trails at the Nordic center, we decided to ski on the shared-use trails, and ski up to the top of Jumbo Lookout where the views encompass the Tenmile Range and beyond. We had gained six hundred seventy seven feet in elevation skiing to the top of the Jumbo Lookout. And all the work that it had taken to get up there had been worth it for the smooth ride that we had back down to the lodge!
The other reason why this was the most enjoyable cross-country skiing experience that I’ve ever had is because of my amazing new skis, the Fischer Spider 62 Crown IFP. And since we had enjoyed the Gold Run Nordic Center so much, we have decided to ski there several more times yet this season. We skied a little over ten miles, and it was the greatest ten miles – ever!