Miles of Trails Await Cross Country Skiers at Chicken Creek

2/10/2021

The Chicken Creek Nordic Ski Area north of Mancos offers 14 miles of groomed trails through ponderosa pines and scrub oak on the San Juan National Forest. Find out who takes care of the area.

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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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