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Chicken Creek Nordic ski area to start grooming operations

A cross-country skier during an outing on the Chicken Creek Nordic ski area.

The Dolores Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest has announced that the Chicken Creek Nordic ski area will begin grooming operations as snow conditions allow.

Weather trends indicate that skiing and snowshoeing might be available by Christmas, public affairs specialist Lorena Williams said in a news release.

Skiing and snowshoeing are allowed on groomed trails only, she said, and dogs are allowed on the lower loops of the winter trails.

A U.S. Forest Service order prohibits snow bikers and hikers from using the groomed ski area. Bikers and hikers damage the groomed snow surface, making it unsafe for skiers and snowshoers, while increasing the cost of grooming.

“Hiking on the groomed ski surface creates boot-sized holes that can be a danger to skiers and snowshoers who may catch a ski or snowshoe tip in a hole, resulting in a falling injury,” Williams said, The freeze/thaw cycle at the ski area’s low elevation exacerbates the problem, she said.

The Chicken Creek Nordic ski area is operated by a group of volunteers under an agreement with the San Juan National Forest.

Information on conditions can be found at the Chicken Creek Nordic Facebook page.

For information, call the Dolores Ranger District at (970) 882-7296. Forest Service offices are providing virtual services because of the pandemic. To learn more about the San Juan National Forest, call (970) 247-4874, visit the forest website, or follow on Twitter and Facebook.