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Good snowpack opens up trails for cross-country skiing and fat biking

The Chicken Creek Nordic Area north of Mancos offers excellent cross-country and skate skiing. (Journal file)
Mancos Chicken Creek trails are groomed for skiers; Dolores Boggy Draw trails are groomed for fat biking

Good winter snowpack has created nice cross-country skiing and allows for groomed trails to take shape for cross-country skiing and fat biking.

At the Chicken Creek area north of Mancos, the skiing conditions “are fabulous,” said Peter Brind’Amour, a volunteer with the nonprofit Chicken Creek Nordic.

The trails were groomed previously, but so much snow has fallen they need another pass, he said.

Grooming will take place Saturday beginning about 3 p.m.

“We hope to get it in good shape for skate skiing and classic skiing by Sunday,” Brind’Amour said.

The Chicken Creek Nordic groomed trails are for skiers only. Biking or walking on the trails are not allowed because they create ruts and holes.

In Dolores, the Southwest Colorado Cycling Association grooms trails for fat biking in the Boggy Draw area.

Volunteer groomer Jimbo Farley said grooming will begin this weekend on the 4.7-mile Olympic Loop, with more trails to follow.

Grooming operations will begin this weekend for fat bike trails in the Boggy Draw area north of Dolores. (Journal file)

Users are asked to “respect the groom” by using it only after it has set up and is firm.

“If you are making a rut, post hole, or divot come back later when it is more firm,” Farley said.

Volunteers spend hours packing down and grooming the trails for fat biking. If used when too soft, the trail is damaged.

The Telluride Nordic Association has groomed cross-country ski trails at Lizard Head Pass, Priest Lake and Trout Lake for skate and classic skiing.

The Mesa Verde National Park trails are groomed for skate skiing, classic skiing and snowshoeing as snow and ranger schedules permit.

All trails in the Morefield area were roller-packed Dec. 29. The packed base is about 4 to 6 inches throughout the area with 15-inch unpacked snow in the surrounding area. Conditions should be good on all the trails.

Morefield trail users are encouraged to sign the trail register for each visit. These trailhead counts help the park to justify the staff time and costs associated with the program.

The Cliff Palace loop road is a construction zone at the moment and is not available this winter for ski or snowshoe access.