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Snow improves skiing and snowbiking trails

Snow biking trails are groomed in the Boggy Draw area. (Courtesy Southwest Colorado Cycling Association)
San Juan Mountain snowpack goes above average

Recent snowstorms have opened up winter sport opportunities in the area and put snow totals above average.

Groomed fat biking trails are open in Dolores, and groomed ski trails are open in Mancos, Mesa Verde and on Lizard Head Pass.

Six miles of fat biking trails are groomed at Boggy Draw, including Speedy’s Loop and Grayson’s Loop, said Jimbo Fairley, a volunteer groomer with the Southwest Colorado Cycling Association.

“There’s quite a bit of snow, and is seems to be packing in fairly well,” he said.

The Boggy Draw parking lot and trailhead at the end of County Road W have been busy. To access the loops, ride up the main groomed road for 1.6 miles to Speedy’s and 2.6 miles to the Grayson Loop turnoff. Check out the map at swcocycling.

A crew of three volunteer groomers maintain the fat bike trails when conditions warrant.

Fairley said the higher temperatures and rain in Dolores hampered efforts, but the consistent snowfall has improved conditions. More grooming is expected in the coming days to freshen up the trail, and add some miles if possible.

A free presentation on snow biking and trail etiquette will be held at the Dolores Public Library on Jan. 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Scott Darling, of Kokopelli Bike and Board, will provide information on the sport, equipment and proper use of trails.

At the Chicken Creek Nordic Trails north of Mancos, both Bauer Loops have been groomed, and more grooming is ongoing. Classic ski tracks are also in place.

Fat biking is not allowed at the Chicken Creek Nordic Trails.

Mesa Verde National Park

Mesa Verde National Park is primed for nice cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in designated areas.

The Morefield Campground road, loops, and amphitheater parking lot were roller-packed on Friday, averaging 5 inches of packed snow.

Several inches of heavy, wet snow have since fallen at Morefield. The Meadow Bliss Trail and the group camping loop are not groomed. The park allows skis and snowshoes only on groomed trails – no boots.

If the Mesa Top Loop Road pullouts are clear, visitors are welcome to park at those pullouts and cross-country ski or snowshoe the Cliff Palace Loop Road.

The Wetherill Mesa Road up to mile 6, and the Park Point Road are also open for snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

No dogs are allowed in these areas.

Lizard Head Pass

Skate skiing trails have been groomed on top of Lizard Head Pass by the Telluride Nordic Association.

TNA maintains and grooms trails at Priest Lake, Trout Lake and the River Trail between Silver Pick Road and Deep Creek. Skiers with dogs are encouraged to use Trout Lake.

Fat bikes should not be used on trails at Priest or Trout Lake.

The Trout Lake Railroad Grade is distinguished by consistently receiving significantly more snow than any other Nordic trail in the region. It is always the first and last trail skiable for the season.

Snow totals above average

Snow totals for the San Juan Mountains are above average thanks to recent storms. As of Jan. 3 the Dolores and San Miguel Basins were at 130% of average for snow water equivalent. The Animals Basin is at 115% of average. The Colorado River Basin above Lake Powell is at 140% of average for snow-water equivalent.