Golf course makes way for skiers

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Each winter, a small group of Moffat County residents take advantage of cross-country skiing at the Yampa Valley Golf Course.

This year, the golf course offers an extra amenity.

"With the Tin Cup Grill open all winter, skiers can stop in for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat," YVGC Professional Chuck Cobb said. "The entrance to the course will be plowed all the way to the clubhouse."

The course was closed for golf in mid-November, which made the 2005 season one of the longest in Cobb's tenure.

"We were open from mid-March until last Friday," he said. "It's a day-to-day thing, and we decided that it was time to close."

Cobb said he almost always sees ski tracks on the course after the first snow. He has no problem with skiers on the course as long as they take precautions.

"Damage can be done to the greens if you ski on them," he said. "The weight of the skis pack the snow down and cause an ice layer. That ice layer can damage or kill the grass in the spring."

For those not familiar with the course, it's easy to determine where the greens are located.

"Almost anywhere it is elevated there is a green," he said.

Cobb said that an ideal level of snow for the course would be four to six inches more than what was on it Tuesday.

The golf pro spends some time out on the course skiing.

"It's an easy place to learn because it's all flat," he said. "I enjoy my time out there."

Another area of caution is the ponds and the Yampa River.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, ice needs to be at least three inches thick for a single person to walk on and four inches for a group in single file. It also warns that slushy ice is half as strong as solid blue ice. River ice is also about a third as strong as pond ice.

"The ponds look frozen before they are completely safe," Cobb said.

Moffat County Parks and Recreation grooms trails out at the course periodically but the top priority for that department is the Loudy-Simpson ice arena and the ski trails at the park.

"A lot of times, the first one out there skiing is the groomer," Cobb said.

The course is expected to open for golf near the beginning or middle of April this year. For information about the opening, call 824-3673.

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