Waiting for a winter wonderland

Snowmobilers praying for more snow to open all trails

With several events on the way and some trails still closed, Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club members are ready to do a snow dance.

"I think we need the snow gods to hit us hard," member Rod Lighthizer said.

Organization president Dave Watson said he was jealous of the Front Range's recent blizzard.

"I wished we'd gotten that storm over here," Watson said. But, "there's nothing you can do about it, just pray for more snow."

And with the club's annual poker run at the Freeman Reservoir trail coming soon, that's exactly what they're doing.

The 30-mile poker run is set for a 10 a.m. start Jan. 20 at the reservoir trailhead north of Craig.

The cost is $10 a hand with one chance to better the person's hand with an extra card for $5. Dinner and awards follow at the Veterans of Foreign Wars restaurant, 419 E. Victory Way.

Half the money from the event goes back to prizes for the top three places. The other half is used for high school scholarships. Last year, the event included 140 riders and raised $1,300 for scholarships.

"The thing seems to get bigger and bigger every year," Lighthizer said.

Even without more snow, Watson said the event will take place.

"If we can keep what snow we've got, we'll be OK," he said.

Lighthizer did not seem worried either.

"Let's go have fun with it," he said. "Let's go make some money for scholarships."

The closed trails do not affect the poker run, Watson said. Currently, all but two stretches of the club's 107 miles of groomed trails are open at Freeman Reservoir and Black Mountain.

One mile at the end of the B3 trail, near Falls and Little Bear creeks is closed, as is a two-mile stretch at the end of Circle Creek Road to California Park.

Watson said the trails have about a foot and a half of snow now, and that they need at least two feet of snow to break a trail.

The club also organizes several club rides throughout the season, and some day and overnight trips to other Western Slope destinations.

On Jan. 27, the club hosts an avalanche safety workshop, which is free and open to the public. The day starts at 9:30 a.m. at the Freeman trailhead. Organizers ask participants to bring a snowmobile, shovel and avalanche beacon and probe, if they have them.

Watson said the "sugary" snow the trails have now are conducive to avalanches, and hopes for more powder.

At this time of the year, there's typically a lot more snow, Watson said. He's hoping for more because low snow pack can mean trouble for farmers in need of irrigation this summer. It also means less fun for snowmobilers who love the thrill of the ride.

So, let the snow dancing begin.

For more information on the club or trails, call Dave Watson at 824-7343.

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