Avalanche training, poker run revving up for Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club
Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club hopes to emphasize both safety and entertainment for winter riders this month.
The group will host avalanche safety training Saturday, Jan. 11 at the Freeman Reservoir Trailhead parking lot, about 10.5 miles north of Craig on Colorado Highway 13.
The training begins at 9:30 a.m., and a snow machine is required to go up on the hill.
Ralph Stewart, club treasurer, said members of area Search & Rescue will be attending the seminar, with instruction from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“We’ll do some practice with beacons and shovels and probes, and then we’ll probably go over some snow pits and looking at the different things that the snow does as it settles and cools and warms,” he said.
Stewart said the training will last several hours, as long as people are in attendance.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Colorado Avalanche Information Center listed most areas of the state as being under moderate risk, including the Steamboat Springs and the Flat Tops region.
“In this particular area, we don’t have a lot of problems with avalanches, but we could,” Stewart said. “Anybody that’s going to ride a lot probably won’t ride in just this area.”
He added that cross country skiers and snowshoers should be aware of avalanche safety just as much as snowmobilers.
Stewart noted the difficulty of wintertime for outdoor recreation enthusiasts is that terrain and snow conditions always change from year to year.
“It’s just hard to guess from one year to the next to know what it’s gonna be like,” Stewart said.
Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club members have been out and about on the Freeman trails grooming for its biggest event later this month.
The annual Poker Run fundraiser Saturday, Jan. 25, with registration beginning at 9:30 a.m. starting at the Freeman parking lot.
Snowmobilers head along the path to several stations — open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — and pick up a playing card to form a poker hand. Those with the best results win 25 percent of the total collected with 15 percent for second place and 10 percent for third.
Hands are $10 apiece or $25 for three.
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at 6 p.m. at Vallarta’s, 2705 W. Victory Way, with additional door prizes donated by local businesses also up for grabs.
All ages are welcome to join, and Stewart said he personally knows a 91-year-old who plans to ride in the event.
“We encourage families to come out for the day,” Stewart said.
Money raised during the Poker Run goes to the group’s scholarship efforts, for local students.
For more information on Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club and its activities, visit northwestcoloradosnowmobileclub.org.
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For nearly 40 years, Jonathan Herring has pursued his passion of education as a teacher, administrator, and principal in bigger cities such as Kansas City and Las Vegas.