Thursday, June 4, 2020

Crested Butte Nordic rolling out the white carpet for camp

Recent snows saves campers from Mousehufs and Spenst bounding

by Than Acuff

In its 15-year history, the Crested Butte Nordic Thanksgiving Camp has always had snow. This year, thanks to a recent spate of storms, the streak remains alive.

During the better years the camp was run out of the Nordic Center right in town, with trails radiating out from the central location. Other years, when snow was limited in town, Crested Butte Nordic provided on-snow clinics in the Lily Lake area up Kebler Pass, an area famed for copious snowfall.

This year things were looking bleak for the upcoming Crested Butte Nordic Thanksgiving Camp. Temperatures were in the 50s during the day and there wasn’t a flake of snow sitting on the ground in town and just a smattering of snow in the shade up Kebler Pass.

It was getting desperate—so desperate that the camp issued its contingency plans online offering participants the option to pull out entirely with a full refund.

Plan A: It dumps! Ski the in-town Nordic network as presently scheduled.

Plan B: It snows. But not enough to provide in-town skiing. We may, however, be able to move clinics up to our higher elevation, groomed venue at Lily Lake, a beautiful location a few miles north of town. Refunds will be issued to any registrant who is not happy with this alternative ski option.

Plan C: No Snow Accumulation. We will adjust to a dry-land training camp, offering both traditional and creative ski-specific activities to enhance your ski fitness. Dry-land training is an integral part of every ski racer’s fall training and you will enjoy our coaches’ imaginative and fun activities, including: ski walking, Mousehufs, Spenst bounding, ski core, balance and agility and roller skiing. We will help each camper develop a fall/winter training plan—including video analysis, double pole fitness testing on Ski Erg machine, and fast wax education. A full refund will be issued to those not wishing to participate in a dry land camp.

According to Crested Butte Nordic events director, Andrew Arell, despite the dry start, participation is looking good for the camp this year.

“A couple of people dropped out but we’ve got a strong contingent of New Mexicans coming again and I think we’re going to be on par with where we were last year,” says Arell.

As of Tuesday, it looks like Plan B is in effect, with amendments, as recent snow provided Crested Butte Nordic the ability to set track up on the bench. Furthermore, reports of 14 inches of snow up Kebler Pass has the Nordic Center firing up the cat to head west and start setting track by Lily Lake.

“That area will be more for the advanced skiers,” says Arell. “We’ll still do beginners down here. Lily’s not that conducive to beginners.”

Most important, with snow on the ground now, no one will have to engage in Mousehufs or Spenst bounding, whatever that is.

“It doesn’t look like we’ll have to do much of the dry land training stuff, barring a stretch of warm weather,” says Arell. “We won’t be doing much Mousehuffing.”

As for the Lily Lake area, per the agreement with the Forest Service, there needs to be at least a foot of snow on the ground up there before the Nordic Center can start grooming.

“I think the venue will be contained here on the bench,” says Arell. “The snow will stay up there. The early-afternoon shadows preserve that snow nicely.”

The Nordic season officially opened Wednesday, November 23 with a free ski day. The Thanksgiving Camp will then kick off Thursday morning and continue through the week finishing with the Winter Kickoff Celebration at the recently refurbished Depot on Saturday, November 26 at 6 p.m.

“There will be recitations of epic Nordic poems, food, a really nice ambiance and we’ll stoke the Nordic spirit for the upcoming season,” says Arell.

Following the feed and celebration, Nordic skiers are then encouraged to switch gears, literally, and line up Sunday morning for the first race of the Alley Loop race Series at 10 a.m., location to be announced.

“We’re hopeful we’ll be able to pull off that first race,” says Arell.

Information and registration for the camp activities can all be found at

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