The 2009 Winter Trails event leads children and adults on a path to snowshoeing and/or cross country skiing free at more than 100 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Now, 14 years strong, entire families or groups of friends, regardless of age, can get outside in the winter and enjoy a day on snow. That day this year is January 10, with one event scheduled in Estes Park, Colorado February 14, 2009.
The size and scope of Winter Trails events vary from location to location but they all provide the necessary equipment and assistance to get you started snowshoeing or cross country skiing. And many places include short nature hikes and other activities. Although 80 Nordic centers, alpine resorts with Nordic trails, U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service lands will host admission, equipment and basic instruction the day is run by a local organization or business. Listed below are the Winter Trails events for Colorado:
Bear Creek Nature Center: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 245 Bear Creek Road, Colorado Springs - Learn about snowshoeing and cross-country skiing equipment, exercise benefits, Colorado's winter trails, and how to get started in these cool winter sports. (719) 520-6388.
Echo Lake: 10 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Winter Trails Day is a free snowshoe festival sponsored by REI with hundreds of demo snowshoes for adults and children; guided hikes; snow activities; outdoor gear displays and free giveaways. Bring food and water. For tips on what to wear or bring, ask an expert staff member. 303.756.3100. Directions: From Interstate 70, take the Evergreen Parkway exit to Highway 103 or take the Mt. Evans exit at Idaho Springs, for Route 103 and continue on for 14 miles.
Estes Park: Feb. 14, 2009, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Join rangers for guided snowshoe hikes, winter safety presentations, and expert advice on fitting and selection of snowshoes. Ongoing demonstrations and free use of snowshoes. You can also learn how to build an igloo earn a special Certificate of Participation from The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports by participating in learning stations at this venue. Estes Park is a great place to try snowshoeing during Winter Trails 2009 but since it resides in the Rocky Mountain National Park, an entrance pass will be required. The fee for the pass is $20/car and can be purchased at the park's entrance gate. Call 970- 586-4431 for more information.
High Trail Sports: 8 a.m.-7 p.m., 1121 Dillon Dam Road, Frisco- Free Redfeather snowshoe rentals with poles will be available to those who would like to snowshoe Jan.10, 2009. Reservations are required due to the limited number of shoes. Free coffee will also be available when you come to pick-up your shoes on the 10th. They will also be offering 10 percent off ski, snowboard and shoe rentals for the entire month of January 2009 for renters who bring in their Winter Trails registration form. Call 970- 668-3748.
Keystone Resort Nordic Center: 1-4 p.m., Elk Run Street. Keystone Nordic is offering a free afternoon snowshoe Eco Tour starting 1 p.m. The day includes shoes but you need to sign up ahead of time because there's limited seating on bus. Call 970-496- 4275.