Skiathon fundraiser for Spring Gulch Nordic trail system evolves into 9-day challenge
What: Ski for Sisu cross country skiathon fundraiser
Who: Mt. Sopris Nordic Council
When: Feb. 6-14
Where: Spring Gulch trail system, seven miles west of Carbondale on Thompson Creek Road (County Road 108)
A Super Bowl Sunday tradition for the better part of the last three decades has been the Mt. Sopris Nordic Council’s Ski for Sisu skiathon fundraiser.
However, due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, the popular event to help support the Spring Gulch trail system near Carbondale will be a solo affair this year, with skiers participating over multiple days starting Saturday.
The 29th annual Ski for Sisu — sisu being Finnish for demonstrating extraordinary determination and grit in the face of adversity — runs from this Saturday, Feb. 6 through Valentine’s Day, Sunday, Feb. 14.
Cross country skiers who sign up and, if they choose, collect sponsorship pledges, will be challenged to ski as many kilometers as they can over those nine days.
Participants can enter for a $20 minimum fee at springgulch.org, or gather sponsorship pledges on a per-kilometer basis, or a flat sponsorship if they choose.
Participants can then ski as much as they can anytime of day at the Spring Gulch trail system, located seven miles west of Carbondale on Thompson Creek Road, starting Saturday for the nine-day stretch.
There will be marked 3.5-kilometer, 10K and 12.5K loops to make it easy to keep track of the distance skied.
It’s an honor system, but participants will then report their daily distance, also at springgulch.org.
“We’ll tally up the KM’s and cheer you on (from a distance) throughout the week,” organizers said in a press release.
There’s also a prize drawing for participants.
Spring Gulch Trail is a network of more than 21 kilometers of professionally groomed cross-country ski trails that are available for free to use (no dogs, snowshoes or hiking without skis).
The trail system is operated by the member-based Mount Sopris Nordic Council in partnership with the private landowners who graze cattle there in the summer.
“Trails are groomed nightly for an exceptional ski experience where it’s not unusual to encounter grade schoolers on skinny skis for the first time, old school wool-clad Nordic diehards, or locally raised U.S. Ski Team members training for their next competition,” according to the release.
The Ski for Sisu skiathon is the only fundraising event held by the Nordic Council each year and has historically been held on a single day, which in recent years has been Super Bowl Sunday.
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