Letter from the Director

Get the full-run down on what’s happening at CB Nordic right now in this letter from CB Nordic Executive Director, Christie Hicks.

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Dear CB Nordic Community,

I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe, healthy, and adapting as smoothly as possible to these difficult times. Needless to say, this is not the spring we all imagined! It’s been a whirlwind these last three weeks in our community (and nation-wide), so I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out and update you on what is happening, what isn’t happening, and what will be happening at Crested Butte Nordic.

First off, I want to reassure you that, thanks to the support of members like you, the foresight of our board of directors, and a dedicated team of staff, we are weathering this storm and continuing to serve our community. In some ways, we are fortunate: when the epidemic hit Gunnison County, we were just four weeks away from closing for the season. CB Nordic is accustomed to a six month “off season” and we have been building operating reserves for just such lean times.

This planning has allowed us to continue to focus on our mission: to provide you and your family safe, accessible, fun ways to get outside to recreate in winter. We continue to groom trails and rent equipment to help you with this. I know you are facing challenges unlike anything you could have imagined. I hope that by continuing to offer services and by making everything “pay what you can,” we are in some small way easing some of your burdens.

We have had to change how we do things, of course. In the last two weeks we have created an online reservation system, created a multi-day rental system, and made all of our rental equipment and trail passes by-donation. We have had to let seasonal staff go early, though we were able to provide a week’s pay to our Front Desk and Operations staff. We have gone down to just two groomers, who report to work alone, use the same cat or vehicle every time, and require no interaction with other staff members. We are doing our best to keep our staff and you, our patrons, safe while still serving the community.

In addition to these changes, early on we cancelled all programs and CB Nordic’s biggest fundraiser of the year, The Grand Traverse. We immediately refunded all lessons, tours, and yurt dinners, and for the GT, we offered racers the chance to roll their registration over to 2021, receive a 50% refund, or donate their entry fee. The impact of this cancellation won’t be fully realized until next year, but we are hopeful to be able to budget accordingly.

We are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from you during this time. Whether it’s a smile on the trail, a note of support on Facebook, or a donation, your positivity buoys our spirits and keeps us motivated. We are so pleased that we have been able to offer what we can to our community, and that it has been so well-received. (We’ve issued over 100 new season passes and 400 rentals in the past three weeks!)

All this said, I can’t sugar coat everything. CB Nordic will face budget shortfalls due to cancelled programming, the absence of spring break revenue, and the repercussions of cancelling the GT. We continue to groom and offer free rentals because we know it’s the right thing to do. Grooming our trail system costs over $3,000 a week, just in fuel and labor (not counting equipment, maintenance, or overhead), and these costs will have to be absorbed elsewhere in the future. If you have the ability to support us in this endeavor, please consider making an online donation. Otherwise, please make sure to purchase a pass next year, or even consider joining our K Club.

Looking ahead, we will continue to groom until our planned closure on April 12, as long as snow, safety, and finances allow. We will not be selling any equipment this spring, but look for it at next fall’s Snowsports Foundation Ski Swap. We are still planning to host the Summer Grand Traverse Mountain Run & Bike on Labor Day weekend (September 5 & 6), and we are hopeful that The Grin & Bear It can be run as planned on July 18. While our Volunteer Appreciation Party had to be postponed, we are hoping that we can still get together and celebrate with all of you after the dust settles.

In the meantime, please keep skiing! Please keep snowshoeing! Please keep enjoying the groomed trails (with the people you live with), and continue to follow the posted rules and regulations. The trail rules are all part of our land-use agreements with over 40 private landowners, so it is important that we adhere to these rules, regardless of our other rapidly changing circumstances, in order to keep having access to these trails.

CB Nordic was founded on the principle that cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are good for the health of our bodies, our minds, and our community. Never has this felt more true. While the COVID-19 pandemic rages around us and the snow continues to fall, it has become ever more clear to me that our mission is of vital importance for the health and wellbeing of our community.

Whether this spring or in the future, we are here to serve you, providing groomed trails, equipment, programs, and events to help you get more out of winter, and more out of life. 

Wishing you health, happiness, and hope.

Christie Hicks
Executive Director
Crested Butte Nordic