Grooming Topics from The BNC’s Recent Survey

The BNC’s recent survey resulted in multiple questions or comments about the BNC’s grooming operations. Below is a response.

North Boulder Park is a good thing. Thanks to the City and the Department of Parks and Recreation, grooming at North Boulder Park is expected to continue as usual. Here’s a point of emphasis, this partnership has existed for decades and it does so on good terms. Thank you to the City and Parks and Rec.

CU South gets lots of comments about multiple user groups deteriorating the snow surface, poor substrata (soils), the lack of ski-able days, and other fair criticisms. Conversely the BNC has a good relationship with the land manager at CU South via the CU Nordic Ski Team and its helpful coaching staff. It’s an imperfect situation but the board of the BNC does its best to manage it as best as possible. Available real estate for skiing in Boulder is not easy to find. makes skiing at CU South possible through a special in-kind grant. Thank you to the Wilderness Exchange.

Membership pays for grooming, thank you. For instance, when the virus pandemic allows, the BNC will service both of its machines at the dealer, have a welding repair done on one of its groomers, and review routine maintenance on its trailer. That alone accounts for close to $2000.

The BNC thanks Don Werner and for supporting our snow machines. We don’t see him much but whenever we do, Don makes life easier for volunteer groomers who, in turn, do the grooming.

North Boulder Park could use one or two new volunteer groomers. If you like outdoor physical work in full conditions and can lift heavy objects, this is a job for you. Contact

Suggestions from the survey for other grooming sites included the following.

  • Harlow Platts. The City and the BNC looked at this years ago and determined that there are too many competing uses there for grooming to work well.
  • West Mag(nolia). This was a saga. Grooming was in the forest plan, out of the plan, and back in the plan over a period of years. NATO wanted to give grooming a try for the locals and the BNC agreed. Then a couple years of permitting work took place including one rotten winter. Then, thanks to lots of partners like the USFS and others, the BNC gave it a try on two marginal snow events during the 2018-2019 winter. On a third, good snow event that winter, the BNC’s groomer was not available. Last the BNC heard, NATO was trying to take over the permit but they did not have any grooming equipment. The whole project is a demonstration of the limitations of volunteer grooming operations.
  • Foothills Park. This may actually be permitted in the BNC’s existing agreement with the City. The problem is that moving gear there for a yield of a single kilometer is prohibitively difficult.
  • A South Boulder location other than CU South. The BNC is open to suggestions.
  • The LoBo Trail. This is a categorical nonstarter.

The BNC is in casual talks with a land manager for a site that would potentially be very good. There are obstacles to grooming this site but both parties are open minded and proceeding on helpful terms with no firm expectations. These are good conversations and the kind of talks that the BNC prefers. The BNC’s policy is to keep these negotiations private until both parties agree to publicize them. Maybe in the fall there will be an update…or not. Either way, the BNC is pleased to explore possibilities with others.

Subjectively, the BNC’s de-facto chief groomer sees two threats to in-town grooming. One, the changing climate that results in fewer ski-able days. Two, the changing demographics in Boulder that result in a subtle weakening in the nordic ski community. Frowny face.

Have a great summer and good health.

Matt Muir, BNC