Eagle Ranch offers Nordic playground | VailDaily.com

Eagle Ranch offers Nordic playground

Nordic skers enjoy a midday ski around the Eagle Ranch Golf Course track.
Daily file photo |

EAGLE — The slopes of Vail and Beaver Creek aren’t the only places where some epic skiing is happening this season.

For those who engage in skiing of the Nordic variety, the Eagle Ranch Golf Course is again a hot spot for winter recreation.

“It’s a great amenity to have here in Eagle,” said Jeff Boyer, Eagle Ranch Golf Course general manager. “The golf course is such a great place to go out for a walk or to go skiing. We like to do this as another way for people to enjoy the course when we are closed for play.”

“The track is open to the public and some of the high school teams use it to practice after school,” said Erin Vega of the Eagle Ranch Homeowners Association. “It really does get a lot of use. I see the fat tire bikers in the evening, riding with their head lamps on.”

Nordic skiers, snowshoe’ers, hikers and fat tire mountain riders all share the track space. The tracks are set by members of the golf course crew, who have specialized equipment for the job.

The trails can be accessed in several locations around the Eagle Ranch community, but recreationalists can also start from the golf course clubhouse where parking is provided. The trails are open to the public and there are no trail fees. Rental equipment is not available in Eagle.

“Approximately six miles of trails are maintained nearly every day through the end of February, as long as snow conditions allow,” said Boyer. “It is really nice to have this out people’s backyard to enjoy.”

Share the space

The rules for the shared, free amenity are simple and can be summed up under the theme of “be considerate.”

Users who are walking, snowshoeing and riding fat tire mountain bikes are asked to preserve the trails on course holes 11-16 for skiers and use other parts of the course. Additionally, these users are asked to stay to the side of the trail, which is opposite of the classical ski track, and avoid walking on the classical ski track.

For everyone, the track rules are:

Dogs must be on a leash.

Pick up after dogs.

Stay at least 200 yards from any elk.

Respect homeowner property.

Stay on established trails.

“If you use the trails while it is dark and you are using a head lamps, please be careful that your light doesn’t shine into people’s homes and be extra aware of elk as this is when they are most likely to be on the course,” said Boyer.

Furry Friends

There is a large herd of elk that spends part of the winter on and around the golf course property.

“The elk are down right now so we want to give them a little room,” said Vega.

The animals are now in winter survival mode so it is important not to needlessly stress them. Vega said it is particularly important to keep dogs from chasing wildlife.

“People are pretty protective of the elk, which is great. We want to promote that,”said Boyer.

“In addition to the use of the trails, many people use the golf course for other activities in the winter, such as sledding,” Boyer said. “If you or your kids are on parts of the golf course other than the trails, please stay off of any roped off areas, which are there to protect the golf course greens and tees.”

“Stay off of the lakes on the golf course, which may have dangerously thin ice,” Boyer said.

He advised that parents should always supervise their children during such activities and be careful of potential hazards.

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