Celebrating the Snow
by Joel Condren, owner of 8200 Mountain Sports and Mountain Man Rafting

You have traveled all the way to South Fork, within minutes of a world class ski resort that receives the most snow in all of Colorado, but you don’t really downhill ski or snowboard. Are you ready to try something different?

The Upper Rio Grande area is the perfect base camp for you to come experience many of the other lesser-known snow sports. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, back country skiing, and ski touring just to name a few. The Rio Grande National Forest and the San Juan Mountains surround offer untold beauty and solitude for those who choose to explore them.

Lets face it, we all love summer in the Rockies. Quite simply it is perfect. For those of us that live here we must embrace our longest season; winter. Part of that is getting out and exploring the snow filled back country that we enjoy so much during the warmer months. The same trailheads and USFS roads act as a gateway to untold winter riches. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of miles of groomed trails around South Fork. The trail system is open for public use and is maintained all winter long by three very generous volunteer groups. Most of the trails operate under a “multiple user system.” That is, you may encounter x-country, snowshoe and snowmobiles all on one trail sharing space equally. The diversity of the trails allows all levels of experiences and challenges. You can go out for a very leisurely tour or, if you choose, the same trails will grant you passage to unlimited back country where few have traveled. There is nothing as beautiful as snow gently falling while you make your way across an open meadow. There are also dozens of trails that are not groomed, but still available for the outdoorsman or women who would like to get out and break their own path through the snow. The use of back country/snow touring equipment or snowshoes is required for off trail exploring. Load up your backpack with your map, water and some high-energy snacks and get out and enjoy your day trip!