In an era of slick and commercial citizen’s sports races, Frisco’s Gold Rush is a stand-out. This collection of family-friendly and competitive Nordic ski races, the longest running in Colorado, has been a core community event near the shores of sparkling Lake Dillon for close to half a century. And the swag for displaying your athletic prowess at this down-home event is way cooler than a water bottle and a t-shirt: participants receive a unique pair of commemorative Frisco Gold Rush socks, a steaming and savory bowl of homemade chili chock-full of fresh veggies at the finish, plus the chance to compete for prizes designed by local artist, Sheila Trowbridge.
This year, Therese Dalton and her husband, Gene, are celebrating 25 years of owning and operating Frisco Nordic Center, the hub of the event. “Gene skied the very first Gold Rush, and many more after that with our kids,” says Dalton. “This event means a lot to our community; it’s a tradition.” Gene Dayton’s vision led him to build the first groomed Nordic trails in Summit County and Therese Dayton’s program directing (and chili cooking) expertise has set the stage for Frisco Nordic Center’s positive community impact. Proceeds from Frisco Gold Rush benefit the Summit Nordic Ski Club and members’ costs to reach the junior nationals.
Frisco Gold Rush brings in as many as 350 racers each year, and this year they’re excited to expand by welcoming the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) and its 200-300 middle and high school student racers to compete and qualify for the state meet.
Dalton says they create the race courses with various abilities in mind: “from flat, easy hills and baseball type fields; to the Frisco Bay Trail, a great rolling trail with kettle moraine topography; to the groomed forest service campground roads; to our famous, double-black diamond Buzz Saw trail, opening this week.” The races range from a fun 5K ski course, “where people pull their kids in sleds,” to a challenging 30K trek, says Dalton. “Whether you come out to watch, ring a bell and volunteer, snowshoe or ski, and listen to music, there’s something here for everyone - we always put on a festive atmosphere here at Gold Rush.”
Sponsors Swix and Bee Nut Free will be on hand to wax racer’s skis and give away non-allergenic snacks for the trek. There’s even a 1K treasure hunt for the little tykes who want to snowshoe, ski, or even ride by sled to retrieve their goodie bags.
Apres race there’s another special treat: the Spontaneous Combustion Bonfire (set ablaze with left-over community Christmas trees used as kindling) and “the most amazing fireworks, over Lake Dillon,” says Dalton.
To register visit www.friscogoldrush.com. Pre-registration is open until 12 p.m. (noon) on Friday, January 10, 2014 and entry fees vary from $20-$35 per race. Day-of registration fees will increase by $5 per race. For further information, please contact Linsey Kach at LinseyK@townoffrisco.com or 970-668-9133.
The complete list of the Gold Rush events
Friday, January 10, 2014
4:00 p.m. – Free Frisco Historic Park Movie Night at the Log Chapel in the Frisco Historic Park - a screening of the original 1925 classic Charlie Chaplin movie, The Gold Rush. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. with seating available on a first come, first seated basis. Hot cider and popcorn will be served.
Saturday, January 11, 2014