WOODMOOR • As snow starts to inch its way into the winter season, Woodmoor Nordic eagerly awaits a decent snowfall to reopen trails under its new nonprofit status.
Woodmoor Nordic creates and maintains five cross-country classic and skate skiing trails and eight kilometers of snowshoe trails for a variety of ages and experience levels on 12 kilometers at the Country Club at Woodmoor during the winter months. It also provides adult and youth lessons and has equipment rentals available at its shop.
The company’s first season operating was the 2015-2016 season, which chairman and founder Michael Brothers said remains the best year of snowfall for the center. However, given the fickle nature of the Front Range’s winter weather, Woodmoor Nordic one year could be open and grooming ski trails for several months, while another year might only be able provide on-snow opportunities for a matter of weeks.
Brothers said it takes a lot of work to prepare and groom the trails, and because of this he collected a group of Nordic enthusiasts who agreed to volunteer to serve on the Woodmoor Nordic Board of Directors. Woodmoor Nordic recently changed its status from for-profit to nonprofit organization, so that anyone who purchases a season ski pass, now referred to as a Woodmoor Nordic Membership, has the ability to write off the expense in the event the winter snowfall is lacking one year and the ski season is shorter than expected.
In addition, the nonprofit status enables the organization to apply for grants for funding new grooming equipment, additional rental gear and cover operating costs, as well as provide more opportunities for the community to try the sport, Brothers said.
Brothers initially started Woodmoor Nordic as a Limited Liability Company, but learned that running a Nordic ski center for profit in the Front Range was difficult, he said. The company either broke even or lost money. For the winters which proved profitable, all profits went toward purchasing new equipment and funding gasoline costs.
“Had I not been a retired military member and a ski fanatic, I wouldn’t have attempted it,” Brothers said. “Given the volunteer aspect of the business, it made more sense to become a nonprofit.”
Woodmoor Nordic is and has been a volunteer run organization. It’s board completed and submitted its nonprofit organization paperwork to the IRS, which was approved in August.
If you’re interested in becoming involved, the organization is always looking for additional help, Brothers said — especially someone or someones who could assist with advertising, marketing and grant writing.
The organization also has a group of volunteers who pitch in to help with shoveling snow thinly covered areas to keep trails in the best possible shape. In return, volunteer hours to Woodmoor Nordic are compensated with a reduction in the price of the next season’s Woodmoor Nordic Membership.
Brothers was a competitive Nordic skier and biathlete who raced in high school and college, where he won Collegiate Nationals, and later represented the U.S. at seven military World Ski Championships, U.S. Nationals and the World Master’s. In addition, he endeavored to make the 2002 U.S. Olympic Team, and narrowly missed. Before retiring from military service, Brothers coached the U.S. Air Force Academy Nordic Ski Team.
“Cross-country skiing is a phenomenal aerobic workout and a sport that one can continue to do even as they get older,” Brother said.
He said traveling to and from the mountains to ski at bigger Nordic resorts might afford enthusiasts longer skie trails and more consistent snow, but comes with additional expense of time and money. When the Woodmoor Nordic has the snow it needs with a decent winter, its trails can be just as good and the cost is far less than mountain resorts.
To get updates on Woodmoor Nordic and to learn if and when trails are open, grooming status and snow conditions, information is available from the Woodmoor Nordic public group on Facebook. The page also gives details about ski and snowshoe rental reservations, lessons and trail maps.
Brothers said when the company’s Facebook page first started, it had a few dozen members who found it by word of mouth. Presently, it has 1,100-plus members, most of whom are experienced cross-country skiers who have grown tired of the travel and traffic involved in Nordic skiing in the mountains, he said.
“We have hundreds of skiers who choose to ski locally when conditions allow us to groom the ski trails,” Brothers said.
The organization’s website is in the works. When completed can be found at www.WoodmoorNordic.org.