Rolling all winter long
January 02, 2013
Keeping Teton Valley’s Nordic tracks in top shape
As the full time Nordic trail groomer for Teton Valley Trails and Pathways, Nick Beatty is a very important person for winter recreation in the valley. Originally from Colorado, Beatty moved to the valley after college to enjoy the Tetons for its skiing and other opportunities. As the graveyard shift groomer at Targhee during his first winter, he skied, groomed and slept.
“I wanted to be a ski bum, so I moved here,” he said. “I love the work, but I didn’t want to do it again.”
Beatty was called up by TVTAP to be the Nordic trail groomer and operator for the winter of 2006-07, and he’s been at it ever since, evolving into the Nordic program director for the organization. A ski tuner on the side, Beatty is fully aware of reconditioning and keeping equipment in top shape, not just with skis but especially with grooming machines.
“I’m busy,” said Beatty. “Every snow flake helps.”
Having five trail systems to keep in shape for Nordic classic and skate skiers is a big job, and the reason everything works is because of the volunteers who love to help. Since all the trails are free to the public, TVTAP has a network of people to help fulfill the mission of the trail system for the community to enjoy.
“It’s for the public to go out and have a place to exercise,” Beatty said. “I’m taking something that’s been abused and reconditioning it to a fully functioning trail, much like I do with skis when I tune.”
TVTAP provides groomed Nordic ski trails in Teton Canyon, Alta, Pioneer Park in Victor, Teton Springs Resort and the Driggs Nordic track located between the High School and Middle School.
“In Teton Canyon, we got a good jump on it early this year,” Beatty said. “We do the best we can while keeping it free. It’s a nonprofit and it’s donations and memberships that keep us going. Plus, it’s a good base of people. There’s talk about giving money and spending more time on the trails so elite Nordic skiers have a nice place to ski, and we would love to do that but we want to keep it free. We’re unique. There are very few places that do it the way we do.”
With over twenty volunteers helping out, as well as one contracted groomer, the trails in the valley are kept up well. Beatty said the volunteers help maintain the trails because they love it, perhaps even more than skiing them.
“You have to be a snow scientist out there every day,” Beatty said. “The conditions always change and you need to constantly figure out what to do. For the hard-core Nordos (Nordic skiers) they take it upon themselves to find the right wax and figure out the perfect combination. It’srewarding for them. Everyone else just wants to have fun.”
Having all the trails so close to where so many people live in the valley is a huge bonus for those who love to use them. Even though some days are better than others, TVTAP tries to give skiers an enjoyable experience. Working with the City of Driggs and Victor, there are features on those trails to keep skiers engaged as oppose to just circling around.
“It’s nice to have something to keep you on the edge of your seat a little bit,” Beatty said. “I encourage people to take the extra few minutes and go to a Nordic area they never go to. Teton Canyon is a multi-use area. Everyone knows Teton Canyon. Alta is on the way, and it’s great. The Driggs track people will go do a 4k lap on a lunch break. Pioneer Park in Victor is small area but has fun terrain. We put the bike cross course through this year, and we use some of those features. It’s fun and it’s close.”
Though Teton Springs does not allow dogs, which is a drawback for some, Beatty said it’s an adventure out there and worth the trip because it’s so nice. Since the trails have so many volunteers who enjoy grooming, almost every day has a trail that is freshly groomed, and many days multiple trails are being groomed—that’s a lot of volunteer hours.
Beatty fixes and maintains the grooming machines, trains the volunteers and has different implements for the trails for all types of conditions to give skiers the firm tracks they desire.
“I love working outside,” Beatty said. “Being out there grooming while people are skating by is a great feeling because they’re so happy to see you. Anytime you go by someone, they’re giving you a high five or saying thank you. It’s very rewarding. You feel like you are doing something that helps a lot of people have fun.”
For the most up to date Nordic grooming schedule, always visit tvtap.org.
Teton Ridge Classic
Also brought to you by TVTAP, the Teton Ridge Classic will take place on Saturday, Jan. 12, at 10 a.m. A premier classic style Nordic race in the Inner Mountain West, this race is held at the picturesque Teton Ridge Ranch and has been sited as one of the best classic tracks in the region. There are 28k, 14k, and 5k races. For details, call Dan Streubel at 208-354-1999, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.tetonridgeclassic.com.