Dozens of truckloads of snow and snowmaking weren’t enough to overcome Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation. Organizers of “Skijoring the Big Rock,” slated for Feb. 29 and March 1 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, called off the event Feb. 25.
“Had we been able to make a pile of snow we would have been able to pull the race off,” Melissa Sue Ostrander, president of the Boulder Valley Skijoring Association, said by email. “But we were struggling with temperatures for snow making and then looking at the rest of the week with temperatures in the 50s there was no way to put on a race to our full potential. [And] with freezing temps at night and melting during the day, we would be working with an ice/slush track.”
The nonprofit had high hopes for bringing to Boulder the racing sport that mixes horsemanship with skiing. Ostrander previously told The Monitor the goals were to bring tourists to the area during a slow time of year and raise money for local schools and for breast cancer awareness. The event created a lot of enthusiasm, with a New Year’s Day fundraiser alone collecting $8,000 in donations and sponsorships.
In the days leading up to the decision to cancel, Ostrander said 50 to 60 trailer loads of snow were hauled to the track site from local corrals and a radon mine. The county trucked in an additional 16 loads of snow, and a snowmaking machine from Discovery Ski Area was hooked up to a Bull Mountain Volunteer Fire Department water tender to make snow.
Despite the all-donation, all-volunteer effort — Ostrander wrote that she was “blown away by the support and effort everyone put in to try and get ‘er done!” — it wasn’t enough.
“Opposed to fighting against the grain we chose to cancel and reschedule for next year,” Ostander wrote. “We are looking at the same weekend for 2021.”
So far sponsors have told the nonprofit to apply their donations to next year’s event, Ostrander said.
“Essentially most funds will roll till next year, minus the non-refundable fairground rental fee,” she wrote.
Registration would have occured Feb. 28, three days after the event cancellation, so Ostrander couldn’t estimate participation.
“I just know I reached out to a lot of people personally who had contacted [us] to let them know it was a no-go,” she wrote. “I would bet there would have been at least 100 teams.”