The Mancos Brewing Co., 484 E. Frontage Road, is hosting an all-ages fundraiser for the Chicken Creek Nordic Ski Area on Oct. 21 starting at 4 p.m.
“Dance to the Snow Gods” will feature live music by the Afrobeatniks and Diabolical Sound Platoon. Admittance is a $5 donation at the door. There will also be a silent auction, door prizes and food.
The benefit is for Friends of Chicken Creek, which is raising money for a new grooming machine in order to improve the safety and efficiency of volunteers, said organizer Peter Brind’Amour.
The Chicken Creek Nordic ski area near Mancos offers 17 miles of rolling groomed trails wind through ponderosa pine forests, and includes challenging climbs with views of the La Plata Mountains.
The popular ski area depends on volunteer labor to keep the trails groomed.
Last winter, the ski area saw 3,200 skier visits. But the friends group struggles with keeping snowmobiles operating to pull the grooming equipment.
Maintenance costs regularly outstrip the annual budget of $3,000 to $4,000, so the group is looking to purchase a modern groomer machine with a cab that costs approximately $22,000.
“It will be more reliable and allows us to groom at night, which is more ideal for setting up good track in certain snow and weather conditions,” Brind’Amour said.
Volunteers spend hundreds of hours every season keeping the trails groomed and running the nonprofit and “no one gets paid a dime.”
All donations go toward purchasing, fueling and maintaining grooming equipment, signage and office supplies.
Over the years, new loops and trails have been added, including one named Dolph Kuss, the founder of the Chicken Creek ski area.
The famous Fort Lewis College ski coach led team skiers to NCAA Division I championships in the 1960s and ’70s. He carved out the first 10 miles trails of ski trails in the late 1980s using a 1963 Tucker snowcat donated from the Durango Parks and Recreation Department.