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Under New Management √ √ √ √
Just as children’s personalities echo their parents’, cross-countryski areas reflect the character of their operators. These days, Frisco Nordic Center (FNC) feels really dynamic.
FNC is a moderate-sized Colorado day area (handsome log base lodge, 27 kilometres of cross-country trails, 20 kilometres of snowshoeing) located just off Interstate 70, approximately 75 miles west of downtown Denver. And it’s all in a splendid setting, between Lake Dillon and the Tenmile Range, reaching to more than 14,000 feet.
Gene and Therese Dayton of nearby Breckenridge Nordic Center ran FNC from the late 1980s until the Town of Frisco (elevation 9,075 feet, population approximately 2,700) took it over a couple of years ago. It’s been modestly popular, drawing locals, a smattering of alpine crossover skiers and visitors from Colorado’s Front Range.
FNC is a friendly place – beginners, women and families love it because there are easy ski and snowshoe trails that start right outside the Center doors. With four metres of snow annually, skiing is pretty reliable for its late-november opening, partly because, unlike almost all areas in the West, there’s snowmaking.
Enter Jim Galanes, director at FNC for the past two years. In his early sixties, he’s a fit six-foot Vermonter with a long, angular face, full head of white hair, deliberate speech and good sense of humour.
Galanes has taken on many roles, many of them astoundingly successful. He’s one of the most accomplished skiers the U.S. has ever produced. Starting in Nordic-combined, he won two World Cups. Turning then to cross-country, he was a U.S. Ski Team contemporary of Bill Koch, Audun Endestad, Dan Simoneau and Tim Caldwell – in what’s been called the Golden Age of U.S. men’s cross-country racing.
A three-time Olympian and women’s-team Olympic coach, Galanes is a 10-time National champion as well. He also coached at Vermont’s Stratton Mountain School and founded the Alaska Pacific University (APU) club program in Anchorage, which has produced Olympians