Met Rec says get out and play
To most Gunnison Valley residents, winter outdoor recreation means one thing: skiing. But skiing itself takes as many different forms as there are individuals who engage in it. Making activities like skiing and other winter recreation easier to access is a key priority of the Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District, or Met Rec.
In 2019, Met Rec and its recreation partners convened to brainstorm how best to connect more residents to safe, outdoor winter recreation opportunities. Together, ideas for new and enhanced winter recreation programs were devised and soon put into action.
As a result, Met Rec helped Crested Butte Nordic invest in new rental gear and a trailer to support adult and senior Nordic ski lessons, making it easier for seniors to participate. It also helped increase staff capacity for the Gunnison Senior Center’s winter outings and provided the City of Gunnison with funds to hire additional coaches for youth Nordic programs. This year, Met Rec is funding the City of Gunnison’s acquisition of new gear that will be used in the new Littles Program for three- and four-year-olds.
With Met Rec support, the Crested Butte Avalanche Center has grown their community outreach program as well. Last year, the Center was able to host 10 Trailhead Days, which put more than 300 backcountry recreationists in touch with avalanche forecasters.
The Crested Butte Avalanche Center also hosted six Fireside Chats with snow safety professionals, which attracted over 70 participants. It held snow science courses for 60 Gunnison middle school students. What’s more, to benefit all residents and recreationists, the Crested Butte Avalanche Center installed avalanche hazard signage at the entrance to the Town of Crested Butte that is updated daily to provide skiers with the current avalanche danger rating.
This year, Met Rec will continue funding the Crested Butte Avalanche Center’s Trailhead Days, Fireside Chats, and outreach programs for both youth and adults to keep all recreationists safe in the backcountry. Met Rec will also help fund the maintenance of the free Nordic trails in Gunnison and Crested Butte.
The more support Met Rec can plow into winter recreation opportunities, the more residents of all ages and skill levels will be able to make the most of all the Valley’s snow days.