A Moonlight Party | News
The Valley Floor was perfectly moonlit on Sunday evening as people gathered for the Valley Floor Moonlight Progressive Ski. A cider, cookie and soup station has been set up along the trail offering hot refreshments and much-needed fuel. The event has been taking place for over a decade. Previously led by local Cindy Farny, the Sheep Mountain Alliance SMA took over the event in 2021.
“We were a big part of acquiring Valley Floor in the mid-2000s. For us to host an event that really celebrates this beautiful open space and brings people outside in the winter to enjoy Valley Floor is in line with the spirit we’re trying to embody,” said Sheep Mountain Alliance executive director Mason Osgood.
In 2021, the event was held on a much smaller scale due to the pandemic, but this year organizers were able to accommodate more attendees.
Established in 1988, The Sheep Mountain Alliance is a local non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the environment and the community. The alliance worked with organizations such as the Telluride Nordic Association and the Town of Telluride’s Open Space Commission to help fund and support the event.
“It’s really the only valley bottom celebration we do every year,” Osgood added.
Over 200 people attended the event, including Ann Kochara and her daughter, Sarah.
“It was our first time bringing my daughter, so it was exciting, and the full moon and skiing at Valley Floor is just fun,” Kochara said.
Nine-year-old Charlie Clark, part of the Nordic ski team, decided to come because “why not?”
Starting just behind the Shell gas station, the volunteers set up a table with hot cider. Another station was set up with cookies from Butcher and the Baker and soup from La Cocina De Luz on the south side of the valley.
Ahead of Sunday’s event, Sheep Mountain Alliance prioritized the local Latinx community. While “under the radar,” Osgood explained, the nonprofit worked in conjunction with the Tri-County Health Network, Collaborative Action for Immigrants (CAFI), and the Wilkinson Public Library. to help spread the word.
“We started planning the event in early December, especially the aspect with the Nordic Center rentals. It was a new initiative this year to make the event more inclusive for everyone. We had help incredible from Claudia Garcia at the library, Maria Albañil-Rangel and Valentina Estrella from the Tri-County Health Network, as well as CAFI, who helped us market the free rental opportunity to the Latinx community,” said Ruthie Boyd, coordinator of the alliance’s AmeriCorps VISTA Community Outreach.
About twenty families from the Latinx community were present. Claudia Garcia Curzio, Wilkinson Public Library Latinx Outreach Specialist, emphasized the importance of inclusion, especially in community sports.
“To be fair, you have to start with inclusion. And knowing that most of the sport here is run by white people, we as a community have to make room for anyone to join and be part of it. these sports,” she said.
Ten-year-old Victoria Gonzalez took a break from school to try cross-country skiing for the first time. By the end of the night, she was hovering over her mentor, Trang Pham.
“At first I fell, but the most fun was coming back and beating my mentor,” Victoria said.
Boyd and other volunteers helped fit and measure people for boots, poles and skis. The trails on the course helped stabilize those who had never done Nordic skiing before the event. Throughout the night, groups from all over Telluride chatted over hot soup and tried not to bump into each other on the course.
“The event exceeded our expectations,” Boyd said. “So many people came to ski in the moonlight. Everyone seemed thrilled to be there and grateful for the opportunity to eat, drink cider, ski and celebrate the valley floor as a community.”