Q & A with Hedda Peterson

Nordic Knowledge

By  Katherine Nettles

The Crested Butte Nordic Center got the season off to a great start this year, with early season snow bringing access to groomed trails starting in mid November. One of CB’s most loved nonprofits, CB Nordic has some big plans this year with construction finishing up on its new Outpost addition to the existing Cat Barn on site. This will nearly double their square footage, with a new CB Nordic Team room, meeting space for programs and events, and a second story dedicated to administration.

Executive director Hedda Peterson talked with us about her new role with the Nordic Center, the Outpost project and some new policies to encourage skiers and dogs to share the trail…with moose.


Q: Tell us a little about yourself. 

I moved to the Gunnison Valley in 2011, from the great little state of Vermont. I had a typical first winter in CB, working at multiple restaurants, Donitas and Izzy’s being the most memorable. One winter here had me looking for more permanent work, which led me to the Crested Butte Land Trust. I was hired as stewardship assistant and was tasked with monitoring conserved land. 

After six years at the Land Trust, I transitioned to Met Rec (Gunnison County Metropolitan Recreation District) where I worked as the district manager for three years prior to making the move to CB Nordic as director last summer. The new role, and a two-year-old, makes for a very full life at the moment. The good kind of full. 


Q: How is it going as the new ED of CB Nordic? Do you feel at home in this role? 

I started at CB Nordic last July and I’m happy to share that I love it. I love coming to work with motivated and kind colleagues each day. I feel energized after connecting with partners and supporters. But mostly, I am inspired by how CB Nordic helps create the spaces, through trails, programs, and events, for others to be invigorated, too. 


Q: How are the expansion plans going? 

 Currently, the Outpost construction makes for an exciting scene at the Nordic Center. We’re eager to transition into the new space in early January. The Outpost will be a highly accessible and functional space, while allowing the Nordic Center to fulfill its designed purpose as a warm, welcoming gathering place to serve and support our vibrant programs and community. 


Q: Any other changes this season?

 New this year, we’re working with the Land Trust and Colorado Parks and Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on a pilot Mike’s Mile Moose Program. With Colorado’s growing moose population, we expect to see more moose in the Slate River Valley and Mike’s Mile trail corridor. When moose are present in the area, we will implement a no dogs policy to lessen disturbance to wildlife. We will share the information, and protocol, daily via our online Trail Report and with on-trail signage.

Our furry friends will still be allowed on the trail when moose are not present. The Mike’s Mile Trail is arguably one of the most scenic Nordic ski corridors in the country. Thankfully, it’s also conserved, which means we must balance outdoor recreation needs with conservation values such as wildlife protection.


Q: When is your favorite time to Nordic Ski? 

And your favorite part of the season? 

My favorite time of day to Nordic ski is in the afternoon, around sunset. It helps me decompress and I love to observe the amount of ski tracks on the trail after the day ends. The alpenglow adds to the beauty, too.

My favorite part of the season is probably December. The Nordic ski community reconvenes, and spirits are high. There is also a fresh sense of comradery as friends and acquaintances set their Nordic season goals; be it committing and training for the Alley Loop or Grand Traverse.


Q: Favorite Trail?

 It’s hard to pick one. Last season the Bench and Red Lady Loops were my go-to. Their accessibility from Town and elevation gain made for the perfect end-of-day exercise outlet. I’m looking forward to spending more time on the east side this season.