Flying magazine for pilots flying airplanes and helicopters in the Southwest
SW Aviator Magazine Aviation Magazine - Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah
General aviation flight magazine
current past airport classified events links contact
SW Aviator Feb/Mar 2001
SW Aviator Magazine is available in print free at FBOs and aviation-related businesses throughout the Southwest or by subscription.
- - - - - -
Airshows, Fly-ins, Seminars
2001 Aviation Events Calendar
The web's most comprehensive database of Southwest area aviation events.
- - - - - -
Site of the Minute
Featured Site:
A continuosly changing collection of links to our favorite aviation related web sites.
- - - - - -
Used Aircraft For Sale
- - - - - -

Majestic Scenery and Great Golf
2001 Aviation Events Calendar
Beckoning Pilots to Beautiful Grand County, Colorado

Story and photos by Penny Hamilton

In 1935, the late, great Professor Robert Black described Grand County, Colorado as an “Island in the Rockies.” He gave it that name because for so many years this Switzerland-like region was relatively inaccessible. But now, with the development of the Granby/Grand County Airport into one of Colorado’s premier general aviation airports, a more apt appellation might be: “An island no more.”

Now -you can easily fly into one of the most beautiful valleys in the Rocky Mountains where you will find — in addition to beautiful scenery and plentiful winter sports — four (count ’em) four gorgeous public-use golf courses within 25 minutes of the Granby/Grand County Airport (GNB). Even better, two of those golf courses are within view of the airport and only a five-minute drive away.

Moreover, a fifth public-use golf course plus a private golf course are on the drawing boards. Again, all within minutes of GNB. Currently, 81 holes are in play, already making eastern Grand County one of the golfing centers of the Rocky Mountains.

2001 Aviation Events CalendarLooking to add some extra length to your drives off the tee? Watch what happens when you smack the ball at Grand Elk’s 7,935-foot elevation. You will get a 9.28 percent distance increase.

Want to play a different course every day for four days? Scope out the Grand Links deal that offers a package price for playing Grand Elk, Sol Vista, Grand Lake, and Pole Creek. Call 800-511-7780 or check the web pages at

Realizing that the AWOS-I at GNB needs an upgrade to AWOS-III capability, the Grand Elk Ranch and Club is hosting a gala Aviation Day at the Grand Elk Golf Course on August 21st. Proceeds from the fund-raiser golf tournament will be donated to the Friends of the Granby Airport, Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that has already pledged $5,000 of its funds toward the upgrade of the AWOS.

One of the driving forces behind the Grand Elk Ranch and Club is long-time pilot, Jerry Jones. But Jones is not alone in being supportive of GNB. Marise Cipriani, the driving force behind the Sol Vista Golf Club, the Sol Vista Basin Ski Area, the Granby Ranch and the Sol Vista Marina on Grand Lake, is an aircraft owner and pilot as well. Both Jerry Jones and Marise Cipriani fly in and out of GNB as they oversee their diverse, but complementary, activities. Moreover, Houston-based, Steve Ley, the owner of the Fairways at Pole Creek development that wraps around the award-winning Pole Creek Golf Course, is a major contributor to the Friends of the Granby Airport, Inc. and an enthusiastic airport supporter.
On the Grand Elk-sponsored Aviation Day, volunteers from the Friends of the Granby Airport, Inc. and from EAA Chapter 1267 will be providing a free shuttle service from GNB to the golf course and back.
Aviation Day at Grand Elk will provide golfers with a bargain-price opportunity to experience what it must be like to play the great, historic golf courses of Scotland. Designed by Master’s Winner, Craig (The Walrus) Stadler, and premier golf course architect, Tripp Davis, Grand Elk is Colorado’s only heathland style course.

“When I first saw the land that is becoming Grand Elk,” said Tripp Davis, “I was immediately reminded of Gleneagles, a historic and beautiful golf resort in the mountain highlands of Scotland. Like Gleneagles, Grand Elk lies among the gentle roll of mountain foothills and down amongst the valley of mountain rivers and streams.”

For more information about the Grand Elk Ranch and Club and its Grand Elk Golf Course see or call toll free 877-389-9333 or 970-887-9122. On-line registration for the Aviation Day Golf Tournament can be done by an email to Ricky Clark at

Yet, when it comes to beauty, the other three existing golf courses offer their own claims to “most beautiful.” The Fraser River runs through the Sol Vista Golf Club. The Pole Creek Golf Course offers stunning views of the Continental Divide to the east and of Byers Peak to the west. Grand Lake Golf Course is nestled up against the formidable Never Summer Range and the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park.

But golfing is not the only attraction of eastern Grand County. In winter, over one million skiers and snowboarders flock to the Winter Park/Mary Jane Ski Resort where its new-operator, IntraWest, is doing major upgrades to the base area and to many of the on-mountain amenities as well. A gondola linking downtown Winter Park and the base of the ski area is on the drawing boards.

Within sight of GNB, is the Sol Vista Basin Ski Area, which is perfect for families wanting to ski together on terrain far less intimidating than, for example, that of Mary Jane which goes by the slogan “Extremely Colorado.”

2001 Aviation Events CalendarLying as it does between the Fraser and Colorado Rivers, locals sometimes think of the area around GNB as the “cradle of western recreation civilization.” And, when compared to high-cost places like Aspen and Vail, they also know it as “The last great (affordable) place.”

A tale told frequently by many of Grand County’s primary and second-home owners alike is: “We came to ski. But then, we made the ‘mistake’ of staying over one summer. And now, we can’t leave.”

According to the Grand County Newcomers’ Guide, “Almost 65 percent of Grand County’s homes are second homes… The average second-home owner is college educated, with the majority earning more than $150,000…They spend five times as much as local residents on such things as lawn care, security services and pest control, and four times as much on church donations and other charities….”

Indeed, when the downhill skis, the cross-country skis, the snowshoes, the snowboards and the snowmobiles are stowed away for the spring and summer, out come the hiking boots, the sailboats, the motorboats, the fly rods, the canoes, the white-water rafts and the mountain bikes.
Ski lifts at Winter Park Ski Resort carry mountain bikers up slope to over 10,000 feet above sea level. Grand County already has over 600 miles of marked biking trails. A hiking/biking trail linking Winter Park to Granby is virtually complete. Eventually, the trail will push on to Grand Lake. Looking down on all this is the Continental Divide Trail that enters eastern Grand County south of Winter Park and follows the Continental Divide to Grand Lake, through Rocky Mountain National Park and beyond to the Canadian border.

Eastern Grand County’s Three Lakes Area is one of Colorado’s most beautiful. Five miles due north of GNB, is Lake Granby – Colorado’s second largest man-made lake. Adjacent to Lake Granby is the beautiful 1,300-acre Shadow Mountain Lake. Connected by a narrow inlet channel, Shadow Mountain Lake flows directly into the historic, 265-foot-deep Grand Lake.

Grand Lake is Colorado’s largest natural lake. It is the home of the Grand Lake Yacht Club, which was chartered by famed British yachtsman, Sir Thomas Lipton. In late July, the Club plays host to the annual Lipton Cup Regatta during which “take-no-prisoners and bayonet-the-wounded” sailors compete for the coveted Lipton Cup.

Meanwhile, the 7,200-acre Lake Granby is ably served by the full-service, public-use, Grand Lake Marina and Beach Club. Motor boat, sailboat, and pontoon rentals are available along with a restaurant/bar offering stunning views of Lake Granby and the Continental Divide. The Grand Elk Marina and Beach Club (right on U.S. Highway 34) is part of the Grand Elk Ranch and Club consortium that also has its own private Ski Club at Winter Park/Mary Jane.

Lake Granby is the Mecca for the huge trophy-size Mackinaw or Lake Trout. Fly fishers wade the Colorado and the Fraser Rivers and historic St. Louis Creek where President Dwight D. Eisenhower loved to cast his favorite Red Quill flies.

With its 1,869 square miles of territory, Grand County is 324 square miles larger than the State of Rhode Island. Interestingly, Grand County is served by only two airports (GNB and McElroy Field [20V] at Kremmling), while the smaller State of Rhode Island has seven airports and one heliport.

A major reason why Grand County has preserved its pristine, “last great place” nature is because 68 percent of its land belongs to either Uncle Sam or to the State of Colorado. As a result, the local bear, moose, pronghorns (AKA antelope), elk, deer, foxes, marmots, and buffalo can pretty much count on roaming forever from Rocky Mountain National Park in the north to Winter Park in the south.

Access to this still pristine former “Island in the Rockies” is now easy. U.S. Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass is almost a three-lane super highway from start to finish, the towns of Fraser and Granby are served by Amtrak, and the Granby airport is in the center of all the attractions.
GNB has a single 5,000- by 70-foot runway (27/09) at 8,203 feet elevation. A mid-field taxiway leads to the 100LL, Jet A, 24/7, self-serve, major credit card, fueling facility. A nearby hangar houses the flight planning facility complete with both of the DUATS services, a monitor showing read-outs from the AWOS-I, and a telephone for calling Flight Service.

Currently, the Airport Reference Code (ARC) for GNB is B-I; however, a major airport upgrade is on the FAA’s radarscope. The project is funded to widen the runway by five feet and increase the runway length by 41 feet, thus raising GNB’s ARC from B-I to B-II. A GPS, non-precision, instrument approach is in the works as well.

2001 Aviation Events CalendarAt the east end of GNB, one finds an on-going private hangar building boom surrounding the former airline terminal which is just sitting there — awaiting the return someday of the scheduled air carrier service that used to link GNB to Denver and Steamboat Springs.

Back in 1979, before deregulation caused the demise of Rocky Mountain Airways, a one-way ticket on a DeHavilland Dash-7 from Denver Stapleton Airport to GNB was only $13.00. While $13 dollar tickets won’t come back, the continuing growth of eastern Grand County almost guarantees that commercial air service someday will.

Windsocks are found on top of the white hangar at mid-field and inside of GNB’s segmented circle, which has been augmented to show right-hand traffic for runway 27. When landing on usually wind-favored Runway 27, pilots are urged to avoid the noise-sensitive neighbor whose home is one half mile east of GNB on the 075-degree radial. Take-offs to the east on Runway 09 are strongly discouraged due to rising terrain to the east and to avoid raising the ire of the noise-sensitive neighbor. Remember, it is right-hand traffic for Runway 27.

Airport communications are done on 123.0. The AWOS-I is on 119.925 or by telephone at: 970-887-1803. The Grand County-provided courtesy car is arranged by calling: 970-887-2123 for key access information. Other ground transportation can be obtained from nearby Avalanche Car Rentals at 888-437-4101 or 970-887-3908 or Also, try Home James Transportation in Fraser at 970-726-5060.

Virtually everything one could want to know about GNB can be found at – a service paid for by the Friends of the Granby Airport, Inc. For information about Grand County, go to

As it does every year, EAA Chapter 1267 will hold its fly-in, pancake feed on July 10th – an event that attracts almost one hundred aircraft and over 500 folks who just like to dine on pancakes and be among airplanes and the men and women who fly them.

Whether you fly in for pancakes, golf, skiing, or the scenery, Grand County Colorado is sure to please.

Private pilot, Penny Hamilton, is the owner of Forest and Lake Real Estate. She and her co-pilot husband hangar their Turbo Arrow III at GNB. Penny was one of the founders of the Friends of the Granby Airport, Inc. She also serves as the Granby Airport Support Network Volunteer for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibility for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising fom it