In the dead of winter, as the snow lies deep, soft, cold and powdery, some of us pack our bags and flee to the warmer climates such as Barbados, Jamaica and Mexico. Others embrace whatever winter can throw at us! We pack our bags and head off to enjoy some of the nation’s best cross country skiing in Colorado. For those who love the sport, a visit to this state has become part of our annual pilgrimage.
Groomed or Off-Trail
In Colorado, you can choose from a number of trails. Some, such as those near Beaver Creek, Keystone, Vail, and of course Grand Lake Nordic Center, offer groomed trails through scenic countryside. They also offer lessons for beginners and cozy areas to buy the proper clothing and enjoy food and drinks.
This is a great option, especially those who are learning their skills or want to spend a relaxing time within the boundaries of civilization. The more experienced cross-country skiers however, often want to stretch their legs, so they head towards the wilds of Rocky Mountain National Park. Here, they can follow ungroomed trails, often catching glimpses of wildlife as they venture out. The hike to Alberta Lake also provides some challenges too, however a more quiet route to take in the Park.
The Parks are not a source of only ungroomed trails though. You can find several that are well-used and others that are very challenging. Consider the trails available at Keystone, the ones at Devil’s Thumb, and those that comprise the 10th Mountain Division Hut Association with Colorado’s collection of huts. These trails are reserved only for experts who want to cross country ski from shelter to shelter near or at the timberline.
Cross Country Skiing
Whether you prefer on or off trail cross-country skiing, or groomed or backcountry trails, you are sure to find a trail that meets your needs, and even exceeds your expectations. In winter, Colorado cross-country skiing is something everyone can take up. It is budget conscious, family and dog friendly and is suitable for all levels of skill. You can either stay a whole weekend or just a few days in a local hotel, motel, resort or cabin. Make it your base before you head to a Nordic Ski Center at Beaver Creek, Grand Lake, or elsewhere across the State.
If you are experienced or want to try something different, visit the Rocky Mountain National Park or a wildlife reserve and follow their groomed and ungroomed trails. Whatever your decision, when winter sends its icy blasts across the nation, know that you can always find high quality cross country skiing in Colorado. It is a state where the mantra should be “Let it snow.”