cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Colorado

Colorado's cross country ski areas and guest ranches offer a wide variety of experiences, scenic forests of lodgepole pine, spruce and aspen, mountain streams and incredible vistas. Plentiful snow and more than 300 days a year with blue skies and bright sunshine. For the best in Colorado xc skiing, click Colorado Cross Country Ski Association. Email at info@coloradocrosscountry.com

The Colorado Cross Country Ski Association ski resorts include:

Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council Trails (970- 429-2039; www.aspennordic.com) has 90 miles of FREE XC skiing for the enjoyment by residents and visitors. Aspen Cross Country Center is at 39551 W. Hwy 82, Aspen, Colorado 81611 in the Pro Shop at the Aspen Public Golf Course (970-925-­2145). Explore the trails, pack a lunch and ski from town to town. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery. Rental equipment, lessons and events. The Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council wishes you happy skiing!

Beaver Creek Nordic Sports Center (970-845-5313, www.beavercreek.com) in Avon has 32 km of groomed trails and 15 km of snowshoe trails. Have lunch at the overlook at McCoy Park with a view that takes in three mountain ranges. CCSAA member

The Breckenridge Nordic Ski Center (970-453-6855; www.breckenridgenordic.com), on Ski Hill Road on the way up to the Breckenridge Alpine ski area, has 28 km of double-set trails for all abilities. Equipment rentals for xc and snowshoes, lessons, and guided backcountry tours are available. Trail passes are accepted at Frisco Nordic Center and Gold Run Nordic Center. For a full page of info about Breckenridge Nordic Ski Center click here. CCSSA member

Cordillera Nordic Center is located at the Mountain Course at Cordillera (970-926-5100; www.cordillera-vail.com). It offers 11 kilometers of groomed ski trails and snowshoe trails. We are located at an elevation of 8200 feet with great views of the Gore Range and on any given day you might be able to see many different forms of wildlife. Open Tuesday - Sunday from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Rental equipment available for XC skiing and snowshoeing. The Timberhearth Restaurant is open to the public Wednesday - Saturday for dinner from 5:30 - 9:30 PM. Dogs are allowed. There is also a sledding hill with a few sleds to use and backcountry access.

Devils Thumb Ranch (970-726-8231, www.devilsthumbranch.com) in Tabernash has 100 km of groomed trails. New accommodations, restaurant and a spa. Check out the Black 10 Trail to take you far above the valley with incredible vistas of the Ten Mile and Gore mountain ranges. For a full page of info about Devil's Thumb Ranch click here.

Eldora Mountain Resort's Nordic Center (303-440-8700 x267; www.eldora.com) in Nederland provides a scenic setting for XC skiers and snowshoers of all abilities. Eldora’s 40 km of trails cross beautiful alpine clearings and pass through peaceful forests with trails designated for classic skiing, skate skiing, and snowshoeing. There’s a variety of lessons, programs and special events and Eldora is famous for its popular winter-long Women's Program and Kid's Trek Program. There are classic cross-country ski and telemark ski lessons daily and skate ski lessons are offered every weekend and everyday during holidays for all levels of skiers.

The Frisco Nordic Center (970-668-0866; www.frisconordic.com) is on Highway 9 in Frisco about one mile out of town toward Breckenridge. There are 43 km groomed for classic and skate skiiing and 20 km of snowshoe trails. Picnic tables with views on the shoreline of Dillon Lake. Rental equipment is available for xc skiing and snowshoeing. For a full page of info click Frisco Nordic Center. CCSAA member

Keystone Nordic Center (970-496-4275, www.keystone.snow.com/) in Keystone has an extensive cross-country ski area, with 18 km of groomed trails around the River Course clubhouse off Hwy 6. There is an additional 57 km of ungroomed backcountry skiing trails to ghost mining towns in the Montezuma area and around the region. Lessons and rentals are available. Cross-country activities include moonlight tours and ecology tours. E.A.S.E. free door-to-door local bus transportation to the nordic center.

Vista Verde Ranch (970-879-3858, 800-526-7433, www.vistaverde.com) in Steamboat Springs has 500 acres and 30 km of groomed trails. Backcountry tours and telemark lessons, gourmet meals, kids programs with outdoor activities. Once a week wine tasting and cooking class. For a full page of info click Vista Verde. CCSAA member

Crested Butte Nordic Center is in the center of a charming old western town with 42 km of groomed trails. Backcountry tours, hut rentals, lessons, rentals, ice skating, and sledding. 30 miles north of Gunnison. Incredible scenery and worth the trip. CCSAA member

Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge is at the local golf course with great panaramas of surrounding mountains. The lodge has a massive fireplace and overstuffed leather chairs. There are 20 km of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing and 12 km of single track for snowshoers. Lessons and rental equipment available. CCSAA member

Grand Lake Touring Center (970-627-8008, www.grandlakecolorado.com) in Grand Lake has 35 km of groomed trails and 5 km of snowshoe trails. This is near the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. Ski Ptarmigan Tuck and the North Fork of the Colorado River. US Hwy 34 to Granby, County Road 48. CCSAA member

The Home Ranch in Clark has 1,500 acres and is a 4-star rated resort with 6 lodge rooms and 8 cabins. Groomed xc skiing and guided backcountry adventure. High customer service, family style meals and an indoor riding area. County Road 129, one quarter mile past the Clark Country Store. CCSAA member

Latigo Ranch in Kremmling has 65 km of groomed trails on 500 acres of private land. US Route 40 to Colorado Hwy 134 to Red Dirt Road. CCSAA member

Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies in Winter Park has 100 km of groomed trails and 3 km of lighted trails and plentiful and affordable lodging. On US Hwy 40, 11 miles north of Winter Park. CCSAA member

Tennessee Pass Nordic Center and Cookhouse in Leadville (719-486-1750, www.tennesseepass.com) has 25 km and a backcountry gourmet restaurant open 7 nights a week and for lunch on the weekend, Highway 24, 10 miles north of Leadville.

Thunder Mountain Lodge in Cedaredge (970-856-6240; www.thundermountainlodge.com) has breathtaking scenery of the snow laden spruce and frozen alpine lakes of the Grand Mesa, It is situated above 10,000 feet and averaging 33 feet of snowfall per season there are very few places on the Mesa that are unskiable and yet even fewer adventurers willing to track it up. The lodge is mere feet from the Grand Mesa Nordic Council’s trail system which maintains over 54 km of groomed classic and skate trails, marked back country, and snowshoe trails all wholly contained within non­motorized zones.

The Vail Nordic Center (970-476-8366; www.vailnordiccenter.com) offers 17 km of groomed ski trails and 10 km of separate snowshoe trails. Located 2 miles east of the heart of Vail Village at the Vail Golf Course. All of the trails from the beginning to the advanced have stunning views of the beautiful Gore Range. A free town bus runs regularly from Vail Village and there is free parking to customers using the trails.
Open daily from 9 to 5

Vail Nordic Ski School (970-479-3210, http://www.vail.com/activities/nordic-sports-center.aspx) is set up at Vail Resort for backcountry snowshoe and XC ski tours & lessons. There are Backcountry Skin & Ski Tours, (learn the art of backcountry travel, use of skins for climbing, avalanche equipment and more), Avalanche Awareness, (Gain a better knowledge of avalanches and the tools used.) and Family Tours (Gather the family for a half or full day tour on snowshoes or XC skis. The Vail Nordic Center is on the Vail Golf Course. Instructors specialize in xc skiing, telemark skiing, snowshoeing, and skate skiing. Guests can book snowshoeing tours, telemark lessons, and xc lessons, and tours. There is rental equipment available, a rental shop, and soups, snacks, and beverages.