cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Southern Colorado

Crested Butte Nordic Center is linked with one of the most extensive xc ski trail networks in Colorado. It is located at the edge of town in the Big Mine Park. Crested Butte is a quaint Victorian mining town that has a National Historic District and the Nordic center is walking distance from anywhere in town. There is also a free shuttle stop at the center.

There are about 35 km of ski trails groomed for classic and skate skiing, which begin a few yards from the Nordic Center. There are more than 100 miles of backcountry trails.. Terrain includes spectacular scenery and varies from flats and rolling hills to steeps. There are backcountry ski and snowshoe trips available. There is an alpine ski area and a complete list of accommodations options.

The Telluride Nordic Center (970-728-1144) offers a 30-km. network of groomed trails around town and the ski area. Lessons are also available; group lessons meet daily at 11 a.m. at the center. If you'd like to ski the intermediate and advanced groomed trails at the top of Lift 10, buy a lift ticket at the downhill ski area ticket windows. Adult and children's group lessons are available and so are full-day backcountry tours and equipment rentals. CCSAA member

Guided tours wind through the San Juan Mountains and a five-hut, 68-mile network of intermediate and advanced trails. Huts are approximately 6 miles apart and each is equipped with padded bunks, propane cooking appliances and a big potbelly stove. Guides are available for groups, held to a maximum of eight skiers. Call the San Juan Hut System for rates: 970-728-6935.

Nearby in Ridgeway, CO is the San Juan Guest Ranch (970-626-5360; 800-331-3015), which accommodates overnight visitors. Day visitors also may use the trails. Usually, at least 12 km are groomed, but sometimes additional kilometers are groomed if guests' needs warrant it. The ranch also offers ice climbing, backcountry touring and avalanche awareness training.

The Nordic Center (970-247-6000 Ext. 114 or 385-2114), maintained by the Durango Nordic Ski Club, is located just north of the Alpine ski area and across Hwy 550. There are 16 km of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing. Nordic skiers find the same undulating terrain as alpine skiers do, with appropriate terrain for various ability levels. The center offers clinics, races, group and private lessons, rentals, children's programs, daytime and moonlight tours.