XC Skiing & Snowshoeing
From tracked and groomed meadow trails to steep backcountry climbs, Grand County, Colorado has a Nordic experience for skiers and snowshoers of every level. Several commercial centers and a multitude of backcountry sites give skiers and snowshoers plenty of options to choose from. Take a look at these trail recommendations to find out why Grand County is considered a premier destination for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
- Remote and stunning, Berthoud Pass is a popular backcountry area with numerous stunning trails to enjoy. Second Creek Trail is a short trail that's great for adventurers and directs you toward Broome Hut, one of the most famous remote cabin rentals in Colorado.
- A great intermediate trail to backcountry tour is Jim Creek, which begins in Winter Park and ascends into the wilderness.
- For a challenge, try Milners Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Whether you're entering the backcountry or skiing at Winter Park Resort, it's always best to have a safety plan. Make sure you wear proper clothing and safety equipment like a helmet, and thoroughly research the area you're planning to go. Be prepared for the "worst case scenario" when you're in the backcountry, because the high altitude causes your body to deplete its resources quickly. That means bringing food, water, clothing, a fire starter, shelter, first aid supplies, and navigation equipment. Your checklist should meet these minimum requirements. Smart backcountry tourists will also know the weather and avalanche conditions where they're headed. If this is all new information, consider taking a class or hiring a guide before you start your off-trail adventures.
- Since skiing is Colorado's favorite outdoor sport, there is no shortage of convenient rental establishments. In Winter Park, get suited up at at the resort, Christy Sports, Epic Mountain Sports, or Icebox Mountain Sports.
- Near Granby, try Breeze Ski Rentals or gearing up at Granby Ranch.
If you know the resort you're visiting, finding a trail map is a cinch. Simply visit Granby Ranch or Winter Park's site to view a detailed map of their trail system and lifts. Backcountry skiiers and boarders know your map is your lifeline. There are many great sites and books that can help you backcountry tour with ease.
Many cross-country skiers and snowshoers seek out our vast backcountry trails. After all, 70 percent of the county's area is public land. For more detailed information on the following areas, consult these links:
- Byers Peak Wilderness
- Indian Peaks Wilderness
- Never Summer Wilderness
- Vasquez Peak Wilderness
- Rocky Mountain National Park
- Arapaho National Forest
- Arapaho National Recreation Area
- Medicine Bow/Routt National Forest
Nordic Centers & Lessons
In addition, the area offers various Nordic centers, local retail shops, and ski clubs that are staffed with experienced skiers and snowshoers who can provide valuable information about permits and accessing these remote areas. The Grand Lake Nordic Center, Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, and Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa near Fraser are all full-service, offering rental packages and on-site exploration. For more information on cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and all things nordic, visit the Grand Nordic website to learn about nordic centers, backcountry trails, nordic resorts, reports and news. Plus, explore our local shops and Nordic centers below: