If you’re looking for some of the best cross-country skiing in Colorado, look no further than Grand County. Known for having, “more Ks and more days” than any other Nordic-ski destination, our region of the Rockies provides premier terrain from late fall to early spring. Plus, with three Nordic Centers, miles and miles of free trails near our towns, and plenty of backcountry adventures, you will never run out of winter-sports fun.
Once you arrive in Grand County for your cross-country excursion, your first stop should be one of our Nordic Centers. Not only do they offer seemingly endless groomed terrain, but they can also provide gear, lessons and trail information for your trip. Check out these spots to get started:
- Grand Lake Nordic Center (Grand Lake)
- Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center (Granby)
- Devil’s Thumb Ranch Nordic Center (Tabernash)
Cross-Country Ski Lessons
New to Nordic skiing? Cross-country ski lessons are your best bet. With the help of a local expert, you’ll be gliding across crystal-covered meadows in no time. All the Nordic Centers in Grand County offer lessons for every age group — from tiny toddlers to seniors — so everyone can explore our region’s powdery trails. Adults and families can also join the Grand Nordic Club, where you receive a free cross-country ski lesson every year as well as discounts on day passes, gear and event admission.
Cross-Country Ski Rentals & Shops
Sometimes, packing all your gear is more trouble than it’s worth — especially when there are plenty of great cross-country ski rentals in Grand County. Stop by a local outfitter to get fitted for boots, skis, poles and everything else you need for a day traversing our tree-lined trails. You can even test out sport packages with some of the newest gear, which just might inspire a holiday gift or souvenir.
- Icebox Mountain Sports (Fraser)
- Christy Sports (Winter Park)
- Never Summer Mountain Products (Grand Lake)
- Local Experience (Fraser)
Colorado Ranches with Cross-Country Ski Trails
In Grand County, several guest ranches and resorts have cross-country ski trails right on site. At these spots, you can simply wake up, strap on your skis and embark on frosty pine pathways. Then head back at sunset for marshmallowy hot cocoa and a crackling fire. The next day, load up your itinerary with other winter activities right outside your door, like enchanting sleigh rides, tubing, fat biking and rejuvenating hot-tub soaking.
Start building your winter itinerary in Grand County, from Nordic skiing and fat biking to hot springs and spas.
Backcountry Ski and Snowshoe Trails
From tracked and groomed meadow trails to steep backcountry climbs, many free Nordic adventures show off the more remote and challenging routes in our region. Here, you’ll come across panoramic views of the Continental Divide, quiet pathways where deer wander peacefully and endless outlooks to snowcapped Rocky Mountain peaks. Check out these intermediate-to-difficult backcountry trails to explore some lesser-traveled, cross-country ski spots in Grand County. Or explore the options gathered by the Headwaters Trails Alliance.
- Berthoud Pass is a popular backcountry area with a sprawling network of stunning trails to enjoy.
- Second Creek Trail is a short trail that directs you toward Broome Hut, one of the most famous remote cabin rentals in Colorado.
- Jim Creek is a great intermediate trail to backcountry tour, which begins in Winter Park and ascends into the forest.
- Milner Pass in Rocky Mountain National Park is an excellent challenge for seasoned skiers.
Adaptive Cross-Country Skiing
Everyone who visits Grand County can participate in Nordic skiing, with numerous adaptive cross-country ski and snowshoe opportunities. Head to Devil’s Thumb Ranch to take a lesson with the National Sports Center for the Disabled, where participants can learn on sit skis, stand skis, sliders or snowshoes. It’s also a great sensory-friendly activity, with individual or family lessons taught by specialized instructors.
Nordic Ski Races & Events
Feeling a little competitive? Sign up for an event in the Grand County Nordic Race Series. Glide alongside your peers with skate and classic competitions throughout the winter. Or just have some fun and get to know our passionate community at one of the county’s local celebrations. From Viking-themed festivals to ski, sip and yoga retreats, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Nordic Ski Safety
Whether you're entering the backcountry or skiing at one of our Nordic Centers, it's always important to have a safety plan. Make sure you wear proper clothing, bring safety equipment and thoroughly research the area where you plan to ski. Be prepared for the worst-case scenario when you're in the backcountry. Bring along food, water, clothing, a fire starter, shelter, first-aid supplies and navigation equipment. Your checklist should meet these minimum requirements. Check weather and avalanche conditions before you head out. And if you’re new to backcountry, take a class or hire a guide before you start your adventure.
Finally, as you begin your trip, keep in mind Care for Colorado Leave No Trace Principles. Pack out everything you bring with you. If you’re snowshoeing, try to stay to the side and keep tracks smooth for the next cross-country skier. Stick to trails and share the space. Do not disturb wildlife and keep your distance if you come across animals.
Find your dream hotel, camping spot or lodge and start planning outdoor excursions, dining and must-see stops for your Grand County itinerary.
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