Discovering the best cross-country ski locations in the United States
For the past decade, interest in cross-country skiing (also known as Nordic skiing and skate skiing) has been on the rise. Although we like the solitude that can typically be found on backcountry ski trails, we’re happy that more and more people are seeing the light.
In addition to being a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, cross-country skiing is a fantastic workout (for both the mind and body). As if that’s not enough, it’s also a relatively inexpensive sport and easy to learn.
Have we convinced you?
Whether you’re a seasoned cross-country skier or thinking about checking it out for the first time, here are a few suggestions for places you might want to visit for your skiing adventure.
Skiing in the Methow Valley
1. Methow Valley, WA. Some of the best cross-skiing in the United States is tucked unassumingly into the eastern base of North Cascades National Park in Washington State. Despite offering over 200 kilometers of frequently groomed trails and lots of winter sunshine, the Methow Valley draws a relatively small number of (extremely devoted) skiers, so it is easy to find peace and solitude among the glacial valleys and breathtaking vistas.
2. Royal Gorge, CA. With claims of “the most annual snowfall in Tahoe” and nearly 200 kilometers of groomed trails across eight separate trail systems, one of which winds through the resort town of Sugar Bowl, it’s easy to understand why Royal Gorge is so popular with cross-country skiers. The expansive trail system means that there are trails suited for every skill level, so this is a great place for expert cross-country skiers and novices alike.
3. West Yellowstone, MT. Visitors to West Yellowstone can enjoy Rendezvous Ski Trails, 35 kilometers of “gently rolling, beautifully groomed trails that wind through tall stands of lodgepole pine and open meadows.” If that description isn’t compelling enough, keep in mind that nearby Yellowstone National Park is open to cross-country skiers in the winter, so you have the chance to see the park in a way that few visitors get to.
Viewfinder Tip: 2016 is the year we’re celebrating national parks. Try cross-country skiing in the parks that allow it to experience their natural beauty in a new way.
4. Lake Placid, NY. Lake Placid played host to the 1980 Winter Olympics, so it should come as little surprise that the winter sports mecca has some world-class cross-country skiing. What you may not know is that Lake Placid offers over 160 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails that cut through the lovely wilderness of the Adirondacks.
5. Tabernash, CO. Upscale resort towns like Vail, Beaver Creek, Telluride, and Breckenridge have made Colorado a globally recognized destination for downhill skiers and snowboarders. The cross-country resort Devil’s Thumb Ranch is quickly earning its place among those well-known resorts for outstanding cross-country skiing. Over 100 kilometers of trails and Colorado’s famous powdery snow make Devil’s Thumb Ranch a must do for cross-country skiing enthusiasts.
What is your favorite winter sport?
Header photo by Geneva Dawson.
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