BEST Cross Country Skiing Resorts in the U.S.A| Cross Country Skiing or Nordic Skiing, as it’s also called is a fantastic scenic Winter activity. Uniquely different than the busy ski resorts, no chair lift lines and no beginners hurdling out of control all around you (used to be me!)
Cross Country Skiing is a more picturesque & peaceful experience, as you glide gracefully across the compacted snow. Dated back to 4000BC, in Scandinavia nordic skiing was used as a great way of traveling around the vast & treacherous winter landscape.
In the Olympics there are two distinct categories, Skate Skiing or classic. Classic is the more beginner friendly method & definitely the one to try if you’ve not had much experience cross country skiing before.The United States of America has a vast spectrum of environments which make it perfect for Cross Country Skiing in the Winter. From the Rock Mountains of Colorado, with iconic ski resorts like Aspen to the wilderness of Vermont and even Lake Placid in New York State. There are so many great nordic trails to choose from, so in this list we have compiled together a extensive list of the top 25 across multiple U.S States.
23. Snowmass – Aspen, Colorado
Snowmass is a true Cross Country Skiing icon. With over 60 miles/95km of epic cross country ski trails it’s one of the largest free groomed Nordic Ski areas in the United States!
Suitable for everyone from Beginners to advanced the scenic cross country trails offer a variety of terrains and link the areas of Aspen, Snowmass & Basalt. Thus providing ample opportunity for quaint stop offs! These trails are perfect for Skate Skiing, Classic or even snowshoe.Top Tip: Head up to the summit of Mt Daly (14,000ft) for some of the most picturesque panoramic views known to man!
As the evening comes head down to Red Onion Restaurant (downtown Aspen) for some great live music & a fun lively atmosphere. A historic landmark, Red onion was established in 1892.
Lessons & Tours:
There are a variety of tours & lessons on offer around the area, for all levels. For intermediate skiers a good one is Owl Creek (Aspen-Snowmass) Moore Open Space to high school tracks loop.
A few good tours for all levels include: Ashcroft/Pine Creek Cookhouse and the North Star Nature Preserve.
22. Buttermilk Mountain – Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk Mountain, is a great area to check out if you are taking on the vast system of Aspen Cross country ski trails, between Aspen-Snowmass-Basalt…discussed above.
21. Keystone Nordic Center
Keystone Nordic Center offers cross country trails of 16km (10miles). They are very well maintained trails, just on the outer edge of Keystone. However, use of them is not free.
On the plus side if you head about 10km (6miles) further out to White River National Forest there are another 57 cross country trails to really have some fun on…see below for more!
20. Breckenridge Nordic Center – Colorado
Breckenridge Nordic Center is renowned for it’s high quality ski resorts. However, lets not forget the fantastic Cross Country Skiing on offer also. Breckenridge Nordic Center is a fantastic hub for Cross Country Skiing.
With 1400 acres of pristine terrain, the center is just a minutes from downtown Breckenridge but really does feel so much more remote!The White River National Forest is a real gem of Colorado with epic Mountains summits & a lush wilderness which makes it a cross country skiers paradise!
As Breckenridge is located nearly 10,000 feet above sea level, the snow is pristine and the centre always makes sure it is well groomed & ready for skis.
A great place for families Nordic Ski Center offers a great range of services to help the whole family enjoy the trails. They even have a warm “pulk” sled which can be used for very young children to help pull them along.
For adults the professional instructors provide guided adventures through the cross country trails. This is a great way to learn about the secret spots & the history of the area.
After the Nordic Ski Trails:
After hitting the Nordic Ski trails head down to the Log lodge for a warm atmosphere, thanks to large fireplace & great views. Tuck into some food & drinks as you relax.
If staying in Breckenridge, there is a FREE ski & ride shuttle you can take direct to the Breckenridge Nordic Centre.
19. Kirkwood Nordic Ski Resort, California
Located in the pine & Amador counties of California. The Population of Kirkwood was just 158 according to a 2010 census! So expect a real remote feel to the area inside Eldorado National Forest. Accessible by State Route 88.
Just 10 minutes from Kirkwood Mountain Ski Resort, you will find over 50 miles (80km) of country country trails in great condition, offering fantastic views of the Sierra Nevada. With a variety of terrains on offer, this is a great place no matter your nordic skiing level.There are a variety of lessons available in both classic & skate. With Ski & snowshoe rentals available onsite. Trail passes are necessary.
Dogs are only allowed on two trails, the High Trail & Outer Loop.
18. Telluride Ski Resort – Colorado
Back to the Rocky Mountains , head to Telluride Ski Resort where over 6 miles (10km) of well groomed cross country trails are on offer. These will take you through a variety of scenic landscapes from snow capped evergreens to sweeping meadows. Check out the breath taking views of Prospect Bowl, Palmyra Peak of course the San Juan Mountains.
Advanced Cross Country Skier? Make sure you try out the winding nordic trails to Alta Lakes via National Forest trails.Insider Tip:
Plan your trip to fall within the Telluride Fire Festival (6-8Dec) an vibrant yearly celebration which marries fire & art in dramatic fashion.
17. Royal Gorge Resort- Sugar Bowl, CA
Royal Gorge at Sugar Bowl is equip with a whopping 200km (124miles) of cross country trails, which means there is plenty to get your teeth into. Starting at Royal Gorge, have a go at a selection of six trail systems, which wind through the town of Soda Springs, over Donner Pass and to Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.Insider Tip:
9 Log cabins are placed throughout the route giving you places to warm up & have a quick stop off. Trail passes are necessary, with lessons & rentals available for all levels of nordic skier.
16. The Summit at Snoqualmie – WA
Located at Snoqualmie Pass, Washington just one hour outside of Seattle. The Summit at Snoqualmie , offers 30 miles well manicured cross country trails on a variety of a terrain.
Split between four distinct sections of the mountain range, this is perfect for a physical skier who wants to be rewarded for the sweat with spectacular views.
A Popular Cross Country trail is Hidden Valley which runs between Mount Catherine and Mount Hyak.Insider Tip:
Want to have some family fun? Head to the Snoqualmies Tubing hill and have fun sliding on a giant inner tube down the Mountain.
15. Soldier Hollow Resort – Park City, Utah
A former Olympics Cross country skiing venue (2002) Soldier hollow is a gold mine of skate & classic trails spanning 20 miles. Located around half hour from Park city inside the Wasatch Mountain State Park.Insider Tip:
There is an Olympic Biathlon Range on site, where you can have a go with a 22cal olympic rifle. However, be aware you must take a quick safety course first.
12. Whiteface – Lake Placid, NY
The Lake Placid area features four cross country ski centres & over 100 miles of nordic trail suitable for a range of levels. A Popular area is White Mountain which offers “world class skiing at an Olympic class village”. A former home to the 1980’s olympics, expect 30 miles of well manicured cross country trails which chop through the Adirondacks. Other highlights include, Mount Van Hoevenberg and of course the picturesque lake.Keeping with it’s olympic roots, Whiteface has a popular biathlon which gives tourists the chance to experience the exciting training course used by the U.S Olympic team. With private, group lessons and rentals you have everything you need for a high quality cross country skiing adventure.
Chair 6 offers a range of greats breakfasts using local ingredients. Delights such as corned beef hash & iconic southern style sausage biscuits are a perfect way to give you energy to start the day.
10. Beaver Creek – Avon, Colorado
Beaver Creek Resort offers 20 miles of fantastic wild cross country trails. McCoy Park Nordic Sports centre which can be accessed via the Strawberry Express lift ($28), offers a selection of standard, skate & snowshoe rentals. In addition to a variety of lessons.
9. Bolton Valley Nordic Ski Center- Vermont
Located in Breath taking Vermont, Bolton Valley has 5000 acres of Cross Country Delight! Towering Mount Mansfield stands guard over the 60 miles of trial (with around 10 miles groomed).
If your after a wintry, bare knuckle adventure then the 300 inches of yearly snowfall make this a fantastic spot. They even have an on site snow making machine, so you will never be disappointed! Head to the Bolton Valley Nordic Center for Ski rental, tours & lessons etc.Insider Tip:
For some great local beers, head to “Prohibition Pig”, a great tavern in Waterbury.
8. Trapp Family Lodge – Stowe, Vermont
Trapp Family lodge was the first cross country ski center in the United States of America.
With 37 miles of well groomed trails and 62 miles of wild backcountry trails, there is large selection of terrain for all abilities. The nordic centre located on site offers rentals etc.
After hitting the Nordic Trails, head to Slayton Pasture Cabin for some relaxation in front of the cozy fireplace, and warm up with homemade soup & caca0.
7. Crested Butte Nordic – Colorado
With 55km of pristine well groomed nordic trails, Crested Butte is a nice little haven in the rockies. Lessons & tours available, trail passes are necessary.
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Try the fine yurt dining, for a really unique outdoor experience!
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6. Devil’s Thumb Ranch – Winter Park, Colorado
The wacky named Devils Thumb Ranch is a short 20min drive from the popular winter park. With nearly 70 miles of well groomed trails there is no wonder this is one of the most highly regarded cross country ski areas in the United states. Rentals & lessons can be taken onsite, trail passes are necessary.
5. Jackson Hole – Wyoming
Jackson Hole is a true Gem nestled in Wyomings Nature. An epic place for cross country skiing Teton Pines, is a highly regarded cross country ski center, four miles from Teton village. With 10 miles of well groomed trails there is plenty of terrain to get into.Insider Tip:
Are you a Nature lover? try Teton Pines “Shooting Star” Nordic Track, this is a 9 mile superstar through a spectrum of landscapes giving ample opportunity to catch glimpses of an array of wildlife from moose to deer and eagles.
4. Mt. Bachelor, Cross Country Skiing- Oregon
Located in Bend, Oregon Mount Bachelor has one of the longest running ski seasons in Northwestern United states. As an immense, training ground for the professional U.S ski team, Deschutes National Forest has powerful double diamond courses with 600ft elevations! This is a really physical course but so worth it!
3. Never Sumer Nordic Ski Resort- Colorado
Never Summer is another Colorado great especially, if you just want to get away from it all! With remote yurts/huts in private spots, nestled in the serene state wilderness (Just outside of Walden town).
One of the most Raw & natural cross country ski experiences, there are so many wild trails, just waiting outside your yurt. Suitable for all ski levels.Head to a Never summer Yurt for a least a few days to really get the best experience. Inside the yurts have beds, stove for cooking etc. Think of it like “Glamping”.
You can’t rent your skis/gear on site, so make sure you rent them from a rental shop before. It’s definitely worth it though!
2. Vista Verde Ski Ranch – Colorado
Do want Luxury, Opulence & pure decadence? Then Vista Verde Ranch just outside of Steamboat springs is the perfect spot for you. One of the most high quality ways of experiencing backcountry trials in style.
As a four diamond resort, it has won countless awards including the Town & Tourists best Ski ranch.
With nearly 20 miles of groomed trails nestled in the heart of Rou
For skiing, the ranch boasts more than 18 miles of groomed trails ideal for Nordic skiing, right in the heart of the Routt National Forest, it’s suitable for all levels from Beginner to advanced.Guided ski adventures are great to try here, which allow you a safe way to experience the Colorado backcountry. The ranch adventure centre offers complimentary equipment for all it’s guests.
If your feeling adventurous try “Backcountry Touring” a combination of cross country & telemarking, which gives you a great opportunity to ski across the frozen lakes and over hills.
After a long day hitting the cross country slopes head to back for an exceptional three course, dinner including wine.
Afterwards, head back to your private log cabin for a soak in the Hot tub! With just 12 cabins available they are in high demand so book in advance. I highly recommended trying Horseback Riding Vacation, a truly epic bucket list experience.
For a fantastic review on the Top 10 Ranch Vacations in the U.S.A, follow the link!
1. Lone Mountain Ranch – Big Sky, Montana
Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, Montana was voted as the “No 1 Nordic Ski Resort in U.S.A” by the popular Cross country skier Magazine. Boy does it live up to it’s name! Located six miles from Big Sky Ski Resort, there are 53 miles of wicked cross country trails. With the picturesque Yellowstone National Park as a backdrop, the network of pristine trails are maintain by advanced equipment.Fancy a challenge? Take the epic Siberia Trail which is a 10 mile rolling route with adrenaline pumping climbs & great terrain. Note: Trail passes are necessary, with rentals available on site.
The Lone Mountain ranch also offers a series of adventurous guided tours, accompanied by an wilderness expert you can follow animal tracks & have stop offs at secret locations of natural beauty.Insider Tip:
Big Sky Blue Moon Bakery located in Big Sky, offers some great treats for you to take with you for a picnic stop off. From tasty brownies to peanut butter bars, you will need all the energy you can get!
Cross Country Skiing Tips
Vital tips to ensure you have a fun yet safe time while out in the wilderness.
- Dress in breathable Wicker material layers, to help keep your you warm but release sweat at the same time. Fun Fact: Wicking fabrics are made from high-tech polyester, which, unlike cotton, absorbs very little water.
- Pack enough water & food/snack to keep you energised & Hydrated. Have regular breaks.
- Wear sunscreen. It may sound crazy in the winter but the high altitude can still make you burn easily.
- Bring a Cross Country Skiing Partner is going on a long trek, in case of injury. Also bring suitable communications, for example I always leave my normal cell phone at the hotel & take an old crappy or reliable one out skiing.
- Check avalanche conditions in the area by consulting a park ranger or ski resort.
- Ask the resort or state commission about annual punch hole ski passes to save money. This is particularly useful in states like Colorado.
Check out the 20 Most Epic Ski Resort/Winter Festivals in the U.S.A.
Also the Top 10 Bucket List Horse Riding Vacations in the U.S.A! From Colorado to California.
Interesting video below, on Jackson Hole Ski Area for some great tips on insight.