Already thinking ahead to next ski season? So are we! It's never too early to start planning! For family fun, lazy luxury, or sweeping solitude, these cross-country ski itineraries will hook you up with great places to ski, stay, play, and eat.
Itinerary 1: Family Fun in Summit County
Stay: Make your Breckenridge base camp the Grand Timber Lodge and let the kids loose to explore the game room and arcade, indoor and outdoor pools, or drop in on fun offerings like make-your-own candy sushi or the waffles and hot chocolate bar.
Ski: Breckenridge Nordic is the OG Nordic center, just a half-mile from Main Street with 40K of groomed trails surrounded by National Forest. Gold Run operates out of the golf course in the winter, with 27K and onsite horse-drawn sleigh rides, while Frisco Nordic offers a cozy log lodge and 27K on the Peninsula Recreation Area.
Play: Frisco's Peninsula Recreation Area is home to the Adventure Park, a bonanza of off-slope good times for kids and kids at heart. You'll find several lift-served tubing lanes, a traditional sledding hill, and a sweet and mellow practice hill for new skiers and boarders to practice on. Pro tip: You'll need reservations for the popular tubing hill, which you can make online.
Eat: Dillon's Arapahoe Cafe and Pub serves up winning barbecue and more in a one-of-a-kind historic setting, or check out their family-style take-out options (just order 24 hours in advance).
Itinerary 2: Wide Open Spaces in Grand County
Stay: Reserve a cushy lodge-style room at Devil's Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa and you'll be free to roam on 5,000 acres of high-country paradise. For a more budget-friendly option, book a cabin (but way in advance) at the popular Snow Mountain Ranch/YMCA of the Rockies.
Ski: Devil's Thumb Ranch offers 50 to 70K of groomed Nordic skiing on the ranch grounds. You'll find 110K of excellent terrain at Snow Mountain Ranch. For a stunning rustic experience, grab a day pass at Latigo Ranch and make tracks on 50K of unspoiled and never-crowded terrain. Grand Lake Nordic's 35K offers a sweet variety of rolling and interconnected trails that make for fast, fun, and varied loop options.
Play: Sign up for a dog sledding trip at Snow Mt. Ranch, or head to Grand Lake for a snowmobile adventure kissing up on the Rocky Mountain National Park boundaries with On The Trail Rentals.
Eat: Book a table at Tabernash Tavern and soak up the atmosphere of a rustic-but-renovated century-old building with mountain charm to spare. The Tavern is known for seafood and steaks with an international flair, such as Patagonia rack of lamb and salmon Milan. Plan Sunday brunch at the Fraser Distillery—pair a Garden Glow cocktail (gin, lemon, lavender-vanilla liqueur) with fried chicken and waffles or pastrami hash.
Itinerary 3: Luxe and Leisurely in Eagle County
Stay: Ready to go really big? The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Avon is the ultimate indulgence, with deluxe rooms and a 21,000-square-foot spa retreat inspired by the mountains. Signature treatments incorporate locally sourced herbs, plants, and minerals perfect for tired muscles after a long day of skiing.
A less-expensive and delightful alternative is The Pines Lodge, a boutique-style hotel with ski-in ski-out access snuggled right up against the Village at Beaver Creek. A guest favorite, besides the quiet but slopeside location, is the platter of warm cookies served in the lobby each day for apres ski.
Play: The Black Family ice rink in the heart of Beaver Creek Village is a romantic spot to make lazy spins and people watch by the outdoor fire, or music lovers will love the eclectic lineup at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.
Ski: Beaver Creek's 32K of Nordic trails sit tucked high up on the mountain, a chairlift ride away from the Nordic center at the base and a world away from crowds and hustle. Note: BC Nordic's trails are multi-use for skiers and snowshoers, so if you plan to skate it's good to check on grooming status for the smoothest conditions. Looking for an easy afternoon cruiser or a great place to work on your form? The Vail Nordic Center offers a range of terrain as well as lessons, demos, and events on 17K of groomed trails.
Eat: For a casual vibe, The Remedy Bar at Vail's Four Seasons Hotel is a wonderful spot for a meal or just curling up with their amazing Haute Chocolate, made with Swiss chocolate, marshmallow, and Chantilly cream.