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3 Off-the-Beaten-Path Cross-Country Ski Getaways

Travel Tips Tuesday, February 21, 2017

If you’re a serious skier, you know the nearby Nordic trails and centers where you can get in, hammer your weekly workout, and get out. But when was the last time you ventured farther afield? Spring is the perfect time for a little road trip. Discover one of these offbeat destinations and you’ll find a new favorite.

Crested Butte

Why: A 55K trail network leaves right from town, although it may be hard to year yourself away—downtown Crested Butte is funky, cool, historic, charming and Nor-dork friendly. Bonus: Kids under 17 ski free.

When: Crested Butte Nordic hosts the Gothic Mountain Tour on February 25, a Grand Traverse training race with 22 miles and 5,000 feet of vertical gain. Too hardcore? Try a Magic Meadows Yurt Dinner Experience that night (or again on March 4) instead.

Stay: The cozy, dog-friendly Nordic Inn has a killer breakfast buffet and fresh cookies and tea out daily—fuel you’ll need for race day.

Grand Mesa/Cedaredge


Why: At 10,000 feet, this Nordic destination gets more than 30 feet of snow each season—and no crowds to track it up. The Grand Mesa Nordic Council maintains 54K of groomed skate and classic trails.

When: Spring break—when crowds descend on destinations with shared alpine amenities, silent sports fans can log hours of peaceful trail time on the snowy mesa—one of the world’s highest.

Stay: Thunder Mountain Lodge rents snug lakefront log cabins with full kitchens.



Why: Tennessee Pass Nordic Center grooms 27K of trails way up high—10,500 feet, to be exact. No question the skiing is great, but the claim to fame here? Tennessee Pass Cookhouse, a ski-in gourmet dining experience in a yurt about one mile from the center. The Cookhouse is open for lunch and dinner—rentals and headlamps provided with your dinner reservation.

When: On March 5, this fun-loving program hosts the Paintball Biathlon — a kids’ 1K, or 5K and 10K options.

Stay: Time for some glamping — luxurious but rustic sleep yurts on site offer log furniture, down comforters and a kitchenette stocked with a stash of coffee, hot chocolate and hot cider.

More getaway ideas? Guest ranches with a Nordic program are an amazing way to hunker down and rack up the trail miles — Home Ranch, Latigo, and Devil’s Thumb Ranch all offer gourmet meals and high-end lodging with the usual ranch activities.


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