Nordic skiers love destination travel — there’s nothing like choosing a resort or guest ranch, parking yourself for a few days and racking up the kilometers. But not all of us travel with like-minded family members. How to make a Nordic ski getaway work for everyone? With a little planning and creativity, it’s a snap.
Make sure everyone is suited up right
Proper clothing, great-fitting boots, the right size skis and poles — sounds obvious, but all can be game changers for the novice or sometimes X-C skier. Little children need to keep warm and should have waterproof mittens and snow pants. Consider ditching the poles as they learn to find their balance and gain confidence. More active or older kids need wicking fabrics and layers of lighter clothing so they don’t overheat. For skis, make sure you get properly waxed and fitted rentals; too-stiff skis won’t grip, too-soft skis won’t glide, and tears are a near guarantee. That said, don’t rush to put your mother-in-law on a high-end demo when a sturdier fish-scale ski would be a more comfortable choice. Match the gear to the skier, realistically.
Take a lesson
In the same vein as suiting up right, arm non-skiers with the skills to enjoy themselves and you’ll set them up for success — and future X-C ski trips. Group lessons take a bite out of cost, and many resorts have free lesson days for young kids or the community, hosted by local Nordic clubs.
Build in rituals
Make sure it’s not all about the ski, wax, repeat routine — celebrate a cold day on the trails with a night out of for pizza, an impromptu s’mores session, or hot tubbing at the rec center or resort pool.
Find non-athletic ways to enjoy the landscape
Not every traveler has the VO2 max to climb Blue Ridge or Monster Cookie or Buzzsaw, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of outdoor ops for the less hardcore. Dogsled tours pack an adrenaline rush while the huskies do the work; on-mountain snowcat tours at nearby ski resorts let grandparents take the little ones on a ride in style; an afternoon snowmobiling could fit the bill; tubing/sledding is an all-ages crowd-pleaser; guest ranches offer trail and sleigh rides that are fun and picture-perfect photo ops. And, Nordic guest ranches, centers and resorts all offer snowshoe rentals as an alternative way to hit the trails without busting a lung, and it makes for a great group outing. There's something for everyone at Nordic Resorts and Ranches.
Mix in some adrenaline
Older teens may be pining for terrain parks and the rush of downhill—make sure to add in a day or two on the slopes. In Colorado, odds are if you’re in Nordic terrain, there’s downhill right nearby or even onsite. Nordic ski centers such as Eldora, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone all share the slopes with downhill resorts, and Nordic staff can give you pointers on family-friendly trails and terrain.
Following your favorite resort, ranch or center on social media is the best way to get a bead on pre-season and other deals, discounts, specials and lessons. Deals are usually posted there first, so get a jump start on your booking and planning.