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Colorado Nordic Centers: Your Snow Adventure Headquarters

Tips & Ideas Monday, November 16, 2015

Your favorite Colorado Nordic center is more than just a place to stop in to grab a trail pass or some Klister—guest ranches and Nordic centers across the state have ever-increasing offerings to get you out in the snow no matter what time of year.

March weather can lure many Front Range skiers to start thinking about long runs and bike rides, but snow sport die-hards know those guys are missing the best conditions of the year: after all, March is our snowiest month in Colorado, with mountain towns averaging between 20 and 30 inches in March.

Nordic centers don’t let winter go until it’s gone—here’s how to make the most of the snow.

Strap On Some ’Shoes.

Spring storms mean HUGE dumps of snow—some of the best we’ve seen all season. It’s the perfect time to grab some snowshoes and strike off into unexplored woods and meadows. Snowshoeing can be a great transition between skiing and running seasons, or a safe workout when you’re taking a break or recovering from an injury—it’s low-impact and burns twice the number of calories as walking.

  • Look for beautiful, quiet snowshoe loops and ask about guided adventures at gems like Grand Lake, Eldora, Frisco, Steamboat Springs and Pagosa Springs Nordic centers
  • Breckenridge Nordic will let you rent skis and snowshoes as a two-for-one—swap your skis when you’re done for a pair of snowshoes and head out for a romp through the powder.

Free Your Heels Part II.

Spring skiing conditions can run well through May in the back- or high-country, and alpine touring or tele-skiing is a terrific way to keep the season going while earning your turns.

  • Vail Resorts Nordic School and Beaver Creek Nordic offer telemark workshops as well as private lessons and tours throughout the season.

Grab Your Dog.

Without the bitter cold of winter conditions, it’s a good time to bring your pup along for a ski. Most centers have dog-friendly trails, and several offer skijoring equipment rental and clinics.

  • Find dog trails (and some offer skijoring clinics) at these centers: Breckenridge Nordic, Crested Butte Nordic, Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Gold Run Nordic, Snow Mountain Ranch.

Ski the Crust.

Cross-country skiers live for spring—“crust” skiing on icier snow (early morning is best) makes for lightening fast conditions, and forget sticking to your same old routes and loops—you can step off the trails and ski across the snow’s surface wherever you wish. You’ll find great crust skiing at any Colorado Nordic center or ranch.

Take a Spin

Nothing's more fun than fooling around on skates. Bonus: Many of these offer skating for free, just BYO or rent skates. Skaters can find ponds and rinks at Gold Run Nordic in Breckenridge, Snow Mountain Ranch in Tabernash, Crested Butte Nordic.

Slide On a Sled or Tube.

Ski a little, sure, but then let loose with the kids (or your inner child) on a sledding hill.

  • You’ll find tubing at Keystone Nordic, Grand Lake Nordic, and Snow Mountain Ranch.

Hop In a Sleigh.

One-horse-open or otherwise, a sleigh ride is a great end to the day, especially if you’re traveling with kids, grandparents, or non-skiers.

  • You’ll find incredible ride options and offerings at a guest ranch like Latigo Ranch, Home Ranch, or Vista Verde; you can also find sleigh rides at Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Snow Mountain Ranch, and Gold Run Nordic.

Ski Under the Moon.

Crested Butte Nordic is well known for their Full Moon Dinners, where skiers head out in a bright night ski to Magic Meadow Yurt for a five-course meal with music.

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