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Summer Nordic Cross Training: Bike Where You Ski

Keep your legs strong, and your lungs fit with these Colorado Mountain biking destinations.

Tips & Ideas Wednesday, August 10, 2022

For Nordic skiers, holding onto winter fitness levels can be challenging. Heading to the mountains for a day of biking is an ideal way to cross train, especially in the mid-summer heat. Plus, cycling ticks plenty of training boxes, working to support VO2 max and keep legs strong. 

You’ll want to make sure you supplement summer riding with upper body strength training or roller skiing sessions (adding a double-polling workout will keep your core, arms and shoulders rocking). 

Whether you’re partial to road, mountain, or downhill biking, check out these great options at some of our favorite Nordic destinations.

Winter Park, Co: Mountain Biking

Book a stay at Snow Mountain Ranch or Devil’s Thumb Ranch and mountain bike out your front door. If you want more variety, recent trail work in the Winter Park area has resulted in new flowy trails and friendlier riding on formerly technical or gnarly trails. Check out the new and improved Phases in nearby Tabernash—still plenty of climbing, but less technical and more flow. Tipperary always offers a monster climb through aspens and wildflowers and a super-fun downhill payoff. And while riders flock to the national forest, in-the-know locals hit the pleasantly rolling trails of Rendezvous, which link up to the Idlewild trails—Ditch is family-friendly, and Broken Thumb will make you work but smile. 

Frisco: Road Biking

Dedicated roadies flock here for the legendary Copper Triangle, a classic 79 mile loop with 5,900 feet of climbing, including Fremont Pass (elevation 11,318'), Tennessee Pass (elevation 10,424') and Vail Pass (elevation 10,666').This advanced ride is a locals’ favorite and the views and surroundings make it worth the suffering.

For a mellower ride, the Summit County Recreational Pathway System offers 55 miles of rec paths winding through Frisco, Silverthorne, Dillon, and Keystone Resort. You’ll find 12 miles of paved pathways within town limits in Frisco, or opt for the Upper Blue route that connects Frisco to Breckenridge. 

There are several great lodging options in the towns of Frisco, Breckenridge, or Keystone. 

Crested Butte: Mountain Biking 

Hit the beloved Lupine Trail for an easy-access beginner/intermediate ride. In July, the trail is surrounded by its namesake lupine flowers and is likely to be filled with locals squeezing in a ride before work. Climbs are humane, and descents are fast with plenty of berms to engage your balance and upper body. 

Vail: Mountain 

Check out the North Trail, with trailheads accessible on North Frontage Road. You can ride from Davos Road to Straddle creek as an out and back through shady aspens flanked by views of the Gore Range and Holy Cross. 

Aspen/Snowmass: Mountain/Downhill

Downhill riding is great for core, balance, and upper-body strength. The new Meadows Skills Park at Aspen Snowmass offers a low-stress intro to skills park terrain, featuring easy-to-handle rollers, jumps, and berms at short distances. Bonus: The Roaring Fork Valley is designated a gold-level IMBA ride center—the only one in the state and only one of seven in the world. Designated ride centers feature extensive trail networks designed for mountain bikers of every skill level and built by professional trail builders and local volunteers.

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