The Western United States is a hub of winter sports activity, but Nordic skiers from around the world travel here to experience perfect conditions, breathtaking views, and rigorous, varied terrain. Each state has its share of beginner, intermediate, and expert Nordic trails, and many areas offer backcountry exploration opportunities. No matter your ability or adventurousness, there’s a trail for you; if you’re heading out west in search of great cross-country skiing, you won’t be disappointed. Below, we have listed the best places in the Western United States to strap on some skis and explore the wilderness.
Rated one of four top Nordic resorts in North America, Soldier Hollow is one of the most renowned cross-country destinations in the United States. This was the site of the biathlon and Nordic events during the 2002 Winter Olympics, adding an extra special feeling to the 31 kilometers of classic and skating trail and biathlon range. Located in Midway, Utah ad Wasatch Mountain State Park, the facility offers lessons, clinics, rentals, snowshoe trails, a tubing hill, and a lodge. Visitors can choose from both easy-rolling trails or Olympic-level courses, all of which are immaculately groomed. Though not the only Utah skiing opportunity (didn’t know domain for Utah Ski Authority) , Soldier Hollow is certainly the first place to stop.
With over 800 miles of trail, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park is a cross-country skier’s paradise. Located in the heart of Sequoia National Park, this is the perfect place to learn or hone your Nordic skiing skills. More advanced skiers are encouraged to try an overnight Nordic trip; though wilderness permits are required for all overnight trips away from designated campgrounds, this is a unique way to experience one of America’s most beloved forests. Visitors can purchase maps of ski trails online or at any of the visitor centers. Additionally, cross-country skis are available for rent at Wuksachi Lodge. California skiing already has a lot to offer, but there’s nothing like gliding through towering Sequoias.
As New Mexico’s largest full-service cross-country ski area, visitors to Enchanted Forest can experience over thirty kilometers of wide, groomed trails of varying difficulty. There are five dog friendly trails, fifteen kilometers devoted to snowshoes, and terrain for all ability levels. These meandering forest trails are set against the backdrop of stunning mountain vistas, and—though groomed and patrolled—the ski area has a backcountry feel. There are several Yurts to take rests, and this area is located amidst some of the state’s best Alpine skiing—if you’re in the mood to switch it up.
Just sixteen miles from downtown Bozeman, this ski center is set within the serene and spectacular Bridger Mountain Range. All thirty kilometers of trails are impeccably groomed, and they remain open all winter, weaving through both scenic and secluded sections of the wilderness. The Center offers on-site lessons for skiers of all levels, and clinics are held for more intensive, personalized instruction. This is a great place to experience Nordic skiing if you’re in the area to experience the alpine thrills of Bridger Bowl.
Bear Basin offers a trail system operated by the Payette Lakes Ski Club. With around thirty kilometers of groomed trails, these sinuous paths wind their way through the forest. Perfect for Nordic skiers of all levels, these trails are groomed for both skate and classic skiing. The area also offers after school programs, summer events, and lessons for every ability. Their mission is to provide an affordable, accessible, and sustainable winter recreation facility, and that’s exactly what they’ve done. Idaho may be known for its alpine skiing, but they have plenty of Nordic opportunity.
Yellowstone is one of America’s most iconic National Parks, and winter visitors love to take advantage of the incredible Nordic skiing opportunities. Cross-country skiing is allowed on all unplowed roads and trails, and there are several ski trails in the Mammoth, Tower, Old Faithful, Northeast, and Canyon areas of the park. Though Yellowstone may not have the frills of a standard ski resort, there are plenty of beginner and intermediate trails perfect for those just starting out.
One of the Rocky Mountains premier Nordic ski destinations, Frisco is the first place we’d recommend for cross-country skiing in Colorado. The Nordic Center offers 27 kilometers of ski trails and10 kilometers of snowshoe trails. Daily trail passes are $15 for youth and $20 for adults. You can double these prices if you plan on renting skis from the center. Season passes, individual and group lessons, and plenty of events during a season that typically starts sometime in November and is in full swing by the year’s end. Beginner ski hills and tubing are also just steps away…..Find more places and information about skiing in Colorado.