Nordic Skiing - Ski Season 12/13
By Christina Freeman
Groomed trails abound throughout the Yampa Valley. www.bigstock.com
A century ago, Steamboat Springs’ residents skied for daily transportation, strapping long, hand-carved wooden boards to their laced-up leather boots. Now you can skate ski or classic glide over hundreds of groomed kilometers around the Yampa Valley just for the fun of it. Here are a few places to see why Steamboat Springs boasts a famous Nordic tradition.
Steamboat Ski Touring Center
Fifteen kilometers of groomed cross country trails for all ability levels wind through aspen glades and along Fish Creek. Tours and lessons are offered for classic cross country, skate skiing and backcountry, plus masters’ and lunch hour clinics. All-day passes are $18 for adults, and $12 for kids 12 and under and seniors 65 and over.
970-879-8180 | www.steamboatnordiccenter.com
Ski like an Olympian on this 21k-trail system. The city-owned park has hosted Nordic Combined World Cup races and other high-level competitions and offers some of the most challenging Nordic trails in the area. The $10 Nordic ticket accesses everything but the lifts.
970-871-7084 | www.steamboatsprings.net
Flat and gently rolling terrain around Lake Catamount provides 30k of easy to moderate skiing. The $18 day pass lets skiers enjoy expansive views of the valley surrounding this private development. Skate and classic ski rentals are available and lessons are offered.
970-871-6667 | www.catamountranchclub.com
Steamboat Lake State Park
An easy 26-mile drive north brings you to 15k of groomed beginner and intermediate trails surrounding Steamboat Lake below towering Hahn’s Peak. There is no trail fee, but Colorado State Parks vehicle passes are required ($7 daily fee). No rentals. Make sure to bring your gear from Steamboat.
970-879-3922 | www.parks.state.co.us
Rabbit Ears and Buffalo Passes
These backcountry trails are marked but not groomed. See the Outdoor guide starting on VG70, and stop by the Routt National Forest office for detailed topo maps before you go.
Want to know more about the area’s Nordic ski centers and all the local races?
Steamboat Springs Nordic Council | www.steamboatxcski.org
New to Nordic? Gear up to tour.
Here’s what you’ll need.
Nordic equipment: Choose classic, skate or backcountry skis, boots and poles. Rely on the experts at local ski shops to purchase or rent equipment that is appropriate for its use and is the correct sizes – and make sure they know your trail destination.
Clothing: Layers that wick away moisture are best. A waterproof jacket and pants will keep you warm and dry. Proper socks will prevent blisters. Hat, gloves and sunglasses are necessary, and goggles will help with visibility on snowy days.
Other: Map, sunscreen, water and snacks. Cell phones can save lives, but reception is spotty in remote areas.