When most people picture a winter vacation in Colorado, they conjure up images of racing down the slopes at Aspen. While Colorado is famous for its alpine skiing, there’s more than enough for cross country skiers to enjoy, too. With over 60 miles of free groom tracked skiing, Aspen and Snowmass have some of the best cross country skiing in the world.
Many places around town will happily rent you cross country skis or give you lessons, but there are two primary locations for rentals, lessons, and tours.
Snowmass Cross Country Center (0446 Clubhouse Drive, Snowmass – Tel: 970.923.5700) has been providing visitors with cross country ski rentals, lessons, and tours for nine consecutive seasons. Owned and operated by the experts at Ute Mountaineer, the Snowmass Cross Country Center features several paths that travel up Snowmass Mountain to the Aspen Cross Country Center on the Aspen Golf Course. Ute offers full-day rentals for classic, backcountry, and skating skis; packages include skis, boots, and poles. For those new to the sport, Ute has both private and group lessons taught by experts.
Aspen Cross Country Center (Aspen Golf Course, Hwy 82, Aspen – Tel: 970.923.5700) has been run by Ute Mountaineer for over 25 years. The experienced Ute team provides visitors with the same great services found at the Snowmass Cross Country Center: convenient rentals, private or group lessons, and a variety of tours. Whether your join up with a group or venture out for some solo skiing, you’ll be treated to over 60 kilometers of free trails.
If you’re ready for adventure, Ute Mountaineer has a variety of tour packages that cater to skiers of all abilities. Aspen Cross Country Center and the Snowmass Cross Country Center feature almost identical tours. Here are a few of our tried and true favorites.
North Star (Beginner): A 2-hour tour through the meadows of Roaring Fork Valley. Perfect for those who are still learning the art of Nordic skiing.
Owl Creek (Intermediate): A 3-hour tour through Owl Creek. Ute Mountaineer recommends this tour for skiers who want to practice uphill and downhill techniques.
Fitness Tours (All levels): These full-day and half-day tours are completely customized for your level of ability, but we recommend them for experts looking for a challenge.
When you’ve finished skiing, don’t forget to stop by the ski center lodge from snacks, hot drinks, and lots of cross country skiing videos and reading material. You can even do a little shopping: the centers sell clothing and gear for all seasons.
For those willing to travel outside of Aspen and Snowmass, Ashcroft Ski Touring (11399 Castle Creek Rd, Aspen – Tel: 970.925.1971) also has rentals, lessons, and guided tours. Just 30 minutes outside of Aspen, the company operates out of King Cabin at the end of Castle Creek Road. Visitors will find fewer people and less crowded runs.
To learn more about cross country skiing in Aspen/Snowmass, have a look at the Nordic Trail maps. Don’t forget to check in with the Nordic Hotline (970) 429-2039 for up to the minute ski conditions.