Cross-country skiing offers an intimate way to explore the breathtaking beauty of North America during the winter months. Whether you're a novice or an expert with your best crossbody bags for travel over your shoulders, the expansive landscapes provide countless opportunities for memorable adventures on skinny skis. Here's a compilation of the best cross-country ski trips to consider for 2024.
1. Methow Valley, Washington
Located on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains, Methow Valley boasts one of the largest cross-country ski trail systems in North America. With over 120 miles of groomed trails, it caters to all skill levels. Routes meander through pine forests, open meadows, and offer vistas of the rugged Cascades. The nearby town of Winthrop adds charm with its Old West ambiance and cozy accommodations.
2. Royal Gorge, California
Royal Gorge is recognized as North America’s largest cross-country ski resort. Situated within the Sierra Nevada, the resort presents over 6,000 acres of terrain. Skiers can revel in the sight of the sparkling Lake Van Norden or glide alongside the serene Yuba River. Elevations range from 5,800 to 7,400 feet, giving enthusiasts a genuine mountain experience.
3. Canmore Nordic Centre, Alberta
Originally developed for the 1988 Winter Olympics, the Canmore Nordic Centre is an elite facility for cross-country skiing. Located in the majestic Rocky Mountains, it offers over 65 kilometers of trails suitable for both classic and skate skiing. Apart from the well-maintained trails, skiers can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding peaks.
4. Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont
The hills are alive with the sound of skis in Stowe, Vermont. Owned by the family that inspired “The Sound of Music,” the Trapp Family Lodge offers a European-style cross-country experience. With more than 60 miles of groomed trails and backcountry routes, skiers can explore the scenic beauty of the Green Mountains while enjoying world-class amenities at the lodge.
5. Gatineau Park, Quebec
Only a short drive from Ottawa, Gatineau Park showcases over 200 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. The trails are spread across varying degrees of difficulty, making it an ideal destination for families and experts alike. Majestic landscapes, frozen lakes, and the occasional wildlife sighting make skiing here a truly Canadian experience.
6. Mount Bachelor Nordic Center, Oregon
Tucked within the Deschutes National Forest, Mount Bachelor offers one of the premier Nordic experiences in the Pacific Northwest. With a vast network of 56 kilometers of groomed trails, it provides diverse terrain suitable for all levels. The high elevation and consistent snowfall ensure a prolonged ski season.
7. Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre, British Columbia
Sovereign Lake, paired with SilverStar Mountain Resort, creates one of the most expansive linked trail systems in Canada. With over 100 kilometers of daily groomed trails, it's a cross-country paradise. The region receives abundant snow, ensuring fantastic skiing conditions through the winter.
8. Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Vermont
Rooted in sustainability, Craftsbury Outdoor Center is a gem in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. It emphasizes a community-centric approach, fostering an inclusive environment for all skiers. The Center offers over 100 kilometers of trails winding through hardwood forests and alongside serene water bodies.
9. Rendezvous Ski Trails, Montana
Situated adjacent to West Yellowstone, the Rendezvous Ski Trails provide a unique opportunity to ski at the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park. The trail system, featuring over 35 kilometers, is impeccably groomed and caters to skiers of all abilities. The region's robust snowfall and cold temperatures ensure great skiing conditions throughout the season.
10. Lapland Lake Nordic Vacation Center, New York
Inspired by Finnish traditions, Lapland Lake offers a unique Adirondack experience. It presents over 50 kilometers of trails set in a tranquil forested environment. After a day of skiing, guests can enjoy authentic Finnish saunas and cozy up in tupas (cottages).
Each of these destinations brings its unique flavor to the cross-country skiing experience. Whether you seek mountainous terrains, serene lakes, or lush forests, North America's diverse landscapes offer something for every Nordic enthusiast. Ensure you check individual resort protocols and travel advisories before setting out, as guidelines and conditions may change. Happy skiing in 2024!