Cross-country skiing (also known as Nordic skiing) is a fun, low-impact way to enjoy Colorado’s snowy months, and our Compass Boulder real estate agents love it! It’s easy to learn- if you can walk you can cross-country ski! But that doesn’t mean it’s not strenuous. Most cross-country skiers burn up to 600 calories per hour. And while you’re burning those calories, you get to glide over ice crystals and through snowy forests and meadows. Kids welcome the opportunity to romp in fresh powder and many talented skiers are in their ’60s. If you develop a love for this sport, you will have a hobby for a lifetime.
North Boulder Park
Distance from downtown Boulder: 1 mile
After heavy snowfall in town, the Boulder Nordic Club grooms a track in North Boulder Park. The biggest perk of this spot is its convenience (it’s only a mile north of Pearl Street!) so it’s easy to fit in a ski session on a busy day. The park is well-lit so you can enjoy skiing on snowy, starry nights. The track is mostly flat but still provides a great winter workout. Feel free to bring your pup to trot alongside you.
Meyers Homestead Trail at Walker Ranch
Distance from downtown Boulder: 5.3 miles.
This trail is a popular trail-running destination in the summertime. In winter, many wildflowers are covered with a blanket of snow. This trail should be a destination for intermediate-level skiers, as you’ll face some uphill challenges on your trek. But the wide track and scenic views make it a worthy challenge.
Distance from downtown Boulder: 6.6 miles
Betasso Preserve is a great place to experience a variety of ecosystems. During your trek, you will transition between plains, mountains, and foothills biomes. These trails are ungroomed and tend to be short and steep. They’ll be challenging for any skier, but the rewards are bountiful.
Heil Valley Ranch
Distance from downtown Boulder: 10.4 miles.
The Heil Valley Ranch Trailhead gives access to 8 different short trailheads to explore. These trails are ungroomed and best fitted for an experienced nordic skier. But if you can handle ungroomed terrain, you may not find these so difficult. The trails are short and range between easy and moderate elevation gain. Connect the trails together for a longer adventure.
Distance from downtown Boulder: 14 miles
Hordes of skiers pass through Nederland to reach the popular Eldora Ski Resort, unaware that a quiet Nordic ski retreat lives nearby. Caribou Ranch is a serene spot with an easy track. The 4.5-mile loop dips past historic homesteading sites and views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The short loop makes it ideal for a quick wintery outing without much commitment. When you’re finished with your workout, the Compass realtors here at Burgess Group highly recommend stopping in Nederland for a warm meal before heading back downtown.
Distance from downtown Boulder: 17.4 miles
Mud Lake Mountain Park is an excellent beginner training ground for cross-country skiing. You will explore the area on a figure-8-style loop that dips around the alpine lake. You’ll pass by several overlooks on your adventure that provide distant views of the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Distance from downtown Boulder: 20.1 miles
Moffat Road was initially built for train tracks. The route would connect Boulder to Winter Park. The project was abandoned nearly 100 years ago, but the terrain remains leveled. It’s a great place for cross-country skiers who don’t mind ungroomed tracks. Be aware that you’ll be sharing the space with snowmobilers and snowshoers, but crowds will thin out as you ascend past the first few miles. It’s 9 miles to the top of the road. You don’t have to make it to the top to enjoy the experience, but anyone who does will be rewarded with an incredible view of sparkling alpine lakes. On your descent, you can expect some gentle downhill skiing.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch
Distance from downtown Boulder: 29.9 miles.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch is a Nordic ski mecca. It’s won the title of #1 cross-country ski resort in America by USA Today four years in a row. There are over 77 miles of expertly groomed trails that welcome skiers, snowshoers, and fat tire bikers. The valley is flat but completely encompassed by towering mountains. Trails pass by icy rivers and lakes that shimmer like crystals in the afternoon sun. The ranch is privately owned and never gets too crowded. The landscape is a winter wonderland with views of the Gore Range Peaks to the west. The ranch is an easy day trip from downtown Boulder, but it also makes an exceptional weekend getaway. Our Boulder realtor team suggests booking an overnight stay in the lodge and spa. Nothing is better after a day in the snow than a hot soak in a hot tub.
Frisco Nordic Center
Distance from downtown Boulder: 52.2 miles
This expansive nordic center has 15 kilometers of groomed trails. It is situated on the Lake Dillon peninsula and surrounded by stunning snow-capped mountains. The quality of these trails makes it a popular training ground for the University of Denver ski team.