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7 Spots to Go Nordic Skiing This Winter

Embrace the skinny ski life.

By: Sara Sheehy + Save to a List

When it comes to winter sports, there are few as versatile as Nordic skiing.

Nordic skiing can be a relaxing cruise through the woods, a lung-busting workout that has your legs begging for mercy, or a family-friendly glide that leaves everyone breathless with laughter. And, all of those can be done on the same trail, at the same time. 

This winter, click into a pair of 'skinny skis' and head for the hills. Here are a few of our favorite places to kick, push, and glide in the United States.

American Birkebeiner, Wisconsin

The American Birkebeiner is a 50 and 55-kilometer ski race that has been held in Wisconsin every year since 1932. Modeled after the Birkebeiner Rennet in Norway, this is one of the oldest Nordic races in the United States.

You don't have to race the 'Birkie,' as it's known, to enjoy this beautiful course. The Birkie Trail system has over 100 kilometers of trails that are groomed daily for classic and skate skiing. This is an out-and-back trail with the slope climbing from north to south.

Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont

Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont has everything you need for a day of nordic skiing. The Cross Country Center's warming hut is the epicenter of their 45-kilometer trail system. Stop in for a trail map, trail pass, rentals (if you need them), and suggestions on what is skiing the best that day. There are even lift-serviced Nordic trails!

If you exhaust the possibilities at Stowe, the nearby Trapp Family Lodge has an additional 100 kilometers of cross country, snowshoe, and backcountry skiing trails.

Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid, New York, has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, so you know they have their Nordic offerings dialed in. Take the Olympic Cross Country ski trails at Whiteface, for example. The Mt. Van Hoevenberg 50-kilometer trail system cruises over rolling hills and through dense Adirondack woods, along with a rare Nordic Terrain Park.

Ski into Josie's Cabin for a meal and hot beverages, and warm up by the two outdoor fire rings. If you're new to Nordic, Whiteface also offers group and private lessons.

Devil's Thumb Ranch, Colorado

The Devil's Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, Colorado, was named the #1 Cross-Country Ski Resort in North America by the USA Today 10Best Readers' Choice Awards. It offers 120 kilometers of trails that criss-cross this private ranch at the base of the Continental Divide. 

You don't have to be staying at the ranch to enjoy the trails; day passes and ski rentals are available on-site. There are also group and private lessons and fat bike trails.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

It's hard to beat the scenery while skiing through Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The Teton Park Road, which winds through the national park, is closed to vehicles in the winter. Instead of letting it just sit there, buried in snow, the park grooms the road for classic and skate skiing.

Cross-country ski rental shops and tour guides can be found in nearby Jackson Hole.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley, Idaho, has over 200 kilometers of some of the best Nordic skiing in the country. Ski alongside Olympic athletes as they train (or, at least, wave at them as they speed by) while you enjoy challenging trails and great views. 

Base yourself out of Galena Lodge, a community-owned ski lodge nestled in the Boulder Mountains, for access to diverse trails, rentals, lessons, and some of the best lunch in town. 

Methow, Washington

The Methow Trails in Winthrop, Washington, is a non-profit trail system that has over 120 kilometers of groomed ski trails. It's recognized as one of the finest Nordic areas in the country and is an easy 3.5-hour drive from Seattle. 

The trails are groomed for classic and skate skiing, and a portion of them are dog-friendly, too.

Cover photo of Sun Valley, Idaho, by Sara Sheehy

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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