For true skiing connoisseurs, cross-country skiing is where it is at. Downhill skiing might be a little more glamorous, more flashy, and make for the best GoPro videos, but nothing can beat the glorious joy and aerobic challenge of cross-country skiing.
A far cry from the gravity-assisted ease of downhill skiing, your first attempt at strapping on cross-country skis might leave you baffled at the physics-defying skills required. But with a little perseverance (and a lot of perspiration) you’ll soon get into your stride, and suddenly a whole world of undiscovered trails and glorious, snow-covered treks (not to mention some of the best panoramic views in the world) will open up before you.
If the idea of trying a different form of skiing this winter appeals, or you are looking for a new challenge, check out the top 10 cross country ski resorts in North America and discover this awesome sport for yourself.
Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa
Colorado boasts a significant number of the best cross-country skiing resorts in the US, and Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa sits right on top of the pile.
The resort boasts over forty miles of glorious routes right through the Rocky Mountains, while the ranch and spa ensure that after a tough day of trekking you can rest and relax to your heart’s content, with hot tubs and fantastic dining options to seal the deal.
Craftsbury Outdoor Center
With over 50 miles of magnificent trails through field and forest by the shores of Big Hosmer Pond in Vermont, Craftsbury Outdoor Center is a pretty special place for cross-country skiers. Home to the largest ski marathon on the East Coast, Craftsbury is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting cross-country skiing, and has a wonderful focus on sustainability and environmentalism which adds to the lovely atmosphere. Lodging here is a great option, with luxury options and lakeside cottages available, as well as saunas and a fitness room available.
Just a short drive from Quebec, Mont-Sainte-Anne Cross Country Ski Center is one of the best spots in Canada to get off-piste (literally) and try your hand at cross-country skiing. With over 110 miles of trails (and a 100 mile network for skating stride) it is one of the biggest cross-country ski resorts on the continent. Set amongst the gorgeous landscape of the Laurentia Forest, every trail is a picturesque ride from shelter to shelter, cabin to cabin, and gorgeous viewpoint to gorgeous viewpoint.
Silver Star Mountain Resort
Just across the US/Canada border, Silver Star Mountain Resort is a genuine cross-country skiing treat. Over 35 miles of trails (and access to the extra 30 miles at Sovereign Lake Nordic Center), there’s always a new stretch of snow to discover, and it’s a great place to dip your toe into the exciting world of cross country skiing.
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Sun Mountain Lodge
Washington State boasts some of the most outstanding scenery in North America, which makes it the perfect setting for a cross-country skiing resort. As a result, Sun Mountain Lodge is one of the best places around to try Nordic skiing, and offers an outstanding network of trails with diverse terrain, as well as great facilities to match.
Lone Mountain Ranch
Over 50 miles of Big Sky trails make up Lone Mountain Ranch, which is almost always in the conversation when it comes to discussing the best cross-country skiing resorts in the United States. A fantastic all-rounder, the resort offers trails for every level, from newbies just starting out to grizzled veterans. With a backdrop of deep pine forest and rugged mountain peaks, it is the perfect spot to get to grips with Nordic skiing.
Snow Mountain Ranch
Another awesome spot in Colorado about 85 miles west of Boulder, Snow Mountain Ranch boasts 75 miles of excellent cross-country trails through picturesque woods and along pretty mountain riverbanks. One of the best parts of Snow Mountain is the abundance of wildlife here – there’s a decent chance you’ll be sharing the trails with moose or elk!
Bretton Woods Nordic Center
The 2,000 acres of countryside that make up Bretton Woods Nordic Center are open from November to March, and are a great option if you want to sneak a bit of skiing in before you leave New York on a cruise.
With around 62 miles of trails that wind their way through the White Mountain National Forest, this is one of the most beautiful Nordic skiing destinations around.
Set in the heart of the Laurentians, Mont Tremblant is another fantastic cross-country skiing option in Quebec, just northeast of Montreal. The resort is year-round, although the ski routes are usually only available in the winter season. One of the best features of Mont Tremblant is that the cross-country ski trails all connect up with other trails in neighboring towns, making multi-day treks a real possibility.
Trapp Family Lodge
Claiming to be the first cross-country ski resort in the US, the Trapp Family Lodge is one of the most elegant and sophisticated Nordic skiing destinations you are likely to find. The trails are beautiful, of course, but the icing on the cake is the delightfully Austrian-inspired setting of the lodge itself, which makes a wonderful place to wind down after a tough day skiing!