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When It’s Not All Downhill at Colorado Ski Resorts

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When planning a trip to Colorado ski resorts, there’s a very long list of options to consider. But what if you want something other than downhill? Or maybe you’re plotting a big mountain group getaway that includes both downhill skiers and those cross-country types, who would rather spend long hours on Nordic trails than even contemplate a mogul. Well there’s a happy compromise in sight: a handful of Colorado ski resorts that also happen to be in the immediate vicinity of Nordic ski centers. How’s that for slick?

High up on our list is Telluride, Colorado. Though Telluride Ski Resort itself doesn’t offer Nordic skiing, there are six cross-country trails (for a total of over 60 km of trails) in the immediate vicinity managed by the Telluride Nordic Association. You can get any gear you might need from the Nordic Center in Telluride Town Park.

Headed rather Breckenridge way? Hop their Free Ski & Ride Shuttle right to the Breckenridge Nordic Center for access to a very good selection of groomed trails in White River National Forest. In the general vicinity, two other big resort areas also offer noteworthy cross-country options. Keystone Resort has its own nordic center (Keystone Nordic Center) and 16 km of groomed trails; if you don’t mind driving to a trailhead you can tackle an addition 57 km of trail in nearby White River National Forest. Mix it up a little with a Nordic ski lesson, if you’re new to the sport. Similarly, Vail Ski Resort offers educational beginner tours, as well as full day tours for intermediate skiers. But if you already know what’s what and prefer a little solitude, head instead for the Vail Nordic Center where for less than ten bucks you can burn up 17 km of groomed trail.

Should proximity to major urban centers plays any role in your decision-making process, then Eldora Mountain Resort near Boulder might be your pick. Though this resort isn’t the biggest in the state, the Eldora Nordic Center can boast 40 km of trail and it’s only 47 miles from Denver making it the perfect day-trip option.

And finally, to the west, there’s Crested Butte. Though plenty of people come this way to ski the town’s big mountain, it’s the community-run Crested Butte Nordic Center that should catch the attention of XC fans. Check in at their downtown location for gear, lessons and access to a 50 km trail system. So ditch those downhill die-hards and hit the trail already.

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