Whether you’re looking for a new experience on your ski trip, to get some cardio exercise or something for your non-alpine skiing travel companions to do, cross country—or Nordic—skiing is an alluring outdoor winter activity. It’s also a great way to take in the quieter side of Ski Country.
With origins as far back as 4000 BC in Scandinavia, as a means of travel, cross-country skiing has evolved into an Olympic sport and features two styles: skate skiing and classic. Generally, classic cross-country skiing is considered to be more beginner friendly.
To help you enjoy this time-tested winter sport during your ski vacation, we comprised a list—in no particular order—of U.S. ski resorts with the best cross-country skiing.
1. Whiteface Resort | Lake Placid, NY
With four cross-country ski centers and more than 100 miles of trails weaving over lakes and through the spectacular Adirondacks, the Lake Placid area will satisfy a range of cross-country skiers from experts to beginners. Rentals are available.
Photo: Lake Placid ADK
2. Trapp Family Lodge | Stowe, VT
Boasting the title of the first cross-country ski center in the U.S., the Trapp Family Lodge offers 37 miles of groomed trails and 62 miles of backcountry trails suitable for all ages and abilities. The onsite Nordic Center carries rental and retail products. Be sure to make the trip to Slayton Pasture Cabin for a bout in front of the cozy fireplace, and replenish with homemade soup, sandwiches and hot chocolate.
Photo: Trapp Family Lodge
3. Devil’s Thumb Ranch | Winter Park, CO
Offering 68 miles of groomed trails, Devil’s Thumb Ranch, which is open to the public and just a quick 20-minute drive from Winter Park, has become one of America’s most sought-after cross-country experiences. Lessons and rentals are available, and trail passes are required.
Photo: Devil’s Thumb Ranch
4. Crested Butte Nordic | Crested Butte, CO
Crested Butte Nordic maintains 34 miles of immaculately groomed trails around the Town of Crested Butte and up Slate River Road. Private lessons, clinics and tours, as well as fine yurt dining, are available. Trail passes are required, too.
Photo: Crested Butte Nordic
5. Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council | Aspen, CO
Boasting about 60 miles of cross country ski trails, Aspen Snowmass has one of the largest free groomed Nordic ski systems in North America. The trails run between Aspen, Snowmass and Basalt. Beginners through advanced skiers have a nice mix of options.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass Nordic Council
6. McCoy Park | Avon, CO
McCoy Park, which is accessed via Beaver Creek’s Strawberry Park chairlift, features 20 miles of groomed and rustic trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The Nordic Sports Center offers retail products and snacks, as well as classic, skate, telemark and snowshoe rentals. Private lessons and tours are available. Lift tickets are required. The EPIC pass is valid for McCoy Park access.
7. Jackson Hole, WY
Boasting several scenic trail systems, Jackson Hole is a well-kept cross-country skiing secret. The Teton Pines Cross Country Ski Center, is located four miles from Teton Village and features 10 miles of well-maintained trails. Teton Village’s Shooting Star Nordic Track also offers a nine-mile trail that winds through varied terrain, providing the opportunity to see moose, deer, coyotes, eagles and more.
Photo: Teton Pines Country Club
8. Lone Mountain Ranch | Big Sky, MT
Voted the “No.1 Nordic Ski Resort in North America” by Cross Country Skier magazine, Lone Mountain Ranch is just six miles from the Big Sky Resort base area and offers 53 miles of varied cross-country trails. For a true challenge, don’t miss the the 10-mile Siberia Trail, which features heart-pumping climbs, rolling slopes and numerous areas to enjoy a picnic lunch. Trail passes required; rentals available.
Photo: Lone Mountain Ranch
9. Sun Valley, ID
Featuring 25 miles of cross-country trails, Sun Valley has a perfect range of well-maintained cross-country routes for all ages and ability levels. It’s possible to cross-country ski on either side of Sun Valley Road and enjoy different vantage points of the valley. Trail pass are required. Nordic and snowshoe rentals are available in the Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center, located in the Sun Valley Club, which is approximately one mile east of the Sun Valley Lodge.
Photo: Sun Valley
10. Sundance, UT
Located just an hour south of Salt Lake City, the Robert Redford-owned Sundance Mountain Resort provides world-class alpine skiing, art, culture, dining and exceptional cross-country skiing. A full nine miles of daily groomed, dedicated trails are available for skating and classic skiing. Snowshoers have access to a separate six miles of gladed trails. The full-service Nordic Center provides rentals and new demo equipment for all ages and abilities. Coaching sessions for all levels are available daily.
Photo: Sundance Mountain Resort
11. Soldier Hollow | Park City, UT
Located 30 minutes from Park City in the Wasatch Mountain State Park, Soldier Hollow, the former 2002 Olympic cross country skiing and winter biathlon venue, features 19-plus miles of well-preserved skate and classic trails. After taking a safety and instruction course, you can even take aim at the biathlon range with a 22-caliber Olympic rife. The onsite rental shop features a Rossignol demo center.
Photo: Soldier Hollow Cross Country Skiing Resort
12. Royal Gorge | Sugar Bowl, CA
Offering a staggering 124 miles of cross-country track, the Royal Gorge includes six trail systems that wind through the town of Soda Springs, atop Donner Pass and to Sugar Bowl ski resort. Nine warming hut are spread throughout the expansive route. Trail passes are required, and rentals and lessons for all abilities are available.
Photo: Royal Gorge
13. Kirkwood, CA
Located about a half mile from the ski resort, Kirkwood’s 50 miles of interconnected, groomed trails offer stunning Sierra Nevada views and a perfect variety of terrain for all Nordic skiing abilities. Dogs are allowed on two trails, the High Trail and Outer Loop. Lessons in both classic and skate are available, and ski, skate ski and snowshoe rentals are onsite. Trail passes are required.
14. Mt. Bachelor, OR
Lasting from mid-November to mid-May, Mt. Bachelor has one of the longest cross-country ski seasons in North America and boasts 35 miles of daily machine-groomed trails. Trail passes required.
Photo: Mt. Bachelor
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Director of SEO + Content
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.