End of the season got you dragging your poles? Here’s a spring X-C reboot.
Embrace the fun mindset. Hey, race season is over, you’ve got nothing left to track, train for or prove—why not kick it? Ski with your kids, or your dog, or your newbie friend, with no agenda. If you usually skate, classic. Ski to a destination, like a lookout or summit, and stop for light picnic. Another fun infusion? Catch the last of CCCSA’s fun series, a lineup of deliberately low-key events with costumes, freebies, demos, the works.
- Think small. Nordic and downhill skiing usually share the same territory—and that can be an obstacle during busy spring-break season. Want some peace and quiet? Smaller centers, such as Gold Run, Grand Lake Nordic or Vail Nordic Center, are super chill and off the radar of most tourists. These golf courses-turned-Nordic paradises also feature family-friendly terrain—think lots of intersecting trails and rolling flats. (Not to mention a club house and bar).
- Get gone. You won’t find crowds of downhillers in an out-there yurt at Leadville’s Tennessee Pass or cabin at Powderhorn Cabins. Want to go big? Peel off instead and head to a guest ranch for all-inclusive luxury paired with your trails. Talk about ski in, ski out...
- Wax right. Not all of us are diligent wax nerds, so now’s a good time to check in with the pros. If you haven’t been out in a while, get a good base cleaning and fresh wax job for the conditions. And speaking of, you’ll need to pay attention: old snow, sunny days, cold nights, all can make for unpredictable conditions, so get intel from the diehards to ensure you’re flying down the trails on the right wax.
- Step out. We can’t say enough about it (and we’ve tried!): If you’ve never tried crust skiing, you’re seriously missing out. In the spring, warm days and cold nights create a freeze/thaw cycle that sets a firm crust on the snow’s surface. Step off the trail and onto the ungroomed surface of spring snow, and you’re free to cruise among willows, between trees, across meadows where no trail has gone before—but just for a little while. Peak crust skiing tends to be in the morning, before 11 a.m.; after that, it’ll thaw too much and you’ll sink. But time it right and you’ll find sweet (and speedy) freedom.