Don’t let summery Front Range temps lure you away — the best Colorado cross-country skiing of the season is on, and you’re missing it.
Here’s an insider tip from mountain locals, as the Nordic crowds start to slow down: We can never understand why you’re not here skiing right now. March and into April makes for some of the best Nordic skiing of the season. Think bluebird skies. Balmy temps. Fast snow. Long days.
Here’s what you need to know to enjoy some of your best days of the ski year.
There’s (Still) Snow
The Colorado statewide average snowpack this year? A whopping 147 percent of normal as of February 1. And we’ve hit that mark only three times in 40 years. That means that despite warming temps, well-maintained trails are still holding steady. Still worried about coverage? Head to the trees or up high—for example, Snow Mountain Ranch’s Blue Ridge remains skiable well into late spring, and Beaver Creek’s lift-serviced trails are high-altitude hold-outs. Or head for the treed trails at any resort and it's a world of difference.
Sure, the Spring Break visitors are out in force, but let’s face it, most aren’t clogging the intermediate-plus trails at your Nordic resorts, ranches and centers. Many serious skiers tend to drop off in March—after all, the race season is over and they’re off to their next adventure in cross training (hello, road biking). Their loss!
Spring skiing truism: when it’s good, it’s very, very good. If you’re a skater, this is your golden hour, particularly in the earlier mornings from about 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. when there’s an icy edge to trails and conditions are super-fast.
Tired of the same route you’ve been pounding out since December? No excuses — as of this week, the crust is firm and skiable in most locations. Crust skiing is a great way to goof off, explore, mix up your workout, and enjoy amazing scenery—just step off the trail and float over the landscape, between trees, step over tip tops of fences... Check with Nordic staff and instructors about conditions before you head out, but most crust is at its peak before noon. Hint: Exploring on crust is a fun way to get kids excited about Nordic skiing.
Skating may be the obvious choice for spring’s warmer, wetter conditions, but when the morning’s icy crust softens, there’s a period of creamy corn snow that’s great for gliding on classic skis. Bonus: Corn is very forgiving, and great for playing in and practicing turns.
There's a Wax For That
With all those changing temps, you need to have a wax strategy. Be sure to ask Nordic staff for up-to-the-minute snow temps and wax picks. Swix rep Igor Guziur shares these waxing tips for Spring:
- Use Molybdenum wax as a base layer, or as a mix with other waxes. It will keep the dirt away. Molybdenum is also good for morning/evening icy conditions.
- If the snow is frozen and tracks are icy, use Swix ice klister
- If it did not freeze over night, try Swix K22 with KR 50 or 60 is a great mix or Rode Multigrade-6+6 Celsius.
- Don't forget your klister kick zone is way shorter than your kick zone for hardwax. Not sure how to measure it? Ask your local shop.
There's a Skin For That
Don’t want to mess with klister? Skin skis are also great way to go. Skins are made of mohair or mohair/nylon mix and work pretty much in any Spring conditions, the wetter the snow the better they work. Affordable versions are the Fischer Pro, Madshus Terrasonic. Avid skiers might like Fischer Race, Rossignol R-Skin.