Photo: The Rowley Homestead, the home site of a hardy family that moved to Grand County from Denver in 1919.  Courtesy of Snow Mountain Ranch


Mother nature has dropped nearly 7 feet of early season snow and it is time to tune up the skis and hit the trails.

If you want to get out and try something different this season we highly recommend Nordic skiing at the YMCA of the Rockies, Snow Mountain Ranch. 

With over 120 kilometers of cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fat biking trails set amongst some of the most beautiful landscape in Colorado, Snow Mountain Ranch is the perfect place for a day of adventure or weekend getaway.  

One of the best parts about Nordic skiing is that it’s an approachable sport for the whole family. Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center has shorter, loop trails for beginners that stick by the lodge so that skiers can get plenty of practice before heading out on tougher terrain with longer loops.

Groomed trails provide the perfect playground for gliding or skating. Snow Mountain Ranch meticulously maintains their trails to give their guests the best experience possible.

One of the best ways to learn to ski and build a community around Nordic skiing is to take a lesson. The Nordic Center offers free programming for the whole family on select weekends throughout the winter, including free guided snowshoe hikes and free Nordic ski lessons for all ages. Trail pass and lesson are both included for free. You can bring your own gear, or rent gear from the Nordic Center.

Classic Nordic skiing technique is the most accessible for beginner skiers. It utilizes a “kick-and-glide” technique with a swinging arm and leg motion to move along the snow. Snow Mountain Ranch offers full package classic ski rentals that are perfect for the “never ever” skier and with a few pointers you will easily master techniques for fun in a matter of minutes.

Some of the trails at Snow Mountain Ranch take you past the Rowley Homestead, the home site of a hardy family that moved to Grand County from Denver in 1919. Today, you can see the restored buildings, including barns, cabins, and some farm equipment they left behind. Restoration of the Rowley Homestead began in 1971 and continue to this day.

The Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic center offers endless views of the surrounding mountains with wide open trails to narrow single track deep in the woods, there’s no better way to enjoy the outdoors!

Some basic Pro Tips can help you have the best day possible on the trail: Stay hydrated. Even though it’s cold, you’ll need to make sure that you don’t overexert yourself without refueling, and Carry an insulated pack to keep your water from freezing with an insulated bladder pack. Don’t forget to stretch before and after your ski to stay limber and avoid unwanted soreness.

Cross-country skiing can be one of the most invigorating and peaceful ways to spend a day in the outdoors in Colorado. The more you practice, the more you’ll feel like skiing is becoming second nature.