Hidden Gems for Nordic Skiers
With a torrent of people hitting the trails and the outdoors across the country, XCSkiResorts.com wanted to give a shout out to hidden gem destinations for cross country (XC) skiing this winter. There may very well be an overflow of skiers at the most popular XC ski trails, so this guide will share some of the lesser-known but excellent destinations.
In the east, the Woodstock Nordic Center offers more than 45 km of skiing right in the town of Woodstock, VT on two trail systems. The Mt. Peg trails begin on the golf course at the Woodstock Country Club and climb to the summit overlooking the village below. On nearby Mt. Tom, the Center grooms more than 20 km of trails on old carriage roads in the midst of Vermont's first tree farm and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The Woodstock Inn & Resort, which operates the Nordic Center is a 142 room AAA Four Diamond Resort in the heart of Woodstock, a town that is the quintessential New England town with a wonderful collection of restaurants and shops.
Lapland Lake XC Ski & Vacation Center in Northville, NY features a touch of Finland in the Adirondacks from the food and the resident reindeer to the Finnish woodburning sauna and children's games. They’ve got 38 km groomed for classic and skate skiing and 12 km of mapped snowshoe trails. The resort is located adjacent to the famed 133-mile Northville-Lake Placid Trail for limitless wilderness ski and snowshoe opportunities. Known for its courteous staff, this year-round family resort features a two-story warming lodge with a wax room, restrooms, changing room, and shower along snack bar, and eleven housekeeping cottages known as "tupas" that have fully equipped kitchens, living room, up to 4 bedrooms, electric heat, woodstoves, and a bath with showers.
XC ski destinations in the central regions include Cross Country Ski Headquarters in Roscommon, MI which is a leading XC ski outfitter and ski area in the Higgins Lake area. Since 1974 this has been a premier destination for XC skiing in Midwest in the heart of Michigan, with 19 km of trails groomed for classic and skate skiing for skiers of all abilities and there are also miles of trails all around the region. The Cross Country Ski HQ is known for its friendly and experienced staff and retail operation. Trails are groomed for classic and skate skiing characterized as 10% hilly, 50% moderate, and 40% flat.
It has 70 km groomed trails for classic skiing and 60 percent of the trails are groomed for skating in the Superior National Forest. The Baumann family owns the Golden Eagle Lodge, and they are the only residents on the lake, welcoming skiers to enjoy 120 inches of snow annually and the tranquility and solitude of the surrounding ancient forests. The lodge is also amidst the Gunflint Trail 100-mile system, which is a mecca for Midwestern cross country skiers.
Further west is XC skiers can visit Enchanted Forest XC Ski & Snowshoe Area in Red River, NM, which has 33 km of trails groomed for classic and skate skiing, 15 km for snowshoeing, and 5 km that allow dogs. Enchanted Forest is known for the entertaining events and the great scenic views with 500 acres of ancient forests, aspen groves, and sweeping meadows in the Carson National Forest (that's Kit Carson for you history buffs) There’s a day lodge at the base area for a snack and the Midway warming yurt and three rental yurts are available for overnight winter accommodations.
Methow Trails is located in north-central Washington just below the Canadian border and anchored by the towns of Winthrop, Mazama, and Twisp. It has more than 220 km (136 miles) of perfectly groomed skate and classic ski trails. Kids 17 and under ski free every day in the Methow Valley. Many of the trails also welcome fat bikers, snowshoes, and dogs. Methow Trails is a non-profit organization dedicated to connecting people, nature, and community through world class trail systems.
The Bear Valley Adventure Company is in Bear Valley, CA on Highway 4 on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the land of giant Sequoia trees. Bear Valley is perfect for new or experienced XC skiers with a trailhead meadow surrounded by hills and ridges. It is at 7,000 - 7,800 foot elevation and boasts substantial annual snow depths making it in most years the first to open and last to close among the Sierra XC ski centers. There is 70 km on 38 trails groomed for classic and skate skiing with 2 kids trails, a popular sledding and tubing hill, the Snowbound Café and 3 trailside huts There’s a groomed downhill ski area nearby, too.