Nordic Ski Colorado - The official cross-country ski guide
Article: Cross Country Skiing - What's XC Skiing All About?
By Jonathan Wiesel / Photo by Carter Photographics
cross country skiing at YMCA Snow Mtn Ranch
Tim Schuld and Karen Brown enjoy classic tracks at Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center.

I’ve been fascinated by snow since I was a little kid – threw it, watched it fall, dove into it, ran through it, made snow angels and just loved the stuff. But it wasn’t until I began cross-country skiing that I really absorbed how much fun winter can be.

You can cross-country ski almost anywhere there’s snow – stunning valley-and-mountain scenery, gentle meadows, neighboring woods, even golf courses. You can go out on your own, or ski with family; break your own path through new-fallen powder or tear along machine-packed trails at a cross-country ski area.

I started as a solitary skier, loving the quiet and sense of adventure. Now I usually like to ski with friends at a comfortable pace, and sometimes I can get out for a leisurely but fulfilling 15-minute ski after work.

What began for me as a torrid affair with exercise, technique, and clear air has mellowed into a deep appreciation of the season and the people who enjoy it.

Talk about diversity within this sport! Cross-country is the best workout in the world (burning lots of calories and justifing lots of desserts) – but you can go at your own pace. The more often you ski, the more graceful you become, and the further you can go with almost no effort. And it’s a low-impact sport – easy on the joints.

I’ve skied with city people, cowboys, bird watchers, racers, kids, photographers, folks in their 70s – and they all love the sport in different ways. It can offer you escape, closeness to nature or the generation of exercise endorphins, or all of these.

One of the other appeals is the variety of places to visit (and maybe stay) when cross-country skiing. Here in the Rockies, we have guest ranches, alpine ski resorts, even communities catering to cross-country.

And wherever you ski, you can still see the snow drift down gently, enjoy the crisp air, and make snow angels.

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