Nordic Ski Colorado - The official cross-country ski guide
Article: Grand Lake - A Hidden Gem
In the shadow of Rocky Mountain National Park

By Phil White / Photos by Carter Photographics

cross country skiing at Grand Lake Nordic Center
Group of skaters at Grand Lake Nordic, framed by the peaks in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Sometimes, you have to dig a little deeper to find the hidden gems, but in the case of the Grand Lake Nordic Center, you only have to drive two miles past the town of Grand Lake to find Nordic bliss. Grand Lake Nordic Center (GLNC) offers 35K (21 miles) of groomed trails for both classic and skate skiing, as well as snowshoeing trails, dog loops and a sledding hill.

In the past few years, this “hidden gem” has gone through a metamorphosis. What was once a maze of tight, winding trails in lodgepole pine forests has now been eaten away by a mountain pine beetle epidemic.

cross country skiing at Grand Lake Nordic Center
Freshly groomed classic tracks at Grand Lake Nordic Center.
Cut and cleared by the team at the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District, the Nordic center has been transformed into wide-open vistas of the Continental Divide and Rocky Mountain National Park. 175 acres have been logged, 300 piles of slash burned, 200 blue spruce and 150 aspen trees planted, thus creating ribbons of white ski trails with healthy trees around them.

Janice Peck, Nordic Director at the Grand Lake Nordic Center for the past 27 years, thinks part of the appeal of the GLNC is its “hometown” feel, which caters to beginners and intermediate skiers. The lodge is located in the middle of the trail system, offering beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails right out their door.

In the lodge you can sit by the fireplace, enjoy a hot bowl of their famous soup, or fuel up on a bag lunch.

The ski shop offers everything you’ll need to enjoy a day on the snow, including ski and snowshoe equipment to rent, trail passes, and lessons.

As you walk out the door, you’ll step into your skis and enter the world of groomed Nordic skiing. A new 2009 Piston Bully grooming machine allows the touring center to have perfectly level, firm and wide trails for skate skiers, and fast, solid tracks for classic skiers. All the trails are groomed daily, starting at 4am.

The trail system is extensive enough to offer a variety of terrain, including rolling hills, steep climbs, and fast descents. Grand Lake Nordic Center has something for everyone, from reluctant beginners to Olympians in training.

For more information on Grand Lake Nordic Center, visit or call 970.627.8008.

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