Nordic Ski Colorado - The official cross-country ski guide

Frequently Asked Questions


How should I dress for Nordic Skiing?
Dress in Layers: start with a lightweight top and bottom base layer like thermals (midweight if it's really cold); then a midweight top and vest or lightweight jacket/wind breaker/softshell jacket; tights or performance/softshell/water resistant pants over the first base layer for your outer layer. For your head - a tightly woven, form fitting hat that covers your ears. Wear ski specific gloves to keep your hands warm and dry. On a warm sunny day, especially in Colorado, you will likely shed extra layers.

Waer Breathable, Moisture Wicking Clothes: Your body will produce some heat when cross country skiing, so it is highly recommended to wear breathable, moisture wicking fabrics. Most performance clothes are made of fabric that is breathable and dries quickly. Click here to read an article from REI comparing fabrics.

Protect your Eyes: No need for goggles like downhill skiing, but sunglasses are crucial. Polarized sunglasses are best because they reduce the reflection of sunlight on the snow. There are also sport sunglasses that are made for fast-paced adventures.

How do we deal with high altitude skiing?
Take it easy on the first day or two and definitely drink more fluids. You may find it bitter cold early in the morning, so wait for it to warm up a bit - by 10 it is usually very nice, especially if the sun is shining.
Are there places to xc ski at night?
Some Nordic Centers have lit trails for night skiing, including Snow Mountain Ranch, YMCA of the Rockies (2Km lit) and Devil's Thumb Ranch (2Km lit). Some Nordic Centers will let you ski with a headlamp if you buy a pass before they close that day. Any free trails (groomed or ungroomed) are good with a headlamp. If it is a full moon, the reflection of the moon on the snow will help light things up but you will still want a headlamp just in case you need it. Some Nordic Centers offer full moon events with hot chocolate and bon fires too.
Should I rent in Denver and then go skiing?
It depends on where you are going and what you are going to do. If you are going to a Nordic Center where they groom trails and offer rentals, it is best to rent there. Less hassle! If you are going to cross country ski on ungroomed trails (often called backcountry touring), and are not close to a Nordic Center, you can rent wider backcountry skis at a store like REI.
Where can I purchase equipment in Denver?
We feel that it is a better choice to buy equipment at a Nordic Ski Center. Most centers sell equipment. Sometimes you can rent demo equipment and try it out first. If you are in Boulder, a comprehensive shop is Boulder Nordic Sports.
Are there places to cross country ski around the Front Range/Denver area?
Some Denver/Boulder area xc ski clubs groom golf courses and campus areas, but most nearby places are ungroomed forest trails. Check out this website for a map:


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