18 Unbelievable Cross-Country Skiing Destinations

18 Unbelievable Cross-Country Skiing Destinations

Some powder hounds may think that nothing can beat the rush of endorphins and adrenaline that comes along with a speedy ride down a steep slope. But other winter sport enthusiasts may disagree because for them a slower-paced approach is preferred. For that latter group, cross-country skiing is absolutely one of the most ideal ways to explore and enjoy the great outdoors during the winter season.

Crested Butte Nordic, Colorado

They call it the Nordi Ski Capital of Colorado. Tourists and locals love this resort because of its beautiful scenery and more than 1,500 skiable acres. Crested Butte Nordic maintains 34 miles of groomed trails around the mountain town. Private lessons, clinics and tours are available.

Finnsmarksvidda, Norway

The mountain plateau of Finnsmarksvidda is among the best places in the world to ski and see the famous Northern Lights, especially in the winter. The most popular routes will take you from Finnsmarksvidda to Alta, Karasjok and the Stabbursdalen National Park, which is one of the most beautiful in Europe.

The Summit at Snoqualmie, Washington

Ski lovers living in Seattle and nearby are in luck. The Summit at Snoqualmie offers more than 30 miles of groomed cross country trails, and the terrain varies. The mountain has four zones that are suitable for skiers of different skill levels. The panoramic views though are guaranteed gorgeous no matter where you're skiing. A hot spot is the Hidden Valley trail that will have you go from Mt. Catherine to Mt. Hyak.

Sjusjøen, Norway

What could be a more appropriate cross-country skiing destination than the location where the sport originated? Of course, Norway boasts countless ski locales, but for those in search of an exceptional XC experience, it's hard to beat the Rustad Hotel in Sjusjøen. Nestled amidst a serene mountain-scape just north of Lillehammer, the resort's varying network of tails has something to offer for everyone from the first-time cross-country skier to the powder hound veteran in search of a new and exciting challenge

Sundance, Utah

The Sundance Nordic Center offers about 10 miles of awesome that vary from classic to very challenging. You'll find untouched trails each morning with classic tracks and a wide skating lane. The trail network is laid out through a back country terrain. Snowshoers can explore 6 miles of dedicated trails zigzagging through the woods. The views of Mount Timpanogos and Stewart Falls are stunning.

Mt. Bachelor, Bend, Oregon

Mount Bachelor has an amazingly long cross-country ski season. In fact, it's one of the longest in all of North America. It lasts from mid-November until mid-May. Skiers enjoy 35 miles of trail going through the Deschutes National Forest. They range in difficulty and are machine-groomed on daily basis. The U.S. Ski Team trains there. Lasting from Trail passes is required.

American Birkebeiner Trail, Wisconsin

It's simply called "the Birkie." You get about 66 miles of trails to explore. The best time to go is between December and March. The trail hosts several intermediate and expert races, some of which include the largest cross-country ski race in North America –the 55K Birkie Classic and 50K Birkie Skate race. The non-profit) American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation maintains 100 percent of the trail system.

Schweitzer Mountain, Idaho

Stretching about 20 miles, Schweitzer's Nordic trails offer remarkable sights in every direction with both difficult and beginner- friendly terrain. Tip: You're going to need a pass for access to the trail system. Hire a personal coach at the Nordic Center from the Snowsports School. The trails are open daily until 4 p.m. Snowbikes are welcome when the snow is not too soft.

Val di Fassa, Italy

The renowned Val di Fassa in Italy's Dolomites offers more than 30 miles of unparalleled cross-country ski trails. A rustic and wildly scenic setting, here you can put your cross-country skis to work moving from village to village. And afterwards you can reward your muscles by taking advantage of a relaxing soak in the area's natural hot springs

Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

With a network of trails spanning more than 62-miles, New Hampshire's Bretton Woods Nordic Center is one of the East's largest cross-country ski areas. Here you'll find terrain of all types. From open fields and wooded trails to scenery including mountain streams and beaver ponds, Bretton Woods is easily one of the most vast and picturesque cross-country ski spots in North America. Not to mention, the area's Omni Mount Washington Resort is the state's largest ski area overall and boasts 464 acres of ski and snowboard terrain.

Devil’s Thumb Ranch, Colorado

With nearly 75 miles of trails snuggled in the unspoiled and private Ranch Creek valley at the base of the Continental Divide, Devil's Thumb Ranch is among the best Nordic centers for Colorado and North American cross country skiing. It's becoming one of America's most sought-after XC ski resorts. The daily trail pass allows for skiing and snowshoeing on the same day.

Gstaad, Switzerland

If it's a more luxurious winter getaway you're after, look no further than what's often considered the most exclusive chalet village in the Swiss Alps. The resort town is regarded as one of the top winter sports destinations in the entire world and Gstaad's holiday region appeals to all types of cross-country skiers since its landscape offers both beginner- and expert-level trails. One of the most popular paths here is the 3.1-mile Gstaad-Feutersoey-Gsteig trail, which is especially suited for nature-lovers as it tours skiers along the River Saane to Chlösterli.

Whiteface, Lake Placid, New York

Lake Placid's Whiteface Mountain offers world-class cross country ski trails that spread 30 miles throughout the gorgeous Adirondacks. Ski and see the stunning lake, the soaring Mt. Van Hoevenberg, and the dense white pines. You can ski along the U.S. team's biathlon training course with group and private lessons. The best time to go is late November through March.

Banff National Park, Canada

Situated in the high alpine region of Banff National Park, Skoki Lodge boasts a nearly eight-mile long cross-country ski trail running from Lake Louise to the Skoki Valley. Here, skiers will find awe-inspiring mountain views, scenic alpine lakes and the chance to venture to several nearby valleys.    

Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont

The resort is a 2,500-acre hub for the outdoor and nature enthusiast. It's home to the first cross-country ski center in the country, and it's the largest in Stowe. Enjoy more than 35 miles of groomed trails and 62 miles of backcountry trails. The terrain will satisfy skiers of all abilities.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming

The resort is one of the best known and top resorts in North America. People from all over come to ski at Jackson Hole. The huge recreational trails are ideal for cross country skiers who are looking for stunning views of the majestic Grand Teton. Thrill-seekers usually start at the Teton Pines Country Club and Resort, where 10 miles of groomed trails wind through the countryside.

Ylläs Ski Resort, Finland

Cross-country skiing is in the heart of Finnish culture, so much so that skiing across forests and lakes on the way to work or school was very common a few decades ago. From the Helsinki metropolitan area to the remote villages of Nuorgam and Kilpisjärvi in Northern Lapland maintain a network of skiing tracks, many of them lit, according to Visit Finland. The country's most comprehensive network of tracks, a staggering 205 miles, circles the Ylläs ski resort.

Lone Mountain Ranch, Montana

The trail system is over 50 miles and the snow conditions are pristine for cross-country skiing. The resort uses state-of-the-art equipment to maintain the winding trails throughout the iconic Rocky Mountains. Take a guided tour that Lone Mountain Ranch offers and can look for animal tracks and make pit stops at spots with outstanding panoramas.