Former downhillers are flocking to cross-country in droves—here are the top 5 spots to enjoy the sport.
It wasn’t that long ago that cross-country skiing was the purview of those who packed their own Wasa crackers and Babybel in their enormous fanny packs.
But the introduction of skate-skiing, coupled with the realization that Nordic skiing (as it’s now called) is both less crowded and way better for you, has seen the sport boom with former downhillers.
1. Canmore Nordic Centre, Alta.
Canada isn’t quite at the full x-country resort stage yet, but ski Canmore’s 60 kilometres of Olympic-tested trails and then retire to the nearby Paintbox Lodge—owned by Turin games silver medallist Sara Renner and her fellow Olympian husband, Thomas Grandi—and swap tales of epic climbs over tapas. albertaparks.ca/canmore-nordic-centre
2. Silver Star, B.C.
Everyone has their favourite Okanagan downhill resort, but when it comes to cross-country, Silver Star (where you can stay) and the nearby Sovereign Lake trails reign supreme with over 105 kilometres of trails. High elevation makes this the best early-season spot—you’ll often find national teams training here. skisilverstar.com
3. Lone Mountain Ranch, Mont.
A short drive from Big Sky Resort and only 35 kilometres from Yellowstone National Park, this southern Montana gem has a series of “rustic” cabins that look like they were designed by Ralph Lauren, and a legendary complement of guides to drive you around their 65 kilometres of trails. lonemountainranch.com
4. Devil’s Thumb, Colo.
Tucked a few kilometres away from the downhill slopes of Winter Park Resort (see page 74), this may be the most luxe Nordic spot on the continent. There’s an Old West vibe, and superlative food to be burned off on the resort’s 100 kilometres of groomed trails. devilsthumbranch.com
5. Methow Valley, Wash.
Just over an hour south of Osoyoos is this massive mecca of cross-country skiing (it’s the biggest on the continent). Spend your days on over 200 kilometres of trails and your nights in the rustic but sweet town of Winthrop, population 412. methowtrails.org