Nordic skiing and cross country skiing in Steamboat Springs has a long and rich history. Even so, over the past couple winters we have seen the popularity of nordic skiing absolutely skyrocket. Whether you like to nordic skate, classic ski, or go for simple tours on the high passes…. The skiing is fantastic and we have the terrain to match!
One of our favorite places to ski groomed track is Howelsen Hill, located right in the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs (ok, maybe just to the left a little bit). Howelsen is a gem. This city owned facility offers downhill skiing, jumping, freestyle, ice skating, snowhoeing, and of course, nordic skiing. The track skiing is world class. Skate and classic track is offered. Many World Cup Nordic Combined and Cross Country events have been held here. If you would like to test your skill level or your conditioning fitness, come ski at Howelsen.
Other great places to track ski in the valley are Catamount, The Steamboat Touring Center, and Steamboat Lake State Park. If you combine all the nordic areas together we have well over 100 kilometers of groomed track in the Yampa Valley.
When we aren’t at mighty Howelsen Hill we can usually be found breaking trail in the backcountry. For a list of Where to Ski and What to Take scroll down to more kickin’ and glidin’!
And finally, we love to race, too. The Local Nordic Challenge Series (each local nordic area hosts a race throughout the winter season) is a huge success. Come join the fun!
Where to ski and what to take
Steamboat Springs is located in the Yampa Valley and our home is surrounded by great places to cross country ski and snowshoe. The hardest thing about these activities is deciding where to go! Ski Haus stocks a great selection of maps from USGS and Trail Illustrated. We can also offer some ideas
Here are some suggestions on what to take with you on a tour and where to ski.
– extra coat or sweater
– extra hat and gloves
– water and food
– fire starters (candle and matches)
– sunglasses, sunscreen, goggles
– first aid kit
– wax kit and ski repair kit
– knife or leatherman
– thermal tarp, space blanket
– topo map, compass, and camera
Rabbit Ears Pass – This area is an all time classic for cross country and snowshoeing. The west side of Rabbit Ears is suggested xc / snowshoe use. Snowmobiles are recommended to use the east side of the pass. West Summit, Bruce’s Trail, Fox Curve, and Walton Peak are the access parking lots to use. These areas provide marked trails (marked by blue diamonds on trees or stakes in the meadows) and a wide variety of terrain from easy to expert only to tour, turn, and explore. Generally, we send first timers to the West Summit on Trail 1A. Walton Peak is wonderful to explore and make some turns.
Hogan Park – If there were a 50 classic tours in Colorado this could be #1! Hogan Park connects Rabbit Ears Pass with the top of Mount Werner, Steamboat’s ski area. This 7 mile trail tours through dark timber, wide open meadows, crosses creeks, and climbs and descends steep hills. Watch the weather, this tip can take a couple hours or last a lifetime. Good orienteering skills are a must as well as good conditioning for the skiers, overnight gear, repair and first aid kits.
Steamboat Touring Center and Howelsen Hill – Steamboat Springs is blessed to have easy access to two areas that offer groomed track skiing for classic or skate skiing. The Touring Center offers 30k of track and Howelsen has approximately 20k. Both areas have snowshoe trails and both places are located within the Steamboat’s city limits.
Hahns Peak, Sand Mountain, Steamboat Lake – 30 miles to the north of Steamboat is the little town of Clark, gateway to the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. It is here where the terrain turns wild. Hahns Peak and Sand Mountain will test your backcountry skills and provide some awesome telemark terrain. Avalanche skills and awareness are a must. Experts only.
You can try skate skiing and classic skiing up at Steamboat Lake State Park, too. They have been grooming for about three years and the terrain is great. The spectacular views will keep you skiing for hours! Either a Colorado State Parks Pass ($50) is required to ski the trails or a day parking pass ($5).
Soda Mountain – North of Buffalo Pass, (Colorado’s deepest snowshed) is Soda Mountain. A big mountain that provides long vistas and challenging terrain. The long route takes you up Buffalo Pass and over to Soda, down Soda and reconnect to Buffalo Pass. (close to 20 miles round trip but a classic loop) Easier access is from the Dry Lake Parking Lot, ski up Soda Creek Drainage to the mountain. Many opportunities to do some laps and yo yo skiing.
Dunckley Pass – You can find more marked ski trails here. Beginner to intermediate terrain. Located to the south of Steamboat Springs, access Dunckley Pass from the town of Oak Creek. A wonderful area that doesn’t see a ton of use. Quiet and peaceful!
There are limitless opportunities to ski and snowshoe in our area. Please call or email us for more information and maps.