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Ten Most Scenic Cross-Country Skiing Destinations

By By Zachary Laks
January 19, 2015, 4:08:18 AM EST

Fully immerse yourself in winter landscapes by taking advantage of one of the best low-impact, total-body workouts around: cross-country skiing. The sport is as fun as it is challenging, and can take you through the majestic valleys of Utah or the mountainous regions of Washington. With terrain that’s horizontal but by no means flat, these freshly groomed trails are waiting for you in the 10 most scenic cross-country skiing destinations.

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Aspen, Colorado

Boasting more than 95 kilometers of cross country ski trails, Aspen Snowmass is one of the largest free groomed cross country ski systems in North America. The trails connect the ski villages of Aspen, Snowmass, and Basalt and provide opportune places for pit stops. A wide array of trails offer terrains that range from beginner levels up to the most advanced, challenging runs. Scale the scenic Mt. Daly for some of the best views as the sun reflects off of its nearly 14,000-foot peak.

Insider Tip: When the sun sets, unwind to the live music and fun atmosphere of the historic Red Onion restaurant. Located in downtown Aspen, the Colorado landmark building has been standing since 1892.

Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor’s Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley Travel Guide


The Summit at Snoqualmie


Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

About an hour outside of Seattle, The Summit at Snoqualmie offers 50 kilometers of groomed cross country trails throughout its varied terrain. Four sections of the mountain range offer challenges and rewarding sights for the physically inclined. A favorite among cross country skiers is the Hidden Valley trail that journeys through the open valley between Mt. Catherine and Mt. Hyak. A new chair lift is currently being installed to add more access to the numerous cross country trails.

Insider Tip: Take a seat in one of the giant inner tubes on site and let gravity do its duty at The Summit at Snoqualmie’s tubing hill. This custom built hillside drop adds a thrilling twist to the day.

Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor’s Washington Cascade Mountains and Valleys Travel Guide


Schweitzer Mountain


Sandpoint, Idaho

Nearly every day is a snow day at Schweitzer Mountain as cross country skiers take to the 32 kilometer stretch of fine trails and even finer views. For the beginners, start with Schweitzer’s Picnic Point Out and Back trail, a designated 5 kilometer round trip circuit that starts at the village trailhead and continues through the mountainside. Make sure to pack some food as the picnic setting provides the ideal opportunity for lunch before heading back. The panoramic views paired with the challenging yet often accessible terrain make Schweitzer notable for its cross country excellence.

Insider Tip: Release the tension from a long day of physical activity at the Solstice Spa on campus. Opt for the Thai massage (50 minutes, $90; 70 minutes, $110; 120 minutes, $200), which features acupressure, compression, and assisted stretching to soothe energy flow and relax tense muscles.

Plan Your Trip: Visit Fodor’s Idaho Guide

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