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A person cross-country skiing on a groomed trail in front of some mountain peaks

Crested Butte Nordic Center

The “Nordic Ski Capital of Colorado”

With 50 kilometers of groomed trails, the Crested Butte Nordic Center is a hotspot for Nordic skiing in Crested Butte. The Nordic Center offers easy to get to trails in town. For a more wilderness experience, try a trail that heads out of town. The beauty of these ski trails is you don’t have to go far to feel like you’re skiing something remote.

Skiing at the Nordic center

Classic and skate skiing and snowshoeing

The Crested Butte Nordic Center has trails for cross-country skiers of all abilities. A pass is required to use Nordic Center trails. All trails are groomed for classic and skate skiing. Classic skiing is a style of skiing where you glide your skis forward parallel to each other. Skate skiing looks like roller skating. The rating system for Nordic skiing is the same as downhill skiing. Green trails are easiest, blue trails are intermediate, black trails are difficult and double black trails are expert. The scenery and difficulty of Nordic Center trails vary based on their location. The Bench Trails are located behind the Nordic Center. These trails are blue and black and wind through the woods. There are a few steep hills, but these can be avoided. The West Side Trails are on the west side of town near Peanut Lake Road. This area has the most variety of trails in terms of terrain and ability level. Find green, blue and black trails in the woods and meadow. The East Side trails are located in the valley between Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte. You can find trails of all levels here, including the steepest black trail the Nordic Center offers. Some trails are dog-friendly. Your pup will need a pass.

A person cross-country skis on a snowy path under a sunset and a mountain peak

Winter vs Summer Trail Use

Know the rules for cross-country skiing in Crested Butte

Nearly all of the Nordic Center trails are on private lands. This means it’s very important to know the rules and allowed uses of any trail you’re on. Abiding by these rules helps ensure everyone can continue using these trails. Learn more about winter vs. summer trail use

Lessons and rentals at the Nordic Center

Want to learn how to cross-country ski?

The Nordic Center offers adult, youth and family skiing lessons. Lessons are perfect for first-timers and those who want to hone their skills. Lessons are available for classic and skate skiing. All lessons come with gear and a day pass to the Nordic Center. Classic and skate skis and snowshoe rentals are also available from the Nordic Center. Rentals are great for testing out gear. They’re also a good option if you’re traveling and don’t want to bring your own gear. 

Can I ski with my dog at the Crested Butte Nordic Center?

Dog-friendly ski trails at the Nordic Center

The Crested Butte Nordic Center has dog-friendly trails on the East and West Side Trails. You must purchase a pass for you and your dog. Please display your pass and your dog’s pass at all times while skiing. Dogs can ski free on Town Ranch. Taking your dog on a trail that is not dog-friendly could result in losing your pass and your pup’s pass. Check out the Nordic Center’s website for more information about skiing with your dog.

An aerial view of four skiers on a snowy track

What else can you do at the Crested Butte Nordic Center?

Enjoy fat biking and snowshoeing in Crested Butte

Crested Butte Nordic Center trails can also be used for snowshoeing. Some of the trails are open to fat biking. Make sure the trail you want to ride allows fat bikes before you head out. You must have a Nordic Center pass to snowshoe or fat bike. Be courteous to other trail users and avoid walking or riding in the parallel classic track. There is an ice rink for ice skating on-site at the Nordic Center. Skate rentals are available if you don’t have your own.

Events at the Crested Butte Nordic Center

The Alley Loop, Yurt Dinners and more!

The Crested Butte Nordic Center holds a few events each year. Depending on the snow, winter kicks off with Thanksgiving Camp. This training gives skiers of all abilities a chance to refresh their skills at the beginning of the season. The Alley Loop is an annual race right through the town of Crested Butte. It is also one of the best costume parties all year and an American Birkebeiner Qualifying event. The Gothic Mountain Tour and the Grand Traverse are two backcountry ski races. Throughout the ski season, the Magic Meadows Yurt hosts dinners and Sunday brunches that you have to ski or snowshoe to to attend. 

A group of people dressed like dinosaurs on skinny skis on a snowy road

Cross-country skiing in Crested Butte

Other places to cross-country ski near Crested Butte

There are non-groomed trails in Crested Butte that can also be cross-country skied. Other places to cross-country ski include Slate River Road, Washington Gulch Road, Gothic/Schofield Pass Road, Cement Creek Road and Brush Creek Road. Many of these areas are also popular with snowshoers and provide access for snowmobiling and backcountry skiing. Make sure you share the trail and are mindful of other users by following winter trails etiquette

Other things to do in Crested Butte

Winter and Summer Recreation in Crested Butte

Thanks to the two million acres of public lands in the Gunnison Valley there are plenty of things to do in Crested Butte. Head up to Crested Butte Mountain Resort to get some downhill skiing in. Give fat biking, snowshoeing or snowmobiling a try. Gunnison, Colorado offers mellow downhill skiing at Cranor Hill and has even more Nordic skiing trails. In the summer Crested Butte comes alive with wildflowers. Catch them on a hike, mountain bike ride or gravel bike ride. Head to Elk Avenue for places to eat, shopping, museums, live music and more. 

Nordic ski stories and tips

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