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The place: More than 30 kilometers of groomed XC trails skirt the Peak 7 and Peak 8 base areas of Breckenridge Ski Area. Although there are more blue squares and black diamonds than green circles on the trail map, there are ample beautiful views for everyone.
Vibe: The rough-hewn-log Nordic center has that parkitecture-slash-ski-lodge ambience, complete with a fireplace, bar, tables for lunch, and the faintest scent of sweat. Everyone here looks like they could compete in both the skiathlon and the Super-G come Beijing 2022, but rookies will fit right in.
Give One Year of 5280 for just $16.
Unique feature: On Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, try a Nordic snowcat adventure—which includes a stop at Josie’s Cabin for hot chocolate—at 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. for $75 per person.
Best beginner trail: Take Troll Forest, accessible right from the Nordic center, to Gold Digger to Baby Doe—which makes for a smallish loop and takes you through picturesque glades. The roughly one-kilometer circuit is short and gentle—perfect for newbies.
If you get brave: Do the full 3.5-kilometer Troll Forest loop, which, although designated green, requires a bit more control on downhills and funnels skiers under the road via a tunnel.
Rentals: Classic: $23 for adults, $18 for seniors and older kids, $10 for kids seven and younger; skate skis, $28
Fees: Trail passes are $25 for ages 13 to 64; $20 for 65-plus; free for kids 12 and younger
Après option: You could certainly head to downtown Breckenridge (we like the cocktail menu at Modis), but the bar inside the Nordic center has a full liquor license, wine, and beer—and you don’t have to put on your shoes to get there.
Where to stay: Slated to open this month, Gravity Haus is a 60-room, hip-as-it-comes, ski-in, ski-out property at the base of Peak 9. gravityhaus.com
If you have another day to ski: Despite the fact that they’re located on a golf course, the trails at Gold Run Nordic Center feel much more rural and isolated than those at Breckenridge Nordic Center.
An added bonus for beginners: There are 13.7 kilometers of rolling green-rated terrain.