GRAND JUST HAS MORE | More terrain, more days, and more than Nordic

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand Nordic
Skiers enjoy gliding in the Pole Creek Valley on the trails of Snow Mountain Ranch with the Continental Divide providing a beautiful backdrop. Grand County offers more kilometers of groomed Nordic skiing in a condensed area than anywhere else in Colorado.
Jeff Russell/Courtesy photo

Grand County is home to more kilometers for Nordic skiing and more days to ski, snowshoe or ride a fat bike than anywhere in the nation.

Every Nordic resort and most ranches offer Nordic trails groomed for classic and skate skiing for every level of skier, as well as separate snowshoeing and fat bike trails. Dogs mostly on leash are allowed on marked trails at every resort. One resort offers backcountry terrain with human-powered accent only and offers instruction to traveling safely in the mountains. Free trails are groomed in Winter Park, Fraser, Granby and in-between by municipalities and Headwaters Trails Alliance with maps available from the Headwaters Trails Alliance.

Resorts usually offer lodging, groomed trails and shops for equipment rentals, gear sales and lessons. Most feature events during the season. Guest ranches like C Lazy U or Latigo have similar offerings, but on a different scale. Here’s a looks at some of the options.

Devils Thumb Ranch

Devils Thumb Ranch has nearly 120km of groomed trails in the shadow of the Continental Divide. Day passes start at $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and youth and $10 for children 5 and under with package discounts available. Passes include access to an outdoor ice-skating area. The full-service Activities Center has equipment and clothing sales and ski and snowshoe rentals, regular lessons for adults and children, as well as private lessons and tours.

Many activities, like sleigh rides or amenities like the pool and spa, are available to guests. For guest safety reasons this season, the ranch will not be holding its signature events — the Tommelfest or Stagecoach Classic.

Dogs on leash are welcome on specified trails and skijoring rigs and lessons are available. Visit or call 970-726-8231 for current protocols and winter sports activities information.

Grand Lake Nordic Center

With over 35 miles of groomed trails, the Grand Lake Nordic Center sits less than a mile from Grand Lake below Rocky Mountain National Park and next to the Colorado River. Parts of the golf course and surrounding homes were destroyed during the 2020 East Troublesome Fire, but Rec District management has done an amazing job restoring a large part of the area.

Both daily passes for adults and children, as well as rentals for skiing and snowshoeing, are very reasonable with package deals available. Ski lessons are available by appointment for all ages and experience. Dogs are welcome on both a dedicated snowshoe and ski loop. Grand County kids ski free on Fridays.

Due to safety concerns for customers, there will be few special events this season. Call the Nordic center at 970-627-8008 or visit for details.

Snow Mountain Ranch

Over 120km of groomed world-class terrain lies between Tabernash and Granby, meandering through pine forests and wide meadows in the shadow of Blue Ridge and along Pole Creek. Early and late season are fabulous.

Dedicated snowshoe and Fat Tire bike trails crisscross more than 5,000 acres. Dogs on leash are welcome on select trails. Trail passes are complementary to YMCA members and overnight guests. Day passes for adults over age 13 cost $25 and youth are $10. Children 5 and under are free.

A five-punch card can be shared by family members, but the best deal is an annual family membership for $250. All passes include winter tubing, access to the ice-skating rink, swimming pool and Kiva Center. The full-service Nordic center sells equipment and clothing, and rents ski equipment, kids chariots, snowshoes and fat bikes. Demo gear is also available.

Other amenities include dogsledding, winter horseback riding and sleigh rides. Package rates and deals, and a schedule of events is available at 970-887-2152 x4173 or

Bluebird Backcountry

Treat yourself to an inbounds backcountry ski area designed for learning and adventure at Bear Mountain near Kremmling. Bluebird Backcountry combes the best elements of ski areas — guide services and true backcountry.

Experience human-powered accents, great ski-patrolled terrain, backcountry rentals and lessons, and a lodge and warming hut, combined with offerings on backcountry and avalanche education. Visit or email for more.


Visit for county-wide All Things Nordic opportunities.

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