Comparing disciplines: A look at the distinctions between Nordic and alpine skiers |

Comparing disciplines: A look at the distinctions between Nordic and alpine skiers

Grand County is a paradise for winter adventure and while our downhill ski slopes garner a lot of mass media attention Middle Park's Nordic ski options are among the best in the world.

From the Fraser Valley to Grand Lake and far to the west at Latigo Ranch Grand County is a proverbial Mecca for cross-country skiers. But despite the close quarters the two disciplines share here in Middle Park there is little in terms of animosity between the hardcore adherents of either hobby.

"Most of the people who come to Latigo have distinctly decided that they prefer cross-country skiing to downhill skiing," Lisa George, owner of Latigo Ranch – own of Grand County's top Nordic skiing destinations – said. "Our clientele tends to be a bit older and we see fairly few kids."

George compared the two styles in terms of personalities with different types of characters gravitating to the two respective sports and added that she sees little crossover between the two groups.

"I think cross-country skiing is more for the quieter set, while the rowdy set likes the downhill skiing," George said. "It is a personality thing. "

Other factors also play a part in keeping things friendly between the two groups. Unlike the dynamic between skiers and snowboarders downhill riders and cross-country skiers do not share space on the same mountain slopes, limiting the potential for conflicts.

Across Grand County there are plenty of options for both Nordic and downhill skiing. Most citizens are well aware of Winter Park Resort and Granby Ranch as in bounds options while former ski resorts like Berthoud Pass and Baker Mountain offer backcountry options covering thousands of acres.

There are also four top tier Nordic resorts as well ranging from the ritzy and refined Devil's Thumb Ranch in the Fraser Valley to the family friendly and laid back atmosphere of Snow Mountain Ranch just outside of Granby. Grand Lake's Nordic Center offers 35 kilometers of groomed trails nestled in the quiet pine filled valleys just outside of Grand Lake while Latigo Ranch north of Kremmling provides the sort of quiet experience you can only find far away from the city and its crowds.