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Vail Cross-Country Skiing: Local Guides & Places to Go

Gaze at massive, snow-draped summits as you explore peaceful paths on a Vail cross-country skiing adventure. Cross-country skiing (also known as Nordic skiing) is a scenic winter activity that takes you through frosty, tree-lined wilderness on cross-country skis or skate skis. The Vail Valley is an ideal destination for the sport, with abundant trails ranging from easy to difficult and plenty of outfitters for guided trips and equipment rentals. Get more information on Vail cross-country skiing below:

Three adults on a Vail cross-country skiing adventure on a snowy hill


One of the best ways to learn Nordic skiing in Vail is to let a local guide lead the way. These professionals provide the expertise and gear to get started — and they can show you all the best spots to begin your adventure. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned cross-country skier, it’s never a bad idea to get in touch with a guide to help get the lay of the land.

Vail Nordic Center

When the temperature drops and powder blankets Vail Golf Club, it becomes the full-service Vail Nordic Center. Glide along endless expanses of groomed skate and classic-track trails, surrounded by incredible snow-capped peaks. New to the sport? Get started with their lessons and clinics, where experts show you how to use the equipment and navigate the terrain safely. Plus, if you need gear, the Nordic Center has all the clothing, backpacks and skis to get started right in the pro shop. They stock a wide variety of rentals for classic, skate and backcountry skis, and they even offer sleds to pull the kids along for a day of family fun.

People shopping at the Vail Nordic Center pro shop

Vail Resorts Nordic School

Vail Resorts’ Vail Nordic School has cross-country-ski tours for beginner to expert skiers. Explore the pristine, white-veiled wilderness areas that surround Vail on a full-day or half-day excursion, with all the equipment and water provided. Or start from the beginning with group or private lessons, where an instructor walks you through the basics so you can traverse the sparkling terrain in no time. Make your reservation through Vail Resorts and stop by the Golden Peak Nordic Desk the day of your lesson.

Paragon Guides

Take in rugged-winter beauty in Vail on a cross-country-ski tour with Paragon Guides. Join your private guide on a solo outing, or travel with family and friends on a group trip. These 4–6-hour backcountry adventures are perfect for beginner-to-experienced skiers — or anyone seeking a memorable snowy challenge among the Rocky Mountains. The best part? Paragon Guides takes care of everything, providing transportation, instruction, cross-country skis, boots, poles, gaiters and lunch.

Family laughing on a cross-country ski trail in Vail


Want more information about Vail cross-country skiing? Check out these frequently asked questions, so you’re fully prepared for your next adventure.

What Should I Wear & Bring Nordic Skiing in Vail?

Comfortable winter clothes, layers, a hat, gloves, eye protection, sunscreen and water are a must. But remember to dress in lighter layers than you would wear for downhill skiing — with Nordic skiing, you work harder!

When is Cross-Country Skiing Available?

Vail Nordic skiing is available from mid-November through March (or when the snow melts), conditions permitting.

How Difficult is Cross-Country Skiing?

If you thought downhill skiing or snowboarding keeps you in great shape, try a day on a pair of cross-country skis. You’ll quickly understand why Nordic athletes are so unbelievably fit; cross-country skiing uses virtually every muscle in your body to propel you forward.

What Makes Vail Cross-Country Skiing So Special?

Vail’s high elevation and towering peaks make our cross-country trail systems especially scenic and exciting. Plus, our altitude and dry weather conditions create some of the best powder in the country. Come experience it for yourself this winter.

Discover More Adventures This Winter in Vail

Looking for more things to do in Vail in winter? Check out these resources to start building your itinerary: