Yes, downhill skiing and snowboarding is fun. We agree. But have you ever wished that you could enjoy a snowy interlude that was a little bit less hurried? Less high-speed quad, more quiet? Fewer moguls and more mother nature? Happily, we have a solution, one that allows you to join the rest of your winter holiday-makers at popular Utah ski resorts but also provides for some time to find inner peace. And get some quality exercise. We’re talking about cross-country skiing of course (or XC skiing for those who favor abbreviations like Xmas), which offers up the chance to enjoy untouched forest vistas at a pace appropriate for sight seeing. And you burn almost twice as many calories as you do downhill skiing. Which is why it’s a good idea to pack a picnic lunch. Pick a long loop trail and stop halfway to enjoy your food in some sunny, snowy spot with naught but a few forest birds and the hush of a powder-padded setting to occupy your thoughts. It just might become one of your favorite things.
Though real die-hard locals head for virgin snow in remote reaches of the mountains around big ski destinations like Park City, out-of-towners will learn that they too can easily enjoy a day or more of XC fun just by tackling groomed Nordic trails associated with several Utah ski resorts. The big Park City resorts don’t specifically cater to cross-country enthusiasts, but within a stone’s throw of town are cross-country ski centers like White Pine Touring, Alta Nordic Ski Area, Solitude Nordic Center, and Sundance Resort’s Nordic trails. Steer south for Homestead Resort and Soldier Hollow (site of several events during the 2002 Winter Olympics) near Heber City, both of which are also snowshoe friendly. Our advice? Leave at least one day free this winter to enjoy one of Utah’s scenic nordic trails. It will give your knees a break from moguls even if you don’t become a complete convert.