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Zephyr Lodge Condo -- Area Information


Nordic or Cross Country Skiing

This information is compiled to assist guests who rent our Condo at the Zephyr Mountain Lodge.  If you've arrived at this page as a result of a web search on Nordic Skiing, we hope you benefit from the information.  And if you need lodging, thank you for considering us.

In addition to excellent alpine skiing and snowboarding, the Winter Park region also offers outstanding Nordic, Cross Country, or Telemark Skiing.   Enthusiasts can enjoy this alternate form of skiing in 3 ways.
 - At specially equipped cross country centers
 - At the Winter Park Resort
 - In the Back Country
Beginners are advised to travel to one of the specially equipped cross country centers identified below.  Experienced telemarkers with alpine or other special skis mounted with tele bindings are free to use the Winter Park Ski Resort along with family and friends.  Nordic skiing in the back country can be an ultimate experience.  However, one must be familiar with route finding, avalanche prevention/rescue, and general mountaineering.

Devils Thumb Ranch
Local 970-726-5632, Toll Free 800-933-4339,  www.devilsthumbranch.com
Snuggled  in Ranch Creek Valley just north of Fraser and in the shadow of the Continental Divide, Devils Thumb Ranch has some of the most splendid scenery anywhere in the Winter Park region.   Devils Thumb Ranch maintains 100km of trails amidst 400 acres of secluded mountain meadows.  Lessons and Equipment Rental are available.

From the Zephyr Lodge head to the main ski area entrance and drive North on US 40 8.6 miles to County Road 83 -- the turnoff for Devil's Thumb Ranch.  Take the right hand fork and follow the road 3 miles to Devils Thumb Ranch.


Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA Nordic Center.
Local 970-887-2152   www.ymcarockies.com
The YMCA of the Rockies has numerous activities -- including an excellent Nordic Center.  100km of groomed trails meander through forest, wide meadows, and alongside Pole Creek.   Trails range from beginner to expert with climbs, vista's, and telemarking.   Snow Mountain Ranch has some novel additions to traditional nordic:
 - 2km lighted trail
 - Biathlon range
 - Skijoring
Lessons and equipment rental are available.

From the Zephyr Lodge, head to the main ski area entrance and turn North on US40.  Travel 13.6 miles to the YMCA entrance on the left.   Travel about 2 miles to the YMCA and ask for the Nordic Center.


SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch
Toll Free 800-754-7458  
Use 40km of  nordic trails free of charge at the base of SolVista at Granby Ranch.   These groomed trails wind through the forest bordering Sol Vista's two alpine ski hills.  Those who climb to the top are rewarded with unsurpassed views of the Continental Divide and the Indian Peaks.  Lessons and rentals  [both classic and skate skis] are available. 

From the Zephyr Lodge, head to the main ski area entrance and turn North on US40.  Travel 18.4 miles to the SolVista entrance on the left.   Inquire at the entrance for parking and services for nordic skiers.


Grand Lake Touring Center
Long Dx: 970-627-8008   grandlakerecreation.com
During the summer, the Grand Lake Touring Center is one of the region's top golf courses.  After the snow falls, some 30km of trails are groomed as tracked and skating trails.  The trails wander over the gentle hills of the golf course and into the nearby forest.   Check out one of the full moon ski and spaghetti dinners.  Rentals and lessons are available.  A restaurant and lounge are at the area.

About 45 minutes drive from Zephyr Mountain Lodge.  Drive to Grand Lake on Hwy 40 and Hwy 34.

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Local: 970-726-1564  Toll Free: 800-979-0332,  www.winterparkresort.com
Experienced telemarkers with alpine or other special skis mounted with tele bindings are free to use the Winter Park Ski Resort along with family and friends.   You must buy a lift ticket just as any other skier.  There is no special area designated for telemarkers.  You will share the trails with others on snowboards and alpine skis.   Please, do not attempt the terrain parks as the features are very dangerous to those on nordic or telemark equipment.  

Also note, that just because you are using ski gear that is also suited for backcountry travel, you are not permitted to leave the ski area except at designated control gates [at top of Parsenn Peak and at the east end of Southridge].  Once you have left the ski area via one of these gates, you are not permitted to re-enter.

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For many nordic / telemark skiers, the activity of choice is an unguided trip into Rocky Mountain National Park, the Arapaho National Forest, up Vasquez Peak or Beyers Peak, an excursion into Second Creek, or a jaunt anywhere along the Continental Divide.   These are long rugged trips involving thousands of feet of elevation gain/loss, avalanche danger, and risk of winter storms and equipment malfunction.  These trips should be attempted only by very experienced skiers familiar with the backcountry.  Guides are not available.

All backcountry skiers should travel in pairs and bring avalanche beacon, probes, and shovels.  Sufficient energy food and water and some means of rudimentary shelter are also important should an overnight stay become necessary.  Maps, Compass, GPS, and trail description is also essential. 

The best book is "Backcountry Skiing and Snowshoeing in Grand County, Colorado" by Deborah Carr [ISBN 0-9717327-5-2].  It lists 42 nordic and show shoe touring trails.  The authors toured 246 miles and over 8 miles up and down in the researching of this publication.   The book is available at local bookstores, at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, from Barnes & Noble.com, and from the authors' own website.   We make no attempt to duplicate the information published in this fine book.

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Excellent introduction to backcountry skiing at www.drones.com

Colorado Avalanche Information Center

General Information at www.cross-countryski.com


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