Cross country: Aspen-Snowmass alternative

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Cross country skiers cruise along in solitude Saturday morning at the North Star Nature Preserve, east of Aspen.
Dale Strode / The Aspen Times |

The skiing alternative in Aspen and Snowmass is open — and groomed.

The trails of the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System — some 60 miles in all — are all open for the season. And they’re free.

Yes free — something in Aspen and Snowmass that is, indeed, free.

The area cross country trails, linking Aspen to Snowmass Village, are groomed with regularity, especially now that a sufficient base has been recorded at all of the multiple trail system locations — including the North Star Loop at the North Star Nature Preserve, east of Aspen.

The loop along the stillwater stretches of the Roaring Fork River was groomed earlier in the week for skate-skiing. It was due for grooming again Saturday.

Regular grooming reports as well as trail descriptions for the system are available online at

The most popular trails in the system include the layouts at the Aspen Golf Course, just off Highway 82. Those trails include a dog-welcome trail — a more than-popular alterative for dogs (and owners). That’s Bernese Boulevard — rated beginner green for adults and dogs.

The Aspen Golf Course also is the location of the Aspen Cross Country Center with parking, rental gear, maps, etc.

The Aspen High School trails also are some of the local favorites in the Nordic system as they climb from the school campus up through the trees to the Aspen Highlands Ski Area and back down to the school neighborhood.

Trails there — and at most locations — are groomed for skate-skiing and classic skiing.

Trails also are groomed at the Maroon Creek Golf Course as well as the Snowmass Golf Course.

And the Owl Creek Trail — with the most difficult black rating — serves as the connection between the Nordic trails in Snowmass and the Nordic trails in Aspen.

Snowmass also has a doggy-rated trail — Labrador Lane. It’s accessible from the Snowmass Cross Country Center at the Snowmass Golf Course.

The extended link in the entire system is the Rio Grande Trail, which is groomed when conditions permit. The section from Woody Creek to the Arciero trailhead was groomed for classic and skating Saturday morning.

And the section from Arciero trailhead to Emma also was groomed Saturday for skate and classic.


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