Cross-Country Skiing in Steamboat Springs, Colorado
The way I view back-country skiing is it is basically getting my exercise while taking a hike in the woods with a few moments of exhilaration (or fear) as I turn in the undisturbed powder. The beauty and peace of the Colorado Mountains just can’t be beat.
Rabbit Ears Pass is one of my favorite haunts. It’s a 20 minute drive from Steamboat Springs to most of the trails which are frequented by skiers and folks on snow shoes. The National Geographic Trails Illustrated map #118 for Steamboat Springs Rabbit Ears has the cross-country trails clearly marked. You can find these maps at numerous shops in town including the Ski Haus.
The trailheads are all posted with large signs, descriptions, maps, and rules and regulations. The parking areas are kept clear of snow-you must park in designated parking areas. And, the best thing of all is the trails are clearly marked. Many, many times I have had to break trail the entire way but I have never been lost. It takes paying attention but you can do it. The markers are blue diamonds nailed to the trees. Sometimes the blue color is hard to see in bad weather so I have learned to look for oddly trimmed trees. If a trial marker is not clearly visible, the tree is trimmed. From a distance, the trimmed trees tend to stand out as not quite right. Depending on the year, bamboo poles are also placed in open fields to help guide you to the next blue marker.
If you are a beginner, start with Bruce’s Trail. If you want to make a few turns, try Walton Creek Repeater Road, and my favorite that just covers everything, is Fox Curve. The first few moments of Fox Curve are scary even for the expert skier. Veer off to the right and make it to the bottom, then find the trail.
Come play in Steamboat Springs!