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Enjoying Adventures in Nature in Colorado

Colorado is an exquisite vacation destination for those who wish to deepen their connection with nature. From grand mountain landscapes, to over 960 different species of wildlife, there’s no better place for nature enthusiasts to rejuvenate their mind and body.

Whilst skiing, snowboarding, and other adrenaline-fuelled snowsports allow you to experience the beauty of a mountain, it can be difficult to fully immerse yourself in nature. The high speeds, powder flying in all directions, and loud groups whizzing past you, make interacting with wildlife almost unachievable.

Bucket list animals, such as elk or bald eagles, are unlikely to be seen in busy areas. To experience a new kind of adrenaline rush – getting up close and personal with these majestic creatures – requires patience, quiet surroundings, and less-frequented terrain.

Colorado’s Quiet Wildlife Hot-Spot

A moose surrounded by snow

A tranquil haven for winter wildlife is tucked away in the charming ski town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Whilst this bustling mountainside community always has an exciting event taking place, there are many peaceful pockets of secluded terrain, undisturbed by noisy winter sports.

Reaching these hidden oases, teeming with wildlife, can be difficult-to-impossible to reach on foot in the winter. Deep snow covers every inch of even the most popular hiking trails. Throughout the winter season, intrepid explorers brave these undisturbed trails using snowshoes or cross-country skis.

Whilst snowshoeing offers wonderful opportunities for absorbing your natural surroundings, bulky snowshoes crunching through the snow can scare animals away. Cross-country skiing, sometimes called Nordic skiing, is quieter and therefore the perfect choice if you’re hoping to catch a glimpse of unusual Colorado wildlife.

Here at The Astrid, we’re passionate about giving adventure seekers like you the opportunity to enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences in nature. We’ve created this guide to cross-country skiing in Steamboat Springs, so that you can get up close and personal with Colorado’s vibrant winter wildlife without making a sound.

Getting Started With Cross-Country Skiing

A cross country skier walks towards the sun

The main difference between cross-country skiing and downhill skiing, is the method by which you scale and explore the mountain. Downhill skiing requires riding a ski lift or gondola to the top of a mountain peak, and then skiing down (sometimes at a very fast pace.) Whereas, cross-country skiing in Colorado is far more suitable for those who want to get up-close-and-personal with nature.

In cross-country skiing, you use your own movement to go up, down, and across the mountain, exploring both smooth and hilly terrain. This method is a lot slower than downhill skiing, but is just as physically demanding.

Due to the different terrain and movements you make whilst cross-country skiing in Colorado, an ordinary pair of skis, boots, and bindings won’t do. Cross-country skiers require a binding that only attaches to the ski at the very tip of the boot, allowing for the back of the foot to elevate, giving you a comfortable and natural gait.

Depending on the terrain you wish to tackle, you will need different shaped skis too:

  • Skate skis are perfect for gliding along smooth terrain
  • Classic skis are great for running and walking across bumpier trails
  • Light touring skis are ideal for exploring backcountry terrain with untouched, deeply packed snow
  • Backcountry touring skis are great for exploring ungroomed tracks, but aren’t suitable for making downhill turns

Here at The Astrid we’re proud to have an exclusive partnership with the Switchback Sports team who will be kitting out The Astrid’s residents with the freshest cross country ski gear in our private ski locker room.

Accessing Secluded Areas in Steamboat Springs

A deer surrounded by snow

Steamboat Springs offers a number of off-the-beaten-path trails for cross-country skiers in Colorado to explore. Each of these areas boast vibrant winter wildlife that would normally be scared away by noisy snowshoers. Cross-country skiers can silently glide through these habitats to interact with wildlife in a way you may never have done before.

    • Steamboat Ski Touring Center provides novice cross-country skiers in Colorado with private lessons and guided backcountry tours to help you feel confident when exploring the slopes. The Fish Creek snowshoeing tour is a favorite at the Center, due to the picturesque views and unmatched opportunity to observe bears, moose, and elk from a safe distance. The Center is famous for its delicious lunches, perfect to fuel up after a morning of learning new skills. 
    • Steamboat Lake State Park is the perfect winter wildlife escape. 7 miles of trails are flanked by Hahn’s Peak and Sand Mountain, offering breathtaking views in every direction. The lake is teeming with iconic brown trout, and if you’re lucky you might spot a majestic bald eagle gliding overhead.
    • Rabbit Ears Pass offers a network of non-groomed backcountry trails, dense forests, and glorious open meadows. The further you make your way through the trail, the less crowded it becomes, until you are the only people around as far as the eye can see. This trail is perfect for experienced cross-country skiers who fancy a challenge – be sure to bring a picnic as there are no facilities nearby.

An Unmissable Winter Wildlife Retreat
A woman in a red vest smiles next to her skis and ski poles

Without a doubt, cross-country skiing is the best way to get up close and personal with wildlife in Colorado. Cross-country skiing offers you unmatched opportunities to adventure through unexplored terrain and quietly observe animals in their natural habitat. Steamboat Springs is the ideal setting for both beginner and experienced cross-country skiers who are ready to immerse themselves in Colorado’s vibrant array of winter wildlife.

Here at The Astrid, we’ve carefully created our space at the foot of Mount Werner to exist in harmony with nature, contributing towards the ongoing flourishing of the mountain. We aim to ensure that Steamboat remains a premier destination for nature lovers in every season.

We’d love to invite you to explore what Steamboat Springs has to offer, by inviting you to become part of The Astrid community. Our community is a collective of like-minded nature enthusiasts who are determined to make unforgettable mountainside memories, no matter the season.

To join our community, simply provide us with your name and email address. By doing so, you’ll be invited to join our exclusive mailing list. As part of this list you’ll gain access to insider information, behind-the-scenes content, and a highly personalized email experience reserved only for members of The Astrid community.

Join The Astrid’s Exclusive Community 

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