BRECKENRIDGE NORDIC CENTER
ABOUT THE NORDIC CENTER: Breckenridge Nordic Center is the closest permanent cross-country ski area to Colorado Springs. It is easily the most complete, challenging nordic ski area we've reviewed.
WHAT TO KNOW: The warming hut has good facilities including a small snack bar, a rental shop and a nice open area to change into your ski boots. There are separate snowshoe routes but many guests try to use the groomed trails anyway. The major shortcoming to the use of the area is the trail map. Unfortunately, there are no mileages, contours to indicate steeper terrain or a Legend to explain what the symbols depict. The routes are very hard to discern and are sometimes covered by other descriptions. The numbers on the trail map do not indicate what they are and seem to be more useful to recovering lost or injured skiers. Helpful Tip: There is a legend at the trail pass desk, so take a photo of it on your phone if you plan to explore.
GETTING THERE: From the intersection of Hwy 24 and I-25, head west on Hwy 24 to Hartsel and turn north on Hwy 9 to Fairplay and Breckenridge. In the Center of the downtown area of Breckenridge turn left onto Ski Hill Road. From downtown it is about a mile up to the nordic center on the right side of the road. Total distance from the Hwy 24/I-25 intersection is 103 miles. On busy weekends, plan to get there early because there is not much a parking lot.
ON THE TRAILS: The Gold Digger, Morning Glory and Beaver Meadows are great warmup trails. Once you get out from behind the warming hut, things become a bit more complex and challenging. The natural tendency is to go down through Ken’s Kavern (which goes under a city street) into the Troll Forest. There are a number of easy trails and one very challenging loop called “Shock Hill” (which goes over a city street). If that is not enough of a challenge, head north into the New Nordic World. Along the way, there are a number of sites and views to take in. These include Josie’s Cabin, Ken’s Kavern, the Olympians Bridge, the Hallelujah Hut and Kathy’s Viewpoint. There are two other access points at the Peaks Trail and a Forest Service Gate. The cost of a day’s ski is $25 (in 2019), with group and seniors' rates available.