TENNESSEE PASS NORDIC CENTER
WHAT TO KNOW: History and recreation are combined at Tennessee Pass and the training grounds for the 10th Mountain Division. The reward for making this effort is food service at the warming hut, Ski Cooper or Leadville. An extravagant reward would be an evening meal at the Cookhouse after a 1.8 km ski into the facility. The entrance to Ski Cooper and the Nordic Center are at the pass, as is the Memorial to the Mountain Division. The Nordic Center shares a parking lot with Ski Cooper but is a separate operation with a warming hut and groomed trails. The daily charge to use the trails is $15 (2018).
GETTING THERE: The instructions to reach the Center are deceptively easy - Take Hwy 24 west for 134 miles and turn into the parking lot. But along the way you have to turn north before Buena Vista, drive through Leadville and turn west just north of the town.
ON THE TRAILS: Pick your degree of difficulty and enjoy. We skied the 10th Mountain Trail as a warmup loop and Larry’s Loop, Cooper Loop and Willa’s Way. If you are going to the Cookhouse, both Willa’s Way and Cooper Loop are uphill going and downhill coming back. Helpful hint: The Cookhouse is by reservation only, so call ahead if that is on your bucket list. The views from the trails are most spectacular and include the highest peaks in the state. Once you descend out of the trees into Crane Park, the Fish Flats Loops offer 7km of relatively flat trails for good skating. The Center does, also, provide separate snowshoeing routes to deconflict different activities. Be aware that he trails may also be used by snowmobiles resupplying the Cookhouse. There are several trails across Hwy 24 that are not maintained but reach out to several of the 10th Mountain Huts Association facilities.