Sometimes you are up for a new adventure, or fighting the lift lines at the slopes just doesn’t fit your plans for the day. Fortunately, most ski resorts in Colorado offer more than just acres for downhill turns. North of Keystone Resort off Highway 9 you will find the Keystone Nordic Center. With snowshoe trails, groomed tracks for skate and classic skiing and even a tubing hill, there is a something to inspire everyone.
My husband AJ, six-month old daughter Emma and I headed to the Nordic center a few weekends ago. We picked a clear and windless blue bird day. With such ideal conditions, the center was busy but we were greeted right away. The staff was working efficiently meeting each customers needs from getting the correct length of poles to handing out snowshoes and maps with suggestions for appropriate routes.
Jana, a former cross country Olympian representing Czechoslovakia in 1976, greeted us with a big accent but an even bigger smile. AJ rented skate ski equipment and we added a Pulk sled for Emma. Once AJ was outfitted, Jana highlighted a map of the best and safest routes for our family. She even helped us set up the Pulk sled making Emma smile while we fidgeted with the straps.
We began on the learning loop to make sure Emma was secure and to refresh our own skills. It has been over 2.5 years since my husband and I have skate skied. Now, AJ also had the task of pulling Emma and a sled on rented gear. During the practice loop, we could see and hear families enjoying the tubing hill. That laughter brought back memories of childhood treks up the hill and fast descents.
Emma was secure and smiling after our lap around the learning loop, so we decided to keep going following the path Jana recommended. We took the intermediate trail Buffalo hooking up with the advanced/intermediate trails of Fox Trot and Norwegian Way before heading back to the lower part of the learning loop.
After skiing, we enjoyed lunch at the Soup Bistro. The chef makes three soups from scratch daily including vegetarian options with fresh rolls. A large selection of beverages from coffee and hot cocoa to soda and beer are also available. I enjoyed the leek while AJ gave the minestrone thumbs up. It was the perfect way to refuel after a fun day.
The next time you want to do something different than hitting the slopes, consider spending the day at Keystone Nordic. With beginner trails, kids rentals and Pulk sleds, the every member of the family can be involved. The center offers lessons from private to family and children's lessons for classic and skate style skiing. They also have private telemark lessons. Guided snowshoe tours are available. Check the website for special events throughout the season too.
For more information on the Nordic center, check out the website.