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Best Nordic Centers in North America
By Sproule Love

Global warming promises to cause cross-country skiing buffs a lot of heartache, but for this winter at least they are loving every minute. Snow is piled high at all of the usual places—Rockies, Sierra, Upper Midwest, and New England—promising a ski season that runs well into spring.

With winter hanging on and visions of freshly groomed track dancing in our brains, GORP presents our list of the Top 10 Nordic areas so you can milk this winter—or any winter—for all that it's worth.

What makes for a great cross-country ski center? To our taste it starts with an even blend of difficult and easy trails. We also like diverse terrain, expert grooming, and reliable snow. And don't forget beautiful views, easy access, nice facilities, good rental equipment, and trailside or nearby lodging.

The intangible qualities that give a resort personality, though, are more difficult to describe. Like a trail whose contour feels so good to ski that it makes you laugh. Or a warm room at the lodge that is so welcoming you'll feel inclined to introduce yourself to everyone gathered around the wood stove. These 10 Nordic centers are special places where cross-country skiing is more than an end in itself.

What To Bring XC Skiing

Your primary concern out on the trail is staying warm, dry, and fueled, so bring the following whether you locomote via skating or a diagonal stride:

- Synthetic wicking layer of long underwear next to your skin

- Windproof shell (Gore-Tex doesn't breathe enough for Nordic skiers, so stick to plain old nylon or a lightly coated, water resistant shell)

- Hat

- Thin, comfortable gloves with grip in the palm

- Insulating layer, especially if you'll be taking breaks

- Snack (easy to digest, high in carbohydrates, and resistant to crushing, like energy bar or Fig Newtons)

- Water bottle

- Fanny-pack or small pack, with room for kickwax and a cork if you are classic skiing



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