Many of us who are active hikers, bikers and outdoor enthusiasts tend to get a case of the winter blues. Finding activities when the Rockies are covered in snow can be challenging, especially for those of us who do not enjoy the crowds or expense of downhill skiing or snowboarding at the big resorts. This past weekend, a few of our Jax employees decided to try out cross country skiing and stay overnight in a Yurt in Colorado State Forest State Park to get rid of those winter blues.
Renting gear from Jax was really easy, and affordable. We offer snowshoe and cross country ski rentals for all ages and abilities. Both sports are easy to try out on your own, although cross country skiing takes a little more balance than snowshoeing. Our helpful staff will show you how to use your gear, and can offer advice on nearby trails and the proper clothing and equipment to keep safe in winter.
A short 2 hour drive up Highway 14 (Poudre Canyon) took us to the west side of Cameron Pass and to the Moose Visitor Center. Here we were able to speak with State Park Rangers about road and trails conditions, pick up great maps of the area and leaner about local wildlife from the great displays. We decided to head out on the Gould Loop trail, a 5 mile loop trail which travels over flat terrain through open meadows along streams and wetlands. This is a great place to view the mountain peaks and look for moose in the wetlands.
Our group was mixed with 1 experienced skier, 1 novice and 1 who had never been on cross country skis. The blue skies and sunshine, fresh snow and the right equipment from Jax made for a perfect day of skiing in the mountains, even for a group with mixed abilities.
After a few hours on the trail it was time to head over to our Yurt in North Park a few minutes away. These yurts can be reserved through Never Summer Nordic website year round and and are a great way to immerse yourself in a winter mountain experience without being a backcountry camping expert.
With 360 degree views of Colorado peaks surrounding North Park glowing pink in the evening sunset, a wood fire burning in the stove and hot chocolate in our bellies, the yurt was a perfect home base for relaxing and recharging after a day of activity.
The next day we headed up to Cameron Pass to explore the Michigan Ditch Trail with fresh snow falling all around us. This great trail is located at a higher elevation than the Gould trail, but is easy to follow and perfect for beginning cross country skiers and snowshoers.
Heading home with some tired muscles and smiling faces we were already planning our next trip up to the mountains for more Winter exploring.