Nordic skiing, also called cross-country skiing, is a winter sport that combines scenic views, few crowds, and considerable cardio exercise. Unlike its cousin, downhill skiing, you won't waste time waiting in long lift lines or trying to avoid novices on the slopes. You ski at your own pace, cruise along groomed trails, or break your own ground, and you may climb to the top of a hill to enjoy the view before skiing down. North America boasts some of the best places for Nordic skiing, in both Canada and the US.
Located in Quebec, this resort offers over 130 miles of groomed trail ranging from broad easy trails for a relaxing route to "skate-skiing" trails for those who are looking for some speedy thrills. The season runs from November through April, so you can go cross-country skiing almost all fall, winter, and spring. The resort offers a variety of trails for all levels in the scenic woods of the Laurentian Mountains. Some tracks have been recently adapted for beginners and new tracks are being added all the time. The area also offers downhill skiing and ski boarding, and mountain biking in the off-season.
Northeastern Vermont offers some great skiing, especially if you want to explore the backcountry. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center provides backcountry instruction in addition to groomed trails that follow rivers, traverse frozen lakes, and climb to epic views. The resort is a 503-C non-profit with a commitment to sustainable practices, ecological management of the land, trails, and lake, and promote excellence in running, rowing, and Nordic skiing. During the off-season, you can go sculling or sailing on the lake or indulge your passion for running.
If you aren't near the coasts, you can still find some great Nordic skiing at Telemark Resort in northwestern Wisconsin. Sixteen looping trails take you through the woods and forests surrounding Mt. Telemark and you can also access the 27 mile Birkebiener Trail, believed by some to be the best long-distance trail in the world. The "Birkie," as it is known locally, was built for the use of skiers, hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers. The resort features a hotel and convention center and offers golf, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting when the snow melts. Nearby, you will find trails open to snowmobiles and ATVs as well.
Back in Canada, but now on the West Coast, the Silver Star Mountain Resort was host to the 2005 World Cups and boasts over 3000 skiable acres. You can ski the World Cup trails, or choose the calmer cruising trails. This high-altitude resort gets over 23 feet of new snow every winter so you can look forward to fresh powder almost any time. Silver Star has the most open ski runs of any resort in North America, with over 100 open downhill runs and numerous Nordic trails and offers downhill skiing and snowboarding in addition to Nordic skiing. Located at the northern end of British Columbia's wine country, you can sample the fines wines after a cold day on the slopes.