Guest blogger, Sarin from the Rocky Mountain Nature Association shares the great adventures that await in Rocky Mountain National Park on cross country skis. Beginners not be afraid; she shares how you can start this winter sport with instructor guidance and slow, low-grade slopes:
Just because Trail Ridge Road is closed to cars in the winter, doesn't mean you can't explore its wintertime splendor. The road and the sub-alpine forest it cuts through are there all year-round as habitat for beautiful birds, the illusive snowshoe hare, and many other animals. While up above 10,000 feet, don't forget to stop and enjoy the amazing views down into Horseshoe Park and Hidden Valley while gasping at the adventurous lines carved by back country skiers.
During the winter season there is no traffic on Trail Ridge Road, which crests at 12,183 feet, just you and your skis in Rocky Mountain National Park. When I ski up Trail Ridge Road in the winter, I think back to what it must have been like when the road was first built in 1931 and how awestruck everyone was with this highway to the sky. Skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park puts me in touch with the natural world, as I glide on top of the snow, look out over the mountains, and feel a smile come over my sun and wind-burned face. There is no other place I would rather be in the winter than skiing in the Park, whether it is cross-country or back-country, it doesn't matter to me as long as I am there in that moment.
There are great options for cross-country skiing in RMNP, but don't overlook the National Forest. Hermit Park and Pierson Park are great places to strap on your skis and get in a workout while enjoying the views. Don't have your own gear? No problem! Outfitters located in Estes Park will get you prepared for the perfect day on the snow!*Blog updated 12/29/16