Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Lodge-to-Lodge Cross-Country Skiiing Washington's Methow Valley

Whenever I return from a cross-country ski trip, I hail the sport as one of my favorite activities. The superlatives I use to describe my delight upon gliding through a silent forest, picniking in huts with scenic views, overnighting at lodges snuggled amongs pine trees, and finding out that a week of cross-country skiing is amazingly inexpensive somehow are not attractive to commited downhill skiers or sedentary folk alike. The uniform reason they express: Cross-country skiing is just too much work. Sure, it's a sport that burns calories galore (almost 500 calories/hour if you ski slowly) and it's a full-body exercise. And then there are all those hills that you have to surmount.





But, what many people don't realize is that it's possible to find flat cross-country trails through pristine landscapes. I found one of these places: the Mazama trail system in Washington's Methow Valley. Anyone in reasonably decent shape can ski (even slowly) a mere two to five miles between lodges. That's what I did. I've already posted about my stay at one of those lodges, the North Cascades Basecamp. But, you can read about my four-day trip on the Huffington Post where I've provided a slide show of the four lodges I visited as well as images of what to expect along the way. It might help change your mind that cross-country skiing is an adventure reserved for Olympians.

24 comments:

Brette Sember said...

I like to cross country ski but haven't done it in years. I do want to get back to it.

Alexandra said...

My husband is a Swede and would love this place. Thanks for the tip.

Sheryl said...

I don't know why, but I've yet to try cross country skiing. Maybe it's because I hate the cold? But I'd think along with burning all those calories comes a good amount of body heat as a way to stay warm. Next winter, perhaps (?)

ruthpennebaker said...

I've always wanted to cross-country ski (especially after spending hours on my butt, cold and soaked, failing to learn to downhill ski). This looks wonderful.

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart said...

I've never done one, but there are many lodge-to-lodge adventures in the Colorado mtns too.

JTravel said...

Hi Brette, This would be a great place to get back into xc skiing. The flat terrain is quite appealing.

JTravel said...

Hi Alexandra, Cool. Glad you'll share this post with him. Sweden has some amazing Nordic trails.

JTravel said...

Hi Sheryl, I'm not fan of the cold either. But, I don't mind it when I'm skiing because, once you get going, it can get quite warm.

JTravel said...

Hi Ruth, I much prefer xc to downhill skiing. I started as a downhill skier, but with the high lift ticket prices, out-of-control skiers and the environmental issues I have with downhill ski resorts, Nordic skiing is now my fave winter activity.

JTravel said...

Hi Roxanne, I love the hut-to-hut skiing in Colorado, too. In the U.S. there are so many lodge-to-lodge ski options to choose from.

Alisa Bowman said...

I haven't done it in a while, but it is really beautiful to ski through fresh snow. It's so quiet and the skis make a repetitive lulling sound as they move through snow. I often just got to a local park and ski on the running trail when it's covered by snow.

JTravel said...

Hi Alisa, I find cross country skiing can be very meditative. And skiing on running, walking or bicycle trails in town is a great way to enjoy the sport. Whenever I find myself on a snow-covered urban trail, I always wish I had my skis with me.

Living Large said...

I wish I could like snow, but I just don't. Cross country skiing does sound like a good workout, though!

Casey@Good. Food. Stories. said...

Like you, I much prefer cross country to downhill skiing. I feel so much more in control when I'm not hurtling down a hill! Plus, like you mentioned, cross country gives you an excellent opportunity to enjoy the scenery.

JTravel said...

Hi Living Large, I understand. When I'm in NYC, I hate the snow after the first day of new fallen snow. It's hard to get around quickly, especially with the snow-blowers piling snow against parked cars and beside many crosswalks.

JTravel said...

Hi Casey, It's funny that I feel more in control on xc skis -- even when I'm sking downhill -- than I ever do on downhill skis.

Jane Boursaw said...

What a great trip - and gorgeous pictures. We do love our x-country skiing up here in Michigan.

JTravel said...

Hi Jane, Glad you liked the images. I've bicycled the U.P. but have never cross country skied in Michigan. I'd love to check out the trails there.

Home Property said...

Those pictures look amazing, especially the snowy trees! It is somehow pure and kind of fairy. Real beauty!

Donna Hull said...

I'm a cross-country beginner. But now that Alan and I are moving to the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, we'll have plenty of winter to practice the sport. I'm bookmarking your post. A flat course of hut to hut skiing in the Pacific Northwest just might be in our future.

Kris @ Attainable Sustainable said...

I've never skied cross country, but I like the idea of going lodge to lodge rather than having to know when to turn back!

JTravel said...

Hi Home Property, Glad you enjoyed my photos. I can't get enough of snow-covered trees.

JTravel said...

Hi Donna, The Bitterroot Valley is supposed to be lovely. Enjoy.

JTravel said...

Hi Kris, I've always liked a lodge-to-lodge trek, whether skiing, cycling or hiking. It gives me a good sense of progress and it's always fun to look forward to the next lodge.