U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team picks top resorts

Last month, for a story on the continent’s best XC ski areas, I asked six members of the U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team to pick their favorite resorts.

“Cross-country skiing is not all uphills and flats and hard work,” said Andrew Newell, a 22-year-old member of the U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team who competed in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino. “This sport can be fast and gnarly if you know where to go.”

In addition to Newell, I queried athletes Torin Koos, Andrew Johnson and Kris Freeman; coach Chris Grover; and the team’s Director, Luke Bodensteiner.

The panel’s picks, which ranged from mom-and-pop ski hills in Vermont to mega-resorts and Olympic venues in the Rocky Mountains, represent a geographic spread of epic destinations.

Here are the team’s picks. . .
1. Silver Star Mountain Resort, British Columbia
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: Exceptional British Colombian snow; great trails; continuous professional grooming.) Click here to link to resort.

2. Mont-Sainte-Anne Cross-Country Centre, Quebec
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: You can go for hours without skiing on the same trail here. Total of 130+ miles of trails lacing the Laurentian forests northeast of Quebec City.) Click here to link to resort.

3. Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Vermont
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: Some of the best snow and one of the longest ski seasons of any East Coast resort. Miles of woodsy trails.) Click here to link to resort.

4. Methow Valley, Washington
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: Remote and beautiful, this is one of the largest cross-country ski centers on the continent.) Click here to link to resort.

5. Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort, California
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: Largest XC resort in North America. More than 200 miles of trails. Located in spectacular wilderness near Lake Tahoe.) Click here to link to resort.

6. Telemark Resort, Wisconsin
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: The area’s Bill Koch Trail, a 9-mile classic track, is one of the most unique and entertaining trails around. Friday evenings: ski tracks lined with candles.) Click here to link to resort.

7. Devils Thumb Ranch, Colorado
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: High-altitude cross-country resort on an 8,500-foot plateau. Socked in with snow for months on end.) Click here to link to resort.

8. Soldier Hollow, Utah
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: Exciting trails. Lots of tough climbs. High-speed downhills.) Click here to link to resort.

9. Sun Valley Nordic Center, Idaho
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: Perfect grooming. Perfect weather. Always sunny. 25 miles of trails through Rocky Mountain alpine meadows.) Click here to link to resort.

10. Trapp Family Lodge, Vermont
(U.S. SKI TEAM COMMENTS: Archetypal New England ski resort. 28 miles of groomed trails. More than 60 miles of back-country track.) Click here to link to resort.

Click here to link to the full story on Forbes.com.

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Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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