Cascadia Contains Cross-Country Resorts Close To Metro Areas.

[Editor Note: This article by Pete Wilson first appeared in The Nordic Approach.] 

The Pacific Northwest of the contiguous US is a wonderfully strange bit of geography. The Western edge is home to the fjord-filled Pacific Coast, where long beaches and towering seaside rock formations make for otherworldly getaways. Go the other direction, East and inland, and the mountains await. The Coast, Cascade, Olympic and Columbia mountain ranges boast massive snowcapped peaks and thick, lush temperate rainforests at the lower elevations. All this is to say that the landscapes of Oregon and Washington are utterly unique, with highland regions that turn quite alpine in the winter months. A smattering of excellent Cross Country ski venues dots this snowy swath of Cascadia, which all offer a Nordic experience unlike any others. At these awesome centers, you can cross glaciers, gaze upon craggy horns of ice, bob beneath the snow-laden branches of ancient redwoods—all within driving distance of the bustling metropolises of Portland and Seattle, and the thriving maritime world of the coastline.

Methow Trails
METHOW TRAILS

With a staggering 200km of well-maintained terrain sprawled along the majestic Methow Valley, the Methow Nordic Ski Trail System is at the pinnacle of Pacific Northwest adventure. Not only do the near-endless trails (which are designed for fat biking and snowshoeing as well as skiing) wind their way to some breathtaking vistas and natural features, they incorporate plenty of climbs, drops and flats fit for skiers, bikers and shoers of every stripe and skill level. Bookended by the twin towns of Winthrop and Twisp—and yes, the town of Twisp exists, and is an awesomely artsy destination in its own right—visitors to the Methow valley will find plenty in the way of libations, delicious meals, and warm hospitality.

LEAVENWORTH WINTER SPORTS CLUB

Cradled in the heart of the Cascade mountains, this one-of-a-kind winter sports club offers everything from Nordic skiing, sledding and tubing to alpine skiing and fat biking. This wintery wonderland as all the infrastructure needed for such a slew of activities: two groomed ski hills serviced by rope tows, 26 kilometers of pristinely groomed Nordic terrain, dedicated Nordic trails, and even a 27-meter ski jump are all available to make lasting memories for Leavenworth visitors. With trail passes starting at $14, be sure to check out this Washington gem whenever you’re in the area.

Leavenworth Winter Sports Club
49 DEGREES NORTH NORDIC CENTER

Tucked away in the far Northeastern corner of Washington (as the name suggests), 49 Degrees’ gorgeous Nordic network expands out from the Cross Country Center, a large yurt with a spacious deck that overlooks the trails and ski school area. From there, 25km of wide, well-groomed trails roll along into hundred-year-old forests, crisscrossed by narrow snowshoe paths. A full rental lineup and certified ski instructors stand ready to make ski days special for skiers of every ability.

MT. BACHELOR NORDIC CENTER

Considered one of the premier Nordic centers in Oregon, Mt. Bachelor is a fully decked out Cross Country Ski Shop, with the ski terrain to match. Almost 60 km of widely varied terrain wind around the base of the big peak, offering stunning views of the snowcapped, glacial peaks, leg-burning climbs and heart-pumping drops. For those looking to get some off-season training or free skiing in, it is worth noting that Mt. Bachelor has the longest groomed Nordic season in North America.

Tea Cup Nordic
MT. HOOD MEADOWS NORDIC CENTER

Perched at the base of Mt. Hood, the Meadows Nordic Center takes full advantage of the excellent snow conditions it inherits from the glacier looming above it. 15 km of groomed and set track wind through woods and across meadows with Hood poised as a picturesque backdrop behind it. For a perfect blend of big mountain views with small ski center accommodations and attention to detail, be sure to swing by Meadows if you are in the Bend, OR area.

 

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Stephen Schneider says:

    What a gross oversight! Just across the street from Mt Hood Meadows Nordic is the non profit Teacup Nordic snow Park. With over 40 kilometers of piston bully groomed trails it offers far more challenging and easier areas more suitable for learning. I helped manage that area for almost 10 years, until 2018. Most of the trails are groomed for both skate and classic technique. The season almost always runs well into April and there are sections I have skied until the end of May! There is a very cozy wood fired heating stove in the cabin, and outdoor portapotties that are well maintained. It is all done under contract with the U.S. Forest Service. There is an onsite camera that you can access to see the snow before driving. And there is parking for over 100 vehicles and YES: on nice weekends it often fills UP by 10 A.M. but by noon plenty of spaces open (and quickly get filled in. ) There is no fee to ski there, although there are donation boxes on site and a requested donation amount. The donations have always covered the cost of all the grooming and maintan3ence, and all the help except for the grooming is volunteer. Check it out!
    Teacup Lake Nordic Club – Cross-Country Skiing at Mt. Hood …
    teacupnordic.org

  2. Avatar Roger Monty says:

    Not real close to major cities, but another wondeful Pacific NW XC venue, is Crater Lake NP. The access road to the Rim is kept open in winter (subject to occasional closures by major snow events, of course), but the around-the-lake rim road is closed. This means you can usually drive to the rim, park, and ski on the snow-covered closed rim road as far as you like. There is no commercially-operated groomed trail network, but it gets enough casual use so that there are usually adequate skier-packed trails you can use – mostly easy, almost-flat (it’s a HIGHWAY in summer, remember) terrain requiriing minimal expertise, on usually abundant, great cold-weather (i.e., “packed powder”) snow, offering great scenery everywhere you look. Facilities (at Rim) in winter are minimal (hotel closed, cafe / visitor center maybe open, maybe not), so bring your own “stuff”.

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