Cross country skiing Rollins Pass by Jeff Russell ©

early season cross country skiing Rollins Pass Road by Jeff Russell

Here are some thoughts about the current Cross-country Backcountry skiing for the Thanksgiving period:

While some might consider it desperate, others determined, there is XC-BC to be had in the Grand County region. The scant 1-2″ left by the last storm on the valley floor is all but gone, leaving an impression of dried grassy ochre to predominate the landscape. Climb out of the valley and poke around on some northern aspects and there are logging roads and abandoned railroad beds that harbor enough snow for a good long early season, get-the-dust-off the-rock-skis kick and glide.

Deepest snow at this point is generally at and above 11,000′. A drive up Rollins Pass (Snow tires and 4WD a must) will lead you to good coverage from Riflesight Notch Trestle onward. High clearance vehicles may be able to forge further, but an incoming storm expected Monday or Tuesday (11/21-22) will likely make traveling further by vehicle less possible. Hopefully this storm will gift us with enough snow that we won’t have to look so hard for a place to get out for some early season skinny-ski sliding over the Thanksgiving weekend.