In 1984, Craig Ward, a former US Ski Team member, returned from racing in Europe to his childhood home of Aspen. He realized how similar Aspen was to Davos - large valleys heading south from town and another town, Snowmass Village, only 15 kilometers away. Why not connect the towns, as in Europe, with interesting cross country trails weaving across fields, over rivers, and through valleys of aspen and pine trees? And with this vision, the Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council was formed. A Board was assembled of Nordic enthusiasts and representatives from Aspen, Pitkin County and Snowmass Village, and the Aspen Skiing Company. The Board approached private landowners and negotiated easements such that there could be cross country skiing on the valley floors and also connect Aspen to Snowmass. Through generous support and community partnerships the system became a success and a model for many resorts across the US.
Today, with time, resources, enthusiasm, and dedicated visionaries, the Nordic Trail System is more European than ever. Aspen is now connected with Nordic trails to the towns of Snowmass Village, Woody Creek, and Basalt. The system consists of over 60 miles of FREE cross country skiing for the enjoyment of our residents and visitors. Our trails are now funded by Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, operated by the City of Aspen, and overseen by a volunteer board of Nordic enthusiasts, the non-profit Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council. In addition to advocating for Nordic skiing, the Aspen/Snowmass Nordic Council supports special trails projects to improve the overall skiing experience.
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