We’ve had some early spring weather for the past several days which make us all ready to run outside and play! Conditions are great for cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Opportunities abound in and around Ouray. Within walking distance of town, numerous trails provide cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing access, to take in the special charm of our beautiful valley blanketed in snow. A short drive in either direction will open up more challenging winter backcountry terrain along with miles of groomed Nordic track.
Although some south-facing slopes and trails may melt off early, snow conditions for skiing and snowshoeing are generally reliable from early December until well into April. Be aware that the snow in the San Juans is extremely powdery, which makes for heavenly turns downhill but hellish trail breaking and postholing on the way up. Clear, deep blue sky days prevail, but beware that the weather can change rapidly. Dress appropriately in layers of synthetic material (cotton holds moisture and can cause serious hypothermia problems) and don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen.
If you don’t have the proper equipment, both cross-country skis and showshoes can be purchased or rented in Ouray at Ouray Mountain Sports on Main Street in Ouray. If you wish to call ahead of time, you can contact them at (970) 325-4284. Snowshoes only can be rented at Hawks Drift Guides. They also offer quided snowshoe tours in the San Juan and Cimarron Mountains. Call them for information during the daytime at (970) 325-7252 or evenings at (970) 626-5059.
Some cross-country ski areas around Ouray:
Beginner – conditions vary
Ouray Uncompahgre River Park Trail- North Ouray
Ridgway State Park
Beginner to intermediate-Marked & groomed trails
Ironton Park- Hwy 550 South of Ouray
Beginner to intermediate-Unmarked trails
Miller Mesa -Cnty Rd.5, Ridgway
Intermediate to expert-Unmarked trails
Ouray Amphitheatre- Hwy 550 South of Ouray