Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-Country Skiing

Explore winter trails on cross-country skis this winter!

The Mountaineers offers a variety of cross-country ski trips. Choose trips based on your ski equipment, ski ability, pace, and fitness. Trips are generally "classic" style unless specified as a skate ski trip in the leader's description. Trip pace varies by leader. Leaders set the parameters of each trip based on trail difficulty, skill set needed, pace and type of ski equipment. Some ski trips require Leader Permission. These trips usually require specific prerequisite skills having to do with ski level, pace, and/or equipment.

Cross-country skiing trips are split into two categories - groomed (G-XC) and un-groomed (U-XC). If you have any questions about your skill or fitness to participate in a trip, contact the leader.

Groomed Cross-Country Ski Trips (G-XC)

Rating Mileage    
Elevation Gain Effort/Trails Pace Skills
G-XC 1* Instructional Groomed 3-6 mi Minimal; flats Easy; flat beginner trails (green) Slow w/ frequent stopping Must have some prior ski experience and move forward on skis.
G-XC 1 Beginner Groomed 4-8 mi Minimal to include short, gentle hills Easy; beginner trails (green) Moderate steady pace
(2 mph+)
Balance, diagonal stride; wedge/snowplow for speed control.
G-XC 2 Advanced Beginner Groomed    
6-10 mi Some moderate, short hills 500-1,000 ft Moderate; beginner and intermediate trails (green & blue) Steady pace
(3 mph+)
Diagonal stride, herringbone up hill, side-step up or down hill; wedge/snowplow turn.
G-XC 3 Intermediate Groomed 7-12 mi 1,000-1,500 ft   Strenuous; intermediate (blue) with short harder (black) trails Steady, continuous (3.5-4 mph) with fewer breaks Efficient diagonal stride, herringbone, side-step, wedge turns, step in and out of tracks when moving, confidently ski up and down hills on a variety of terrain.
G-XC 4 Advanced Groomed 7-15 mi 1,000 ft and greater Strenuous; some challenging/expert trails (blue & black)   Continuous quick pace with few breaks
(4-5 mph)
Ability to ski down steep curvy hills; kick turns and step-turns and paced diagonal stride.

Un-Groomed Cross-Country Ski Trips (U-XC)

  • These routes are typically non-groomed logging roads and/or shared-use trails, and can be off-track.
  • Equipment: XC touring skis with partial or full metal edges are recommended (narrow track skis are not appropriate); stiff touring boots with high cuff for support and to keep out snow; poles with bigger snow baskets.  
Rating Mileage    
Elevation Gain Effort Skills
U-XC 1 Beginner Ungroomed 3-6 mi 0-500 ft Easy Beginner w/ ability to move forward, speed control on gentle hills.
U-XC 2 Advanced Beginner Ungroomed 3-7 mi 1,000 ft Moderate Side-step up or down hill; snowplow to control speed, stop and turn.
U-XC 3 Intermediate Ungroomed    
5-12 mi 1,500 ft Strenuous Herringbone, kick turn & traverse, side slipping.
U-XC 4 Advanced Ungroomed 7-15 mi >2,000 ft   Very Strenuous Very reliable control, turns & stops on steep hills in a variety of snow conditions; efficient and quicker paced diagonal stride.

Find Cross-Country Skiing Trips

Our Mountaineers leaders have also compiled a Western Washington Cross-Country Skiing Resource Guide for anyone looking to spend more time outside on skinny skis.

Cross-Country Skier Etiquette

Cross-Country Ski Resource Guide