If you’re hankering for cross country skiing, head for Breckenridge

Cross country ski areas across Colorado are waiting not so patiently for enough snow — natural, manmade or both — to open for the season as high pressure and warm temperatures continue to dominate the state’s weather.

There is one exception: The Breckenridge Nordic Center is currently offering eight kilometers (five miles) of trails, and they hope to get another kilometer open by the weekend. None of the other four cross country areas in Summit County are open. Neither are Snow Mountain Ranch and Devil’s Thumb in Grand County, the Vail Nordic Center nor the Eldora Nordic Center near Nederland.

Breckenridge Nordic, which has been operated by the Dayton family since 1969, is independent of the Breckenridge ski resort but situated adjacent to it, near the base of Peak 8. Like the ski area, the nordic operation benefits from high elevation — the nordic center’s lodge is located 9,800 feet, and its terrain footprint reaches up to 10,800 feet — along with an advanced, automated snowmaking system.

“We have colder temps,” said Therese Dayton, Breck’s program director. “We’ve worked really hard with snowmaking experimentally. We’ve invested a lot in purchasing snow guns, and renting them. We’re a private entrepreneurial family for 53 years, and we have to be cutting edge. We don’t get paid if we’re not open, and our season pass holders have paid for the season. We have this obligation to do what we can.”

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