This Colorado Getaways report first aired in 2010. It aired again during a Getaways show in February 2011.
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS) – Cross-country skiers have been enjoying skiing on the world’s largest flat-top mountain for decades. At the Grand Mesa, located just an hour from downtown Grand Junction, the ski season begins as early as Halloween and can last well into April.
Christie Aschwanden coaches the newly-formed Mesa State College nordic ski team, which trains on the Mesa.
“I’ve lived all over the world, skied a lot in Europe, ski raced in Europe and Canada all over North America, and we have the best skiing in the world,” said Aschwanden.
Team member Amanda Moore grew up in Atlanta. She said the snow is unbelievable.
“I don’t even think people back east could imagine what kind of conditions we have here. The snow’s unlike anywhere else in the country, and most of the time we have these bluebird days where it’s just beautiful and sunny and pretty warm, and the snow of course is always just perfect,” said Moore.
Al Fourier helps groom and maintain the trails. He and Leslie Brodhead belong to the Grand Mesa Nordic Council, which manages 55 kilometers of trails across the mountain.
“People think of it as being totally flat, but we have some nice undulating terrain up here, nothing too steep,” said Fourier.
“Out this way we can see the Roan Plateau and the Bookcliffs, and right over here you can see the tops of the La Sal mountains out in Utah which is at least 50 miles away, so you really do have some amazing views up here,” said Brodhead.
There is something for everyone, even downhill skiers, in the Grand Mesa.
“So within an hour you can choose to downhill ski, cross-country ski, snowshoe and then in summer incredible hiking. You feel removed from the city and come up here to escape,” said Jennifer Grossheim Harris, spokeswoman for the Grand Junction Visitors and Convention Bureau.
Reach the Grand Mesa from I-70 east of Grand Junction. Follow Highway 65 up and over the mesa, there you’ll find three groomed trail systems. You’ll also find several back country trails. There are no fees for skiing the trail of the Grand Mesa, but the Nordic Council gladly accepts donations.
Visit Grand Mesa Nordic News for the latest updates.
Plan your next visit to the Grand Junction area by logging on to VisitGrandJunction.com or call the visitor and convention bureau toll free at (800) 962-2547.
Learn more about Powderhorn ski area in the area in our story Powderhorn Resort Offers Unusual Ski Views.