Cross Country Skiing

Cross Country Skiing Clubs & Trails

Looking for cross country skiing trails and cross country skiing clubs in Kootenai Country Montana? Here is a guide to those trails and clubs. Find trails from basic to advanced, and get together with other cross country skiing enthusiasts.

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With the Cabinet Mountain Wilderness Area, the Kootenai National Forest and mountain views all around into the Cabinets, Bitteroots, Selkirks, Purcells, Canadian Rockies, and the Salish Range, winter out in the country ski outings and opportunities abound. In our area there are three aspects of country skiing that one can get involved with in winter...

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The first is the classic cross-country skiing method that entails moving the skis parallel to one another, which is the topic of this writing. Most folks perform this classic style on groomed trails where two tracks are set in the snow. However, it is possible to cross country on semi groomed trails or without any type of grooming done on some surfaces. Abandoned roads, old logging roads, and golf courses are popular choices. If choosing this latter method, think about a group effort where each member of the team takes a turn at breaking trail. The other two aspects are skate skiing, which resembles skating and requires specialized skate skis and wide, well groomed trails, and back country skiing which is often done in alpine areas and necessitates rugged wide skis and excellent physical condition.

Most common is cross country, and whether groomed or non-groomed, Kootenai Country Montana offers many options. Nordic skiers smile as they shuffle along, burning calories and enjoying a blue sky day. One thing about cross country, the idea is to take your time, get some exercise, and take it all in. With relatively sparse numbers of people around,especially on weekdays, a casual ski can bring both peace and adventure! Following tracks and finding a kill site where a bobcat killed a grouse or spotting a Barred owl can add to the outing. There are outdoor educational programs available on both animal tracking and winter birding in Kootenai Country Montana.

We have several excellent ski trails in the area that are groomed, but we urge you to contact the Kootenai National Forest Supervisors Office or the District Offices for updates on grooming as schedules change. Trails include Cougar Ridge, Ross Creek and Sears Flat trails out of Three Rivers; Flatiron, South Flower Creek, and Bear Creek out of Libby District: Cabinet Trail out of the Cabinet district; Birch Creek Recreation Site in the Eureka / Rexford District and a trail behind the old Murphy Lake Ranger Station.

More information on South Flower Creek and Bear Creek can be obtained by going to:

• Kootenai Cross Country Ski Club website.

• Troy Club
website for information on trails in the Troy locale.

Boots, skis, and poles are a relatively reasonable layout, and package deals are common. Visit our local sporting goods stores and talk with the friendly staffs about gear, as well as checking ski-swaps and second hand stores. Good boots that fit with your winter gear socks are important, and the Nordic ski poles with cups at the tips can help with traction.

With a medium sized daypack full of fire starter, lunch, high energy snacks, hot beverages, extra layers, wool hat and gloves, first aid kit, map, sunglasses and sunscreen, even a 3-mile round trip ski does a body, heart, and soul good!

(Author’s Note: Reference-Cross Country Ski Magazine)