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Nordic Skiing in McCall: A First Timer’s Guide

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McCall, Idaho, is the perfect place for newcomers to experience the thrills and beauty of Nordic skiing. McCall offers miles of groomed trails, stunning mountain views, and incredible winter conditions that will make your Nordic skiing experience unforgettable.

Whether you’re a first time Nordic skier looking to explore the basics or are experienced on Nordic trails and are looking for a new challenge, McCall has something to offer you.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the different Nordic ski areas to explore and the necessary tips to make sure your first time Nordic skiing in McCall is a success.

So, grab your skis and hit the trails – it’s time to explore the winter wonderland of Nordic skiing in McCall!

What is Nordic Skiing?

Photo Credit: Parilov

If this is your first time jumping on a pair of Nordic skis, there are a few things you’ll want to know before you hit the trails. First off, have you ever heard of cross country skiing? If so, you do actually know what Nordic skiing is – they’re one in the same!

Unlike Alpine, or downhill skiing, Nordic is a style of skiing that happens on relatively even terrain, and may even include hills. It’s a great way to explore the great wintery outdoors while raising your heart rate.

More importantly, Nordic skiing is different in the way your boots attach to the skis. With Nordic skis, your boots’ toes are attached to the skis in a way that allows you to lift your heels off the skis.

Another difference is that Nordic skis are directional- unlike Alpine skis, which slide forwards and backwards, Nordic skis only go in one direction. The boots for Nordic skiing are also very soft, and much more comfortable than Alpine ski boots.

McCall, Idaho is home to an abundance of Nordic skiing terrain. With several ski areas and miles of cross country ski trails to explore, it’s no surprise that Nordic skiing has put this town on the map. Accessibility for all levels and affordable skiing rates make it impossible not to enjoy a winter in McCall.

Best places to go Nordic skiing in McCall

Ponderosa State Park

Ponderosa State Park offers miles of groomed trails and great views of the surrounding mountains. Chosen for the 2008 Masters World Cup, (a high-level worldwide Nordic skiing competition) Ponderosa Park is easily one of the top choices for Nordic skiing in McCall.

Jug Mountain Ranch

Another great spot is Jug Mountain Ranch, which has over 15 miles of groomed trails, as well as plenty of natural terrain for those looking for a challenge. Jug Mountain Ranch is entirely open to the public, and dogs are welcome on trails.

The Activity Barn

Offering over 6 miles of rolling terrain in a landscape filled with trees and ponds, The Activity Barn is a beautiful destination for Nordic skiing in McCall. Dogs are permitted on the trails, and you can take in views of Jughandle Mountain along with the West Mountain Range.

Bear Basin Nordic Center

Known for its astonishing views and smooth terrain, Bear Basin is another great option for Nordic adventures in McCall. Lyle’s Loop is a common favorite because of the views offered of Brundage Mountain.

Tamarack Resort

Tamarack Resort offers a mix of terrain, along with beautiful views of meadows and tall alpine forests. Conveniently, they also provide ski rentals, repair, and waxing. Dogs are also welcome at this resort. Tamarack ensures the highest quality terrain with nightly grooming and snowmaking to keep you skiing all winter long.

It’s also a great place to go snowshoeing.

Best seasons for Nordic skiing in McCall

Photo Credit: Sergii Kumer

Winter Season

The winter season in McCall stretches through as early as late November and sometimes into early May. Although skiing may be possible in these early months, typically the best conditions will be found in the deep winter months of January and February.

At this point in the season, the snowpack will be more firm, and most trails will have the best base of the season since they haven’t seen temperatures above freezing in some time.

Spring Skiing

Like most winter sports, Nordic skiing can occasionally be appreciated late into the spring season in McCall. If the snow sticks around, trails will stay open and skiing will continue.

It is important to remember, however, that due to higher temps snow cover may be sparse and the snow that is around tends to be wet and slushy.

Learn How to Nordic Ski

Photo Credit: Potashev Aleksandr

McCall is a great place to learn how to Nordic ski, as many resorts offer rentals and lessons making it accessible for all newcomers to try their hand at the sport.

Bear Basin

Bear Basin is a popular option for lessons- thanks to their certified instructors who have plenty of local knowledge. Although the name implies they are solely located at Bear Basin, they are certified to teach at any resort in the area. This makes it a versatile and very convenient option for anyone looking for lessons in the McCall area.

Payette Lakes Ski Club

Payette Lakes begins to offer Nordic lessons the week of December 20th, and continues to offer lessons all the way through mid-March. At $50 for a private lesson and $30 for a group, Payette Lakes Ski Club Nordic lessons are a perfect option for first-timers to the sport.

There is no better place to get the feel for these skinny skis and begin your journey into the sport, than Payette Lakes Ski Club under the eyes of their trained instructors.

Nordic ski rentals

Don’t have your own gear? Not to worry, there are plenty of options to pick from when it comes to rentals. Here are some great options for you to choose from:

Gravity Sports Idaho

Gravity Sports offers a full Nordic setup for only $25 for 24 hours. Or if you’re just out for the afternoon, half days go for $15. Discounts are provided for booking 3 consecutive days or more.

HomeTown Sports

The “go to” local sports store in the area, HomeTown Sports offers a full Nordic setup at the same rates as their neighbors at $15 for a half day, $20 for a full day, and $25 for 24 hours. When it comes to rentals, your experience is what’s important. Check out your options and choose what feels best to you.

Enjoy Nordic Skiing in McCall

The sport of Nordic skiing is incredibly popular in McCall, Idaho, and with a little bit of time, you will see why. McCall’s ski areas are just waiting for your arrival, so you can explore the plethora of trails and discover the winter wonderland through Nordic skiing.

Nordic skiing in McCall is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors during the winter season. So, if you’re ready to get in the winter spirit and experience the bliss of Nordic skiing, now is the time to do it in McCall, Idaho.

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