Swap your alpine skis for Nordic skis and hit the freshly groomed XC trails in Crested Butte during the 27th annual Alley Loop, Feb. 1-2. This Colorado Nordic ski race is the highest-altitude Nordic marathon in the U.S. and acts as a qualifying race for the classic American Birkebeiner, easily the country’s most notorious cross-country race held in the northwoods of upper Wisconsin on Feb. 23.
Nordic skiing may not typically be on your radar, but the Alley Loop festival highlights all the great parts about skiing: fresh air, dressing in costumes and drinking. The festivities begin on Friday, Feb. 1 with a fat bike/snow bike criterium at 3:30 p.m, followed by a pub ski (a pub crawl on Nordic skis) for thirsty riders or spectators. Bike tires must be a minimum of 3.7-inches thick, and registration is $15 per individual or $30 per team. To register for the pub ski, click here.
During the pub ski, participants are grouped into teams and taste their way through each bar with a series of quirky challenges or trivia questions. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 on the day ($5 for Alley Loop racers). Call 970-349-1707 or click here for more info.
The actual ski race, on Saturday, Feb. 2, is the culmination of the weekend’s silly shindig and takes place around a 1.5k, 3k, 5k, 10k, 21k or 42k course. The Nordic race begins at 9:15 a.m, and costumes and cheer squads are highly encouraged. To register, call 970-349-1707 or visit the event’s website.
The Nordic ski race also aligns with an in-town lodging package, offered by Elk Mountain Lodge. Save 15 percent on lodging and a winter-based guided adventure, as well as a $5 savings on any theraputic treatment at Creekside Spa through Feb. 14. Call Elk Mountain Lodge at 800-374-6521 to reserve the package.