Bruce’s Trail is now open for skiing |

Bruce’s Trail is now open for skiing

Members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club get an early season workout in on Bruce's Trail on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Eugene Buchanan

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The first trail of the season is open.

Bruce’s Trail, a Nordic trail near the West Summit of Rabbit Ears Pass, opened Sunday, Oct. 20, with 6 inches of base snow. Wintry conditions have added to the snow coverage since then.

Five members of the Steamboat Springs Nordic Council have divided up the grooming responsibilities, and the trail was last groomed Wednesday morning. Due to some afternoon snow, Bruce’s will be groomed again Thursday morning.

Birgitta Lindgren, director of the Steamboat Nordic Center, said the trail will be groomed after each snow. The Colorado Department of Transportation plowed the parking lot Tuesday afternoon.

“Currently they’re groomed for skating early,” she said. “As a general rule of thumb, it’ll be groomed every time it snows.”

For a daily trail report, skiers can go to

Bruce’s Trail is located on U.S. Highway 40 about a mile northeast of the West Summit trailhead. The trail is a little over 3 miles long and includes an upper loop and a lower loop, the lower being the longer and more difficult.

Not only does the early opening allow recreational skiers to enjoy the first snow of the season, but the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club uses the trail for training. 

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross country skiers take advantage of the early snow on Bruce’s Trail on Tuesday, Oct. 22.
Courtesy Brian Tate

Brian Tate, the SSWSC cross country program director, spent Tuesday morning grooming Bruce’s Trail. Tate is part of the Steamboat Nordic Council. Later in the day, Tate took a group of cross country and Nordic skiers up the pass and onto the trail.

“It’s a real valued amenity for both the Nordic combined and cross country programs here at the Winter Sports Club but also for the community as a whole. People get jazzed up for the early season,” Tate said. “It’s a great thing to get more time on snow. The more experience we have, it just adds to the improved skill levels. You can’t be up there 12 months of the year, obviously, but we definitely get the jump on most other programs.”

Other skiers travel great distances to take advantage of the early snow. 

“It’s very popular. We’ve found a lot of ski teams (University of Colorado, (Denver University) will drive over here,” Lindgren said. “A group from Laramie, a group from Fort Collins and a lot of times people from Grand County, Granby, come and enjoy it as well. We’ve even had the New Mexico ski team drive up here, so they can ski.”

Bruce’s Trail, which has been open since 1992, is notoriously the first trail in the area open for skiing. In years past, it’s opened as early as September. While Oct. 20 is pretty average as opening days go, the amount of snow on the ground is pretty unusual.

Additional Nordic trails will soon be available. The Steamboat Ski Touring Center will open for business Nov. 7. The trails there and at Haymaker will open when there is sufficient snow coverage.

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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