Life on the Mountain
Nordic Town’s Newest Offering
The Croy Canyon Nordic Circuit
For Sun Valley’s Nordic Festival, which begins on January 26th,all eyes will be on the "Nordic Town U.S.A." Most events will be held in and around Sun Valley/Ketchum, such as the Masters races at Sun Valley Nordic, the Banff Film Festival and Ketchum's Downtown Jam and Sprints and the Boulder Mountain Tour’s (BMT) award ceremonies at the Sun Valley Inn. Yet what shouldn’t get overlooked by all those skiers traveling to Sun Valley, or north to Galena and Alturas Lake, are that events actually kicks off with the free annual Ski the Rails party in downtown Hailey, which is just a short hop, skate and jump away from the Valley's newest Nordic skiing facility: the nine kilometers of new trails that meander out Croy Canyon.
Nestled at the base of Lion's Park in Hailey, below the sharp ridgeline of Della Mountain, Croy Nordic is a gem; on a sunny Saturday morning there’s ample parking and nine kilometers of wide open, freshly groomed trails, including a warming yurt, sledding hills and a separate ski area for those with dogs. Croy Nordic was created to replace Quigley Canyon, which was made unavailable to the public in 2012 and had been a destination for thousands of skiers for a laudable 10 years. Hailey’s newest addition to Nordic Town U.S.A.’s extensive trail network came at the right time. The length of trails will be much the same, but the experience will be vastly different as Quigley trails were located in an alfalfa field without much elevation change, while Croy Nordic trails have rolling hills and variable terrain, which will lend itself to great skiing this winter. Croy Nordic also has a great solar aspect, says Eric Rector, director of trails and facilities at the Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD). So expect lots of sun while you ski. Operated and maintained by the BCRD, Croy Nordic is a extraordinary collaboration between BCRD and the private and public owners of Croy Canyon, which include the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation, the City of Hailey, the Blaine County School District and the Simons Family.
Also, abutting Croy Nordic and accessible through Lion’s Park, is the Draper Preserve and the Croy Creek Wetlands Boardwalk. Not simply an amusement park wholly dedicated to cross-country skiing, Croy Nordic is a complement to both of these restorative projects. Nature and sport in partnership — just as the Wood River Land Trust and BCRD partnered in making the new trails a reality. Further, says the Wood River Land Trust, with a completion of the Bow Bridge, an artistic footbridge that opened in October and spans the Big Wood, “the city of Hailey is now truly connected to its unique river environment in both the winter and summer seasons.”
So if you’re searching for a quieter experience this winter, whether on classic or skate skis, go discover the new terrain for all skill levels, as well as the natural sights and sounds, available at Croy Nordic. There’s something for everyone, with dog-friendly trails and a warming yurt stocked with hot chocolate and couches to rest weary thighs. Accessible, picturesque and locally-focused, Croy Nordic ought to be every visitor’s first stop before attending the Nordic Festival, a rootsy day of cross-country skiing on empty trails.
Croy Nordic is open daily from dawn to dusk. To ski Croy Nordic Trails, purchase a BCRD Nordic Trails Season Pass or purchase a Croy Nordic Day Pass for $10 at the facility or online at http://www.bcrd.org/trail-passes.php.