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Downhill skiing is the main attraction, but both Vail and sibling Beaver Creek have world-class Nordic skiing and snowshoe programs that receive much less attention. This is a great thing to do on a midweek recovery day when your Alpine muscles need a break, or simply to experience the natural beauty of the Rockies, learn something new, or get a workout in. At Beaver Creek the unusual McCoy Park Nordic trail system is atop the mountain – you ride a lift to get there. They have a slate of half-day options, including snowshoe tours, telemark lessons, and cross country lessons or tours that can all be mixed or matched, any three for $199 in a 7-day period. In summer they turn it into guided hiking. At Vail, the Nordic School uses the adjacent White River National Forest as its playground. Every day they offer 2 ½ hour beginner cross country ski lessons, cross country ski tours, or snowshoe tours, all of them guided and with all equipment for just $89.