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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
The Tennessee Pass Nordic Center is located at the base of Ski Cooper, which is nine miles northwest of Leadville.
The Nordic Center is privately owned and operated, thus there is a required trail fee.
Considering the fact that they groom every single day, the $15 fee is well-worth it! The owners are bikers as well as skiers and have allowed fat bikers on the groomed nordic trails for many years.
The 25 kilometers of trail are wide, so there is plenty of room for everyone.
The vast majority of the trail system is comprised of Blue (Intermediate) and Green (Easiest) level terrain.
In fact, only “Griz” and “Lung Burn” are rated Black (Expert) level. There is really something for every fat biker on this extensive trail system, from stiff climbs to gently-rolling hills to long, "Yahoo!"-type descents.
There is even some singletrack, groomed primarily for snowshoers, but fully available to fat bikers. The views are varied and beautiful, including expansive views of the Sawatch Range from the 4.5-mile “Fish Flats” Trail.
“Fish Flats” is a stacked triple loop that can be quite a challenge on a windy day.
The terrain is fairly mellow, but the same openness that provides stunning mountain views also allows the wind to howl on through.
The wind creates some interesting drifts to negotiate and can also decrease the temperature significantly, so pack extra layers! One of the best features of fat biking the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center trails is the Nordic Center itself.
It is a welcome luxury to have a warm building, with a roaring fire in the fireplace, to greet you at the end of hours out in the crisp, cold, Colorado air.
There is a place to change clothes, a coffee bar, libations, soups and sandwiches, and even rental bikes available.
If you want to extend your time there, check out the reservation-only Cookhouse for dinner, or even stay overnight in one of the Sleep Yurts. Any way you choose to do it, these trails are groomed to perfection and just beg to be ridden!