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Loppet 101: XC Ski Trail Etiquette

Just like we have rules of the road so we can all safely get to where we want to go, there are some rules of the ski trail that let us all play safely together in the snow.  These rules, aka trail etiquette, besides keeping us all safe, have the added bonus of making skiing more fun for everyone. So, in the spirit of keeping the trails fun, here is the trail etiquette we live by at the Loppet. Some of it may seem pretty obvious, but if you’re new to skiing, some of it may not. 

  • If you’re classic skiing please always use the classic tracks
  • In a passing situation, the person doing the passing should go outside of the tracks
  • If it’s you doing the passing, give the person you’re passing a little advance notice—a simple “passing on your left” or “passing on your right” is all you need to say.
  • Time for a break to refuel, rehydrate, or just catch your breath, do it next to the trail rather than on the trail
  • If you’re skate skiing, don’t skate over the classic tracks, someone cut those grooves with love, so treat them nicely!
  • Maybe you’ve heard the phrase “Stay in your lane”? Well, it’s good for XC skiing too, especially skate skiing. Do your best to maintain a straight line. 
  • Remember that natural snow trails are multi-use so you may encounter other folks not on skis out there.
  • Groomed trails with artificial snow are ski-only. For example, all the Loppet trails north of Wirth parkway are ski only.

A couple of final odds and ends:

  • Please only enter the trails at designated entrance points. During that hike from the parking lot to the trails your boots pick up salt and chemical so limiting the trail’s exposure to those things by only entering at the designated spots keeps the snow lasting longer
  • Fat bikers, we love you! If you’ve found your way to this article, remember that groomed Loppet trails are for skiing only except 6-9 pm Fridays and Saturdays. Also, please don’t ride over the classic tracks.

If you’ve an experienced skier these are probably familiar but if this is your first season on skiing, hopefully when you find yourself in any of these situations, you’ll know what to expect now. 

Thanks for reading!

Loppet 101: We created the Loppet 101 series to provide helpful tips and information for people just joining our community of runners, skiers, mountain bikers and outdoor adventurers. If there is a topic you would like to see covered, we’d love to hear from you! Send us a note at