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Robert Walters of Medford, left, and fellow members of the Crater Lake Ski Patrol stay abreast of trail conditions with a spirited day of skiing last winter at Crater Lake National Park. - Mail Tribune file photo

Cross-country skiing at Crater Lake

If you're going to put all that work into cross-country skiing, why not do it where the scenery is eye-popping.

Winter at Crater Lake National Park can be extreme, from whiteouts to warm sunny days, but when the weather cooperates, there's nothing better than schussing at the edge of the steep caldera that surrounds the bluest lake in the world.

It's one of those places almost always guaranteed to have enough snow, with an annual average of about 44 feet and sometimes climbing well above 100 feet.

When the weather gets a little unsettled, you can always escape to the nearby trails that sneak through the trees and shelter you from the wind.

Trails are not groomed, and after a snowfall you may be the person who has to break a new track, but who wouldn't want to put in the effort for a chance at this kind of beauty?

Most routes start near the Rim Village parking lot, but the more adventurous skier may want to try a circumnavigation of the entire lake.

Frommer's guidebook says Crater Lake has "some of the best cross-country skiing in the country."

Get trail information at www.frommers.com/destinations/craterlakenationalpark/ or from the Ski Mountaineer, www.skimountaineer.com/CascadeSki/CascadeSki.php?name=CraterLake.

Writer Bill Miller lives in Shady Cove. Reach him at newsmiller@yahoo.com.

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