Local cross-country areas made many improvements and changes for this season.
Local touring centers include: Bear Notch Ski Touring and Snowshoe Center (374-2277); Bretton Woods Ski Touring (278-3322), now directed by former Williams College racer Ellen Chandler; Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center (466-2333); King Pine Nordic Reserve (367-8896); Jackson Ski Touring (383-9355), which has a new touring center director, Breanne Torrey, who has been with the center since 2009, following the retirement last spring of longtime director and visionary Thom Perkins; and Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring (356-9920).
• GREAT GLEN: Located at the base of Mount Washington, Great Glen Trails is a winter wonderland for families to explore. Enjoy old-fashioned snowtubing, snowshoeing through birch forests, and Nordic skiing on perfectly groomed trails, with spectacular views of the Presidential Range.
Great Glen Trails marketing director Dan Houde notes that Great Glen Trails new this season is new beginner terrain focused on increasing the fun factor of learning with customized snow elements and simple terrain features. Great Glen Trails’ style of “terrain-based learning” will help to promote faster learning in a non-intimidating environment.
The new “Skier Discovery Zone” offers simple terrain features and customized snow elements designed to increase fun while providing better control through balance and awareness based instruction. The area will be made with natural or machine made snow and can be shaped quickly with grooming equipment to combine flat and hilly terrain which can be more conducive to learning, skier improvement, and overall fun.
Sue Weymss, Great Glen’s ski director and former U.S. Olympian said she first saw the idea of snow features in a book called “Teaching Children to Ski” and has been experimenting with terrain features and a fun obstacle course for the area’s annual one day Kids Ski Fest for the last few years. “We want to extend the terrain features to the entire season with snow roller coasters, trail bumps with rises and dips, a maze with markers, hula hoop arches, and more,” Weymss explained.
Great Glen’s partner, the Mount Washington Auto Road, has added to its fleet a new, more energy-efficient Mount Washington SnowCoach. Additional upgrades to the Mount Washington SnowCoaches have also taken place to the unique, all-wheel drive track system which enable the nine-passenger vehicles to travel on the snow-covered Auto Road during the snowy winter months.
Guided winter tours aboard the Mount Washington SnowCoaches are approximately 1-and a-1⁄4-hour long and depart daily from December through March from the Great Glen Trails base lodge at the base of Mount Washington on a first-come, first-served basis.
JACKSON SKI TOURING: Several new programs are being offered at Jackson Ski Touring this season.
According to Jackson Ski Touring marketing director Raetha Stoddard, the JSTF offers seven free programs designed to inspire skiers to ski more.
Free children’s programs being offered, some brand new and some expanded from last year, include: for the very young, an ongoing scavenger hunt in the Story Land Terrain Park: for children 6 to 10 there is the Anklebiters Course: for children 13 and under a Cookie Club; and for children of all ages the new Snowball-athlon course.
There are always group and private lessons offered seven days a week throughout the day with more added this year. Also new this year are a variety of options to learn to skate ski.
Other free programs include: Full Moon Snowshoe Tours; “Ski with the Friends of JSTF’” and the KM Trackers.
Friday gliders will now be introducing a Friday Easy Sliders group meeting at the same time as the popular Friday Gliders, every Friday from 1 to 4 p.m.
• BEAR NOTCH: Located in the heart of the pristine upper Saco River Valley, Bear Notch Ski Touring and Snowshoe Center offers meticulously groomed trails for all ability levels. Beginners can enjoy a scenic and simple ski through the lower fields and out to the ever-changing Saco River with its breathtaking views up the Saco River Valley toward Crawford Notch.
Intermediate and advanced skiers will find ample challenges in the rolling terrain of the 10km village loop that connects them to hillier portions of the trail network, allowing for an extended ski. Well-behaved dogs and their humans are always welcome on the trails.
See more at bearnotchskitouring.com.
• BRETTON WOODS: One of the nation’s top Nordic resorts, featuring scenic trails for all disciplines: classic and skate skiing, plus snowshoeing, and 11 kilometers of dog-friendly trails, Bretton Woods offers wide, well-maintained trails, lift-serviced terrain, and a full-service Nordic Center. Be sure to explore the resort’s 3 kilometers of high-country lift-serviced terrain and rustic warming cabin accessed via the Mount Stickney T-bar.
The resort has added a new 3km network to its Nordic trail system with the addition of Fabyan Fields.
See more at: www.brettonwoods.com.
• MWV SKI TOURING AND SNOWSHOE CENTER: Inn-to-inn touring on more than 45 kilometers of trails through riverside hayfields, mountainside spruce, and hemlock forests, with diverse terrain for all abilities. Trails connect Intervale with North Conway Village, offering views of the Saco River and magnificent Mount Washington. Rentals, lessons, snowshoe tours, and stay-and-ski-free lodging packages are available.
Event highlights for the season include the 28th annual Chocolate Festival Feb. 22. See more at: http://www.mwvskitouring.org.
• PURITY SPRING NORDIC RESERVE AT KING PINE: Twenty-eight kilometers of cross-country and snowshoe trails wind around Purity Lake and throughout New Hampshire Audubon’s Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary. Terrain to satisfy all abilities, plus scenic views and unblemished forest throughout the 1,000-acre property. Lessons and rentals are available. See more at: www.kingpine.com.
Updated 2-7-15 TML