Cross country skiing is a popular New Hampshire winter activity. For those that are unfamiliar with the sport, it is quite like walking in skis with much lighter equipment. Unlike regular skiing, your heels are not locked into the ski. This allows the foot to lift up and down to control pace and motion.
A brief history about cross country skiing in New Hampshire:
Did you know that the oldest ski club in North America is right here in New Hampshire? The Nansen Ski Club in Berlin was originally founded by Norwegian immigrants in 1872. They still offer a vast network of cross-country ski trails that are open to the public and are free of charge. It also predates modern downhill skiing and has been used for centuries as a form of transport and as a means for winter hunting.
Tell me more about cross country skiing!
Cross country skiing is a fantastic winter outdoors activity. It is relatively easy to learn, less expensive than regular skiing, and provides an all-body workout. New Hampshire, with its varying terrain and ample snow in winter, is one of the best states to participate in this activity.
For those that are new to this sport, there are three principle styles for cross country skiing: classic, skating and telemarking. The first style is typically the most popular. Skiers find groomed trails with parallel grooved tracks to follow. The second style, skate cross country skiing, involves making one’s own way through the trails by transferring weight from one ski to the other by positioning the inner edge of the ski on the snow. It is similar to rollerblading for those that may have trouble visualizing the difference. The third style is referred to as telemarking. Also known as “free-heel skiing” it is a form of downhill cross country skiing. The cross country skis are adapted to have bindings that allow skiers to assume a “lunge” position in order to turn if necessary.
What do I need to cross country ski?
Basically, one needs boots, poles and skis with bindings to cross country ski. Also, as the winters in New Hampshire are notorious for having inconsistent temperatures, it is best to dress in light layers so you add or take off clothing as you see fit. It is also highly recommended to wear gloves, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen for your face. You would be surprised how sunburnt you can become during winter here! If you have small personal belongings, it would be a good idea to carry a small backpack or fanny pack. If you are looking for gear, here is a great link to get you started: Gear Shop
I’m game! Where can I cross country ski in New Hampshire?
There are literally hundreds of trails in New Hampshire that are ideal for cross country skiing. Here is a link that can guide you toward selecting the perfect trail for you! Cross Country Trail Guide
You could also design your own trail map! Here is a link that can help you start: http://www.mytopo.com
If you intend to stay overnight, one of our favorite accommodations is Mount Sunapee’s Blue Goose Inn (http://www.bluegooseinn-nh.com).The cross country ski trail is directly outside your door! That’s incredibly convenient! Also, there are other important factors to keep in mind when selecting a trail:
- How far do you wish to cross country ski? If the trek is very long, you will need to pack water and snacks if you do not intend on stopping somewhere to refuel.
- Do you need to rent equipment? Some trails offer gear rentals, lessons and amenities whereas some do not. Do your research ahead of time.
- Don’t get stuck in the dark. Make sure you properly gauge how long it will take to complete a trail so you are not stranded in the not-so-warm winter New Hampshire wilderness.
If you are seeking additional lodging, here is a link to help you: Accommodations
Is cross country skiing suitable for kids?
Yes! Cross country skiing is ideal for young children and teenagers. It’s not too difficult to learn and it is more safe than conventional downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Ok. I’m hooked, but how much is it going to cost?
The best part about cross country skiing is the fact that New Hampshire has countless trails that you can visit free of charge. Here is a link that provides information about those trails: NH State Park Trail Information