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17 December 2014

Cross Country Skiing at Bartlett, NH and Other Locations


No matter what you call it, Nordic skiing, XC-skiing, cross-country skiing, this winter sport is a definite favorite of mine!

Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian Arctic explorer who traveled across Greenland on cross country skis, wrote the following in 1890.

“Nothing hardens the muscles and makes the body so strong and elastic.  Nothing gives better presence of mind and nimbleness; nothing steels the will power and freshens the mind as cross country skiing. This is something that develops not only the body but also the soul.  It has a far deeper meaning for people than many are aware of. . .”

Besides the benefits of cross-country skiing described in Nansen's quote shown above, I also admire the "minimalist" nature of this win­ter sport.  For example, there is no need for expensive technical clothing.  And, there is only a modest one-time expense for the purchase of skis, poles and boots.  Plus, you can ski for free at a variety of locations on public land, such as old logging roads, some State Parks, land conservancy parcels, etc.  Even if you choose to pay for skiing on groomed trails at a Nordic Center, the rate for a daily pass or a season pass is a small fraction of what it costs for a lift ticket at Alpine (downhill) ski resorts.

And so, with that introduction, here are just a few photos and brief commentary about some of my recent cross-country skiing experiences.

1) Cross-Country Skiing on Groomed Trails

In terms of a groomed network of trails, the Bear Notch Ski Touring Center (Bartlett, NH) is one of my favorites.  (Click HERE to link to their website.)  Perhaps it should also be mentioned that this place gets great reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor.

Shown below is a collage containing a few of the many photos that were taken when skiing at the Bear Notch Ski Touring Center in mid-December 2014.

2) Cross-Country Skiing on Un-Groomed Trails at a Variety of Locations:

When skiing at locations where there are no groomed trails, I'll often use skis that are designed for off-trail backcountry exploration.  They tend to do better in unbroken snow, plus they're more maneuverable in rugged terrain, and have the capacity for climbing moderate grades with little slippage.  For this purpose, I own a pair of Rossingnol BC90s with step-in bindings, but am certain there are other backcountry skis that perform just as well or better.  (Click HERE for a brief but informative article about how to choose the right ski length and width.)

In the following collage, there are photos which show some of the un-groomed passageways skied in December 2014, as well as a few of the sights that were seen by using these unimproved corridors.

To sum it up, cross country skiing is a terrific addition to my other winter sport of snowshoeing.  And, there are even times when I'll combine the two sports when I know there will be a portion of my trek that is skiable, and a portion where snowshoes are more practical.  In those instances, I'll slap on the snowshoes that were strapped to my backpack, then conceal my skis in the woods, and continue onward to my destination.


Below are 5 links that will take you to other postings that I've done about cross-country skiing:

Cross-Country Skiing at Nansen Ski Club (at Milan Hill State Park)


Rita Wechter said...

Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also among my favorite winter activities. I find the quiet nature of these two sports correlates rather well with their being minimalist and inexpensive. Unless, of course, you're surrounded by snowmobiles on the trails, in which case the quiet completely disappears! (This happens sometimes in the mountains of Utah.)

Bear Notch looks like a wonderful place. And, it looks like you have more snow this December than we do. I envy you, John, being able to experience the beauty of the New Hampshire mountains on skis this month. But thanks for posting these beautiful pictures so that others may ski vicariously through your expeditions!

Another nice post!

1HappyHiker said...

Hi Rita,

Isn’t it somewhere beyond glorious that we both live in a location where we can enjoy the winter by involving ourselves in cross-country skiing and snowshoeing!

Without question, I enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing the mountains of New Hampshire. However, I envy the scenic opportunities that you have for engaging in these same winter sports in the Western part of the U.S. One of your blog postings that comes immediately to mind is your Bryce Canyon adventure in February 2014 (link below).


Rita Wechter said...

Thanks for providing a link to my Bryce Canyon adventure!

Yes, we do have some gorgeous venues for enjoying winter activities—from the mountains to the canyons. And I agree, it's wonderful that we both live in places where we can make the most of the winter season!

Wishing you and Cheri a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!