Cross Country Ski Areas - Which are your favorites?

Hi everybody,

As part of my fitness plans for this winter, I am strongly considering taking up XC skiing (in addition to alpine, of course). It is recommended for triathletes to stay in shape for the winter as one of the best exercises one can do. There are some great free areas near me, but I am very interested to hear where you like to XC ski, and where you would recommend.

For my entire skiing past, I have focused only on alpine skiing and history, as you all know. I paid no attention to XC skiing, and probably missed out on what could be described as some fantastic workouts at amazing places, but there's always time to try out something new.

Thanks, JD


  • Get some AT Bindings and you get the both of the Alpine World and the XC World.
  • edited September 2015
    I love XC. About 6 years ago or so I purchased a backcountry XC setup. They are full metal edged with a fishscale base underfoot for climbing. They are amazing for our local biking/hiking trails. I have never been on traditional skate type xc skis. It is a fantastic workout and I get to slide on snow either before or after work provided there is a local snowpack. I also use them in relatively marginal snow conditions if I am really in need of a ski. From my experience it is not easy to find a good shop...however, I'm sure the selection is better in your neck of the woods.

    These guys have a great selection and will talk over the phone for mailorder.
  • Cool - go for it. I keep threatening to drag my butt up north for some extended touring but usually just end up leaving my pinners in the car. My favorite area is Mt ISNE. Although last year I wasn't supposed to be out, I managed to sneak two short jaunts in. JD, you know you have a permanent invite.
    While I haven't tried the AT setup because they don't look that comfortable/flexible for general touring, I do have a couple pairs of classic and a BC with SNS profile but I haven't been to that many XC centers. Probably 4 in Mass. & one in Ct. While good for my needs I can't recommend you coming all this way for them. Oh wait now that I think about it I guess I have gone to some ski areas XC trails in the distant past like Jay, but back then it was like they were an after thought and it seemed like I was the only person that had been on those trails in twenty years. I think things have changed with the advent of snow shoeing & the need of every resort $$$$.
    I know people love Jackson Touring Center in NH, Stowe, Smuggs & Camels Hump in VT. The one in Stratford VT looks interesting. Oh the Maine Winter Sports Center in Presque Isle has an amazing place but I had my worse day ever due to a poor wax choice (none). I really really want to go to Great Glen NH some day but with Wild Kitty right next door somehow I've never made it...
    I prefer my BC setup which is like Marc's, because I'm often out breaking trail and The SNS boots have more ankle support. I can manage a slim snow plow (pizza) in them and the ones I have you can walk or drive in. I think the NNN may have similar ones. But of course the classics are light and make me feel like I'm in a race car (yeah right!) when I'm out on a tracked course.
    Anyway enjoy and perhaps you'll motivate me to get out there too!!
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • edited September 2015
    Personal faves are Great Glen and Jackson XC, and any rail trail that's been tracked out and is free

    Hey Jeremy, I attended a terrific presentation on the history of skiing in North Creek & vicinity last winter, so I would imagine Garnet Hill XC is highly recommended  

    Originally called the Log House, it was built in 1936.  It was constructed by the owner of the Hooper Garnet Mine for his son-in-law, Charles Tibbits, to be operated as a hotel.  Located at a high elevation and overlooking Thirteenth Lake, the property is spectacular.


  • Get some AT Bindings and you get the both of the Alpine World and the XC World.

    Maybe i am doing it wrong!   I don't find AT bindings with downhill touring skis to be very good at kick and glide, and they are heavy and high.  I have markers so i know that dynafits would be more accommodating in those respects.  Still, I am coming to believe that it's better to use real XC gear whenever possible and reserve the safety binding gear for lift terrain. I would like to try the gear that Marcski described. 
  • As far as areas go in the Boston are Great Brook Touring Center is nice.  Combination of farm fields and woods and the "lodge" is an old dairy barn with some picnic tables.  Low key but can get busy.  They do a lantern loop once a week where one trail has kerosine lanterns all along it as markers.
  • Has anyone skied Timber Creek XC? It's located across the street from the North entrance of Mount Snow. I've passed it hundreds of times and never thought about checking it out.
  • edited September 2015
    My BC XC setup is more like a light duty telemark setup. Soft, leather boots with a 75 mm duckbill 3 pin binding with a light heel cable. I love going out on this setup in the local woods. I'm dying to get here, but it is in the Sierras:

    I hear it is incomparable.
  • mtsnow123 said:

    Has anyone skied Timber Creek XC? It's located across the street from the North entrance of Mount Snow. I've passed it hundreds of times and never thought about checking it out.

    Yes once about 6-8 years ago.  Smaller operation, nothing like the bigger name places like Jackson or Trapp etc.    I did enjoy the trails and they were nicely groomed for skate & track.  

  • Viking Nordic Center in Londonderry. Near Magic as well! Been 25 years or so since I was there, but remember an entirely wonderful experience.




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