If you’re new to cross country skiing or snow shoeing the trails should be easy to get to, easy to do, and groomed. Here’s a list of places to try.
Grantham – Eastman Rec Center. $12 for the day and $10 at 12:30. Renting skis costs $18 and snow shoe rentals are under $10 for four hours or less. You can learn more here. Eastman has eleven trails and a pretty even mixture of easy, intermediate, and expert. Some of the easy trails are really short, .3 mile, so this is a good spot to learn and try skiing or snow shoeing. You can also take lessons and participate in the special events held at Eastman. Learn more here.
Sunapee – Dexter Inn Trails by Norsk. $12 a day, open 7 days a week. These trails are meant to give you a quiet, old-time feel, with the trails meandering through forests and fields. The trails are well marked and you can find a lot of easytrails too. They even offer a “We Love Beginners” package that includes a group lesson, rentals, a daily pass for $38! What a deal! They also cater to families, where kids under five ski free with an adult and you can rent a pull sled too. You can learn more about the trails, experience, and services available here.
Hanover – Dartmouth Cross Country Trails. $20 pass with rentals, $8-14 for day pass. Hours vary based on location. You can find more information about rentals and trails here. There’s a trail map here. I like how they have story time for little ones in the club house and roast marshmallows afterwards.
Plainfield – French’s Ledges and Farnum Trails. I love to walk these trails in the summer. These are a great place to cross country ski because these particular trails are pretty flat and relatively short (about 1.5 miles). However, there are some trails that are steep and should only be used by advanced skiers, which you can read in more detail about here. Snow shoers are asked to walk parallel to the tracks. These are groomed trails and are maintained by the Plainfield Trailblazers. You can learn more about directions, the history, and trails here.
Hartland – Hartland Winter Trails. The trails in Hartland are groomed, which is a special treat for trails open to the public for free. You can have up to date news on the trail conditions and grooming on their website and now their Facebook page. How lucky are we? The easiest trails are by the Three Corners by the fire station and there are quite a few to choose from. Here’s a map.
Directions to get there: “at the intersection of routes 12 and 5 in Hartland Three Corners, drive approximately 1 mile west on Route 12. After leaving the village area, you will pass Bischoff Lane on the right. Continue about 0.2 miles and look for the parking lot on the right – across the road from the Town highway garage and fire station. Note the “P” marker on the following map.” (Quoted from HartlandWinterTrails.org)
Norwich – Norwich Nature Area Trails. You can snow shoe or cross country ski on easy to moderate trails in the center or Norwich, but the map does not specify which trails are easy. It’s a network of about 1.5 miles of trails. Directions and trail descriptions can be found here.
Happy Learning and Exploring!
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