Cross-country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing, is a great way to get outdoors during the winter months. Unlike downhill skiing, it involves schussing along flat trails through snowy woodland, making it a much calmer way to enjoy the snow. Massachusetts, in particular, it dotted with gorgeous cross-country ski centers – we round up the best, so you can start planning your next snowy adventure.
From early December to early April, Notchview is open for cross-country skiing through 3,000 acres (1,214ha) of woodland. Schuss down the 17km (10.5mi) of groomed trails – there’s even separate tracks for skijoring (skiing with dogs). Notchview does get more snow than the neighboring valley towns and can be 10 degrees colder, so come prepared. Head to the Budd Visitor Center to warm up with a hot coffee. If you really fall in love with the region, you can get married outdoors here!
Gates Pond in Berlin, Massachusetts offers a smaller, less-crowded destination for those looking to cross-country ski. The trail is 2.4mi (4km), and takes skiers around the frozen pond and through the woods. This easy loop is a perfect place to practice cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, and it is ideal for anyone looking to enjoy the great outdoors on a short and scenic path.
With 25mi (40km) of tracks, Northfield Mountain offers some of the finest cross-country skiing in the state. There are beginner trails aplenty as well as the more challenging 800ft (244m) climb up Tenth Mountain. You can rent cross-country skis and snowshoes on site. There are plenty of places to take a break – from the big lunch room to the weekend trailside warming hut. It is worth noting that trails are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, except for public holidays. Ring ahead to check the snow conditions before setting off.
Located in the foothills of the Berkshires, Maple Corner Farm has 20km (12mi) of marked cross-country trails, with a further 10km (6mi) of snowshoeing too. At 1,400ft (427m) above sea level, each winter brings decent snow cover. Take the easy Rocky Road to get warmed up, before tackling the trickier Sugar Bush, through meadows and along mountain streams. It also produces maple syrup (hence the name) from mid-February, so tuck into pancakes with freshly-made syrup after skiing, or buy some maple candy or maple cream to take home with you.
Additional reporting by Nina Zietman