Crossing the Chasm:

Last week the Harbus ran a special section for skiers. Included in this section were articles on saving money on the slopes and avoiding overcrowded mountains. As it so often happens, the topic of Nordic skiing was overlooked, though it offered a remedy to both problems.

Nordic, or cross country skiing, is a great alternative to Alpine skiing when you can’t be bothered with lift lines, overcrowded facilities, and icy conditions on the slopes. It is a better workout than downhill skiing, but the effort is well rewarded. Gliding silently through the woods allows you to appreciate your surroundings. Remember, for every hill you climb, there’s a quick and fun ride down the other side.

Learning to cross country ski is quick and easy, far simpler, and safer than downhill. I’ve seen people go from first timer in the morning to wanting to tackle the black trails in the afternoon. Imagine going for a hike with the benefit of being able to glide over the trail on a bed of snow. At the end of the day you’ll feel like you accomplished something, having skied up to five to ten miles through some amazing scenery.

New England features some outstanding Nordic skiing. New Hampshire features some great touring centers within an hour or two from Boston. Jackson, in the White Mountains, is a Mecca for cross country skiers with over 100 miles of trails and a large village with accommodations. You can literally step outside your door, put your skis on and head off into the woods. All touring centers offer rentals for a fraction of the price of a lift ticket, and short lessons are often available as well. If you’re a skier who is sick of the alpine crowds, tired of paying exorbitant lift ticket prices, and interested in something new, try going cross country, it’s a refreshing alternative.