For those looking to get outside this winter while staying close to home, cross-country skiing checks off those boxes.
The wallop of snow from the Dec. 17 made trail conditions glorious before a warm and wet Christmas rinsed it away. Snow is returning to the trails as winter goes on and its worth a visit.
Some ski areas have groomed trail systems open to the public.
There are more than six miles of cross-country skiing trails at Beaver Meadow Golf Course that get groomed when there is enough snow. The trails are open from sunrise to sunset and are free to use. The Parks and Recreation Department asks that residents don’t walk or snowshoe on the groomed trails since it negatively affects the skiing, and reminds everyone that no dogs are allowed.
For younger skiers who are taking an interest in cross-country, there’s the Bill Koch Ski League at Beaver Meadow. The program meets on Friday nights in January and February, is open to children from 4-years-old to fifth grade and is run by volunteers with some help from the Concord High Nordic team. Registration is required through the Parks and Recreation program.
A trail system is also available at White Farm and Memorial Field, which is maintained by volunteers. Trail loop around the farm’s fields, through a tunnel under Langley Parkway and around Memorial Field. If you’re looking for more information, the Concord Community Nordic Trails group on Facebook is an excellent resource.
St. Paul’s School has an extensive trail system near Turkey Pond.
In Hopkinton, the Blackwater Nordic Ski Club maintains trails at the Hopkinton Fairgrounds and Gould Hill Farm. For more information, visit blackwaternordic.org.
The community trail systems appreciate donations and/or memberships to cover the cost of maintaining the trails. Some are also in search of volunteers to help with trail maintenance.
If you are comfortable making your own tracks, more opportunities open up to you.
Canterbury Shaker Village has a network of nature trails, ponds and gardens. For more information, visit shakers.org.
Carter Hill Orchard is linked to a trail system where adventurous skiers or snowshoers can roam or connect up to the West End Farm Trail system. The city of Concord has maps of the trail system.
If you don’t have your own equipment, S&W Sports has a limited number of season-long rentals. Due to high demand, they are not doing daily rentals this winter.