Four New England Cross Country Ski Towns For Your Bucket List
The top New England ski towns are the topic of annual debate, but which are the top towns for cross country skiing? Some of the favorite New England towns and areas to go on a cross country (XC) ski vacation include Stowe and Woodstock in Vermont, the Mt. Washington Valley in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and Bethel in Maine. Here are more details from XCSkiResorts.com about XC skiing at these fabulous New England ski towns:
Stowe, VT is the home of the Trapp Family Lodge of the Sound of Music movie fame and there are other XC ski resorts in the nearby area including Bolton Valley, Stowe Cross Country Center, and Edson Hill. The town of Stowe, VT is quintessential New England with its white-steepled church and a main street lined with stores. For dining and shopping, Stowe has a full range of selection from down home breakfast nooks and retail shops to upscale restaurants and furriers. Trapp Family Lodge has a 110 km trail network with 60 km of groomed and machine-tracked trails.
Woodstock, VT is another mecca that has inns, restaurants, unique shops, and a national park. The Woodstock Nordic Center operated by The Woodstock Inn & Resort offers more than 45 km of skiing right in town on two trail systems. The Mount Peg trails begin on the golf course at and climb to the summit overlooking the village below. On nearby Mt. Tom, the Center grooms more than 20 km of trails on old carriage roads in the midst of Vermont's first tree farm and Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park.
The Mt. Washington Valley in the White Mountains of New Hampshire has some of the best cross country skiing in the east with North Conway as the prime ski town in the region, but for cross country skiers, the town of Jackson is the paragon of New England towns. The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation is a non-profit organization chartered to provide and maintain xc ski trails in and about the village of Jackson on more than 80 private properties and the national forest. Country inns are spaced throughout the region. The base lodge is located on the village loop and the Ellis River Trail accessed through a covered bridge is famous for newcomers to cross country skiing. The best word to describe the experience of a cross country ski visit to Jackson is “enchanting.”
Great Glen Outdoors at the base of Mount Washington in New Hampshire is nearby to Jackson and you'll discover this magnificent setting with 45 kilometers of cross country skiing, snowshoeing plus an ol' fashioned tubing hill offering everything needed for a full day of winter fun. Great Glen's scenic trail system offers an enjoyable combination of well-protected spruce and fir-lined trails plus wide-open options offering breathtaking views of Mt. Washington and surrounding peaks. On the trails is the Glen House Hotel built in classic New England vernacular, with clapboards, and painted trim with 68 rooms, a pub, and a restaurant. For even more adventure, guests of all ages can enjoy a comfortable winter tour on the 9-passenger Mt. Washington SnowCoach, which transports guests to treeline (about 4,200 feet) on Mt. Washington into a sub-arctic world for a truly unforgettable adventure.
Bretton Woods Nordic Center is a golf clubhouse that is transformed into a thriving cross country ski center in the winter on the grounds of the Omni Mt. Washington Hotel on the other side of the great mountain from Great Glen. It has 100 km of XC ski and snowshoe trails, and the grand hotel at the southern base of the mighty Mt. Washington has 1,700 acres of spectacular scenery. The Mountain Road accessed via a lift at the Bretton Woods alpine ski area offers spectacular vistas of Mt. Washington from a 7 km groomed trail down to Route 302.
Bethel, Maine is home to the Bethel Inn and Carter's XC Ski Center, and Sunday River Resort's alpine ski trails. The XC ski trails, which meander through the woods to a picturesque covered bridge are canine-friendly as are several inns along the trails operated by the nonprofit Bethel Inland Woods and Trails organization. The Carter's XC Ski Center has beautiful views of the Mahoosuc and Presidential mountain ranges, and the land has been in the Carter family for generations.
Bethel was settled in 1774 and it has retained its small-town lifestyle. Besides XC skiing and snowshoeing at the ski centers, there are alpine skiing, dog sledding trips, and snowmobile rentals available near Bethel. Many of the businesses in Bethel and all the other ski towns organize special events on winter weekends and vacation weeks to encourage people to get out and enjoy the snow.