By Kathy Bennett
When the air temperature is sitting in the “it’s really, really cold” range, the skiers’ in the know head to one of the myriad of cross country ski trails around the Mount Washington Valley. The current cold weather pattern found us heading to the groomed trails in Jackson. Groomed packed-powder snow awaited us as did friends we had agreed to meet at the Woodchuck Fields parking lot on Carter Notch Road. This trail access point is a great choice for those just trying out xc skiing for the first time. The tracks wander between Eagle Mountain and the shortest federally-designated Wild and Scenic Wildcat River lead from your parked car on flat terrain.
The day we skied, the sun was shining in the early January azure sky but didn’t add much warmth. Dressed appropriately, we enjoyed the company of fellow skiers and the extraordinary vistas. The tracks lead gently down-river to the Eagle Mountain Fields where one accesses Jackson’s international competition trails. These trails provide challenge but are manageable for anyone who is comfortable controlling downhill speed. Vistas of the high Presidential range are afforded from several natural resting spots along these roller-coaster trails.
One can spend several hours exploring the trails with destinations of the Shovel Handle Pub, Christmas Farm or Eagle Mountain House eateries available for a warm mug-up or lunch.
A couple days later in even colder weather we returned with our snowshoes and trekked out to the Cocoa Cabin on the intimate snowshoe trails that wander along the Ellis River across interesting terrain left by the receding glaciers 12000 years ago.
So when the temps are chilly and the wind is up, choosing warmer Nordic and snowshoe options allows one to be outside and still be comfortable.