Shredding mountains sounds like an adrenaline-pumping sport; what if the adventure was phrased as, “Full-body workout skiing up and down hills”? Yeah, the pizazz just isn’t there, but many Americans’ lack of knowledge concerning XC skiing (that’s ‘cross-country skiing’) is the result of a lack of massive marketing campaigns behind a wintertime sport that involves fast downhill curves and sweat-inducing uphill climbs on thin, plastic planks. Truth be told, a more recent Ridj-it XC skiing trip had riders who thought they were doing regular downhill skiing and not XC!
There are a few reasons why XC skiing is a particularly awesome wintertime endeavor:
1. It’s cheap, like, real cheap. $26 gets you the skis and trail pass. Regular skiing and snowboarding in New England can cost you $90 just for the lift ticket (not including rentals or a potential lesson).
2. You can ski together with people unlike downhill where amassing in one group means creating a human avalanche and high-speed death trap.
3. There are fewer people on the trails than downhill because nobody knows about the sport.
4. The sport is incredible for your body as you work arms, core, and legs to glide along bounding hills, rail down forested pathways, and duck-walk up big hills.
5. The pictures are better.
Carpoolers Nawaf and Stephanie realized all of these benefits as they headed for Jackson Cross-Country Ski Touring in New Hampshire for their first XC adventure. The drive is under three hours, and good conversation marked with funny podcasts made the time fly. A welcoming cabin along Route 16 greeted the newbies, and in under 30 minutes they were up and moving to the Cocoa Cabin located 3 km away from the lodge. A warm fire tended by employees raged away while hot chocolate and tea was served to heat cold lungs.
Several wipeouts were experienced along the way back to the lodge, but after a short lunch Nawaf, Stephanie, and everyone else made their way by car towards the Quail Trail. Only two hours of light remained, and so they raced with all their might to see a clear and crisp evening view of Mt. Washington highlighted by a dying sun. Sweating and with tired arms, they reached the Quail Trail and attempted to take a selfie only to stare into a blank, black screen: the phone died.
Our adventurers however lived on, and with great speed to beat the night, everyone raced as fast as possible down and up the snowy hills to reach the parking lot as the last light set in the White Mountains. Orange and red blazed their backs while shadows swallowed them whole underneath towering pines. Their car was the last in the parking lot beside the non-beginner friendly trail, and the little “beep beep” of the car unlocking signaled that the day was done.
“I will definitely do this again. I had no idea this sport even existed,” Nawaf said as he packed the rentals into his Camry. “Yeah! And we never would have done it if we hadn’t come today,” Stephanie reaffirmed while stepping into the car.
Incredible adventure awaits those who want to cross-country ski from Boston, and New England is the perfect place to enjoy an incredible workout, soulful traversing, and the opportunity to ski affordably with friends.