The first of [February] was covered with snow
So was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
The Berkshires seemed dream-like on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go.
While some parts of the U.S. are blooming with flowers and sunshine-y afternoons allow *gasp* a pair of sandals, it’s still snowy here in Boston.
As we celebrated the vernal equinox last week, it’s technically spring. But today I’m going to talk about snow and my new hobby – cross country skiing. I should post on this topic before we (finally) catch up to the rest of you!
The last few years I’ve wanted to buy cross country skis. I have no winter hobby, and one can only watch so many movies when the world is covered in snow for months at a time. Cross country skiing was going to be that hobby.
This year we finally did it! We waited until the end of the season and snatched up all our gear at L.L. Bean for 50% off. If you’re lucky they might still have a pair. Plus, you will get ski passes for local trails with your purchase. All in all, the cost for everything was less than a one-time downhill lift ticket for just one of us!
We purchased Classic Touring skis. Classics have “fish scale” texture on the bottom of the ski for gripping. Touring skis are best for beginners and for use on groomed trails, as opposed to skate skiing, which is a motion similar to ice skating. Touring skis are a bit wider, therefore steadier.
You will want to get fitted for your skis and poles, as there are several varying factors like weight and height.
Our first foray into our new hobby drove us out to the beautiful Berkshires a few days after a snowstorm (hence the James Taylor quote above). I’ve been driving through the Berkshires for nearly ten years now, but this summer when we went to a James Taylor concert at Tanglewood, was the first time we actually visited. It’s a beautiful area.
Canterbury Farms of Becket, MA was our snowy destination.
“With 22 Kilometers of groomed and tracked ski trails, you will ski alongside beautiful brooks, beaver ponds, stone walls, lakes, fields and mountains where nature abounds. Our trails meander through old wood stands which gives you the feel of being in the wilderness.”
Sounds lovely, huh? As the say, a picture says a thousand words:
The trails were well-groomed and very pretty.
Trails were easily marked, and you are well warned of difficult hills ahead if you want to stick to flatter trails.
We saw a few other skiers, but most of the time it was just us. As evidenced by the strong sun, we went in the late afternoon.
Don’t Own Skis?
If you don’t own skis, they have all the equipment available for a day rental.
Canterbury Farms also has an inn and kitchen. Eat something hearty – XC skiing burns lots of calories!
What to Wear
Don’t be fooled into dressing for downhill skiing. Cross country is a WORKOUT and you will warm up right away. I was happy in leggings under thin waterproof exercise pants (falling happens to every snow-bunny), a fleece, sunglasses and my trusty felt earwarmers. I didn’t even wear gloves I was so warm from the workout.
I also wore a small backpack that held an unneeded scarf, my camera and a bottle of water (we definitely needed that!).
For a Weekend in the Berkshires
Next year we plan to rent a small cabin and make a weekend of it.
In that case, I’d also like to spend my time in the Berkshires exploring some of the following:
- Exploring the lovely town of Lenox, MA (home of Tanglewood)
- Arrowhead, Home of Herman Melville
- Norman Rockwell Museum
- The Clark
- The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home
- Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
- MASS MoCA
- And if you’re into shopping, the Lee Outlets are nearby
I can truly say I’m a bit sad to see the snow go – I want to go skiing again!!
Have you ever tried cross country skiing? What’s your winter hobby?