Over the past year, plenty of us had to learn new ways of living. Despite the circumstances, it seems as if the human spirit continues to prevail. For example, have you ever seen so many people flocking to the Nordic countryside to frolic on their skis? Certainly, we can’t say that we’ve seen anything like it.

Skiing Like the Nord’s Is Still Perfect Despite the Circumstances

Nevertheless, the manner in which people describe their adventures continues to perplex the rest of us. Still, something about the way they talk does carry a certain sense of enchantment in the air.

Perhaps, they are on to something.

From our perspective, these reasons should be enough for you to venture beyond a comfort zone. The question is, will it be enough for you?

5 Reasons Everyone Should Heed the Call of Ski Season This Year

    1. Socially Distant: Above all, everyone has been loving they can be amidst their friends and family while skiing. Plus, they get to hang out without worrying about transmitting viral pathogens.
    2. Great Weather: Regardless of everything, no one can deny how greats the sun feels while skiing through the snowcapped countryside.
    3. Novelty in the Great Outdoors: In our day-to-day lives, we rarely try much outside the norm. Sure, our daily rituals ensure the roof above us stays over our heads. Regardless, unless you plan on living as a statue, seeking a little novelty isn’t a bad idea. In fact, we believe it can be rather spiritually fulfilling.
    4. Great for Your Cardio: On top of that, nothing is better for your cardio. While you could run on the treadmill, at the end of the day, how much fun is that? Wouldn’t a quick cruise through a hilly snow slope amid the scents of spring be much more inspiring? As a form of exercise, it just can’t get much better in our opinion.
    5. Indulge Your Latent Adventurer: Of course, life isn’t always going to be perfect. However, even in the direst circumstances, it’s still possible to have fun

Skiing is an adventure that everyone needs to experience. However, there is some first essential gear that you need to bring to prepare for your adventure. Skiing requires more than just a checklist, as you need preparation to make the most out of your venture. Therefore, before you even start heading down the slopes have a few items in place in case contingencies arise.

Think of skiing as a similar venture to hiking on a snow-covered hill. Yes, it is going to be more exercise based, and will provide you with the ultimate experience. If you are new to skiing, you need to be prepared to fall or to have hindsight on the weather forecast. The following items in gear are smart to take with you or to have on you before you slide down the slopes.

Gloves: Any glove will help keep your fingers from freezing. However, know what gloves work best with potential hazards. You’re going to fall a lot if you are new to skiing, and the gloves will need to uphold the fabric to prevent your fingers from going numb or getting hurt during the fall.

Lip Balm: Winter weather is known for more than just making you cold. It actually can dehydrate you and cause your lips to crack and blister. Taking lip balm in your pockets or a bag will ensure that your lips don’t get sunburns or get affected by the dry weather.

A Small Bag With Accessories: Many skiers will grow on a small backpack or bag that can make their trip worthwhile. You can put in your lip balm and add other essential items like sunscreen and sunglasses to ensure you cover every element of your trip. You might put in your camera and some cash in case you want to snap a few shots of the mountainside or take a stroll into some local stores.

Water: While there is plenty of snow around you, access to freshwater is inaccessible when writing on the slopes. You’re going to use up a lot of energy in your body and for your body to function on a healthy level, you need to stay well hydrated. You can also note that the water bottle will help you if you are in areas that are further from civilization.

Extra Socks: The boots you wear to ski are heavy and will keep heat because your feet will work a lot. When your feet get heated they will drench socks, which can promote bacterial growth. It is a smart idea to always have an extra pair of socks just in case your feet sweat.

Final Thoughts

Overall, your skiing adventure can be a lifetime opportunity for fun and entertainment. However, if you don’t take the correct year or accessories on your trip, your trip may come to a halt. Take your quality gloves, lip balm, water bottle, and pack with a few of the essentials, and your skiing adventure will be one that you will never forget.

Whether you’re practicing your Nordic skiing technique or heading out for a day on the slopes, you should know a bit about the Massachusetts ski scene and culture. The state has an abundance of excellent ski opportunities for alpine and cross-country lovers. Though often overshadowed by more popular ski resorts in New Hampshire and Vermont, residents don’t need to cross state lines to have a great day in the powder.

We’ll start with alpine skiing. Known for their hard-packed conditions and short but formidable vertical drops, Massachusetts ski resorts have a local flair. This is because skiers rarely travel to Massachusetts for skiing; if they’re heading to New England, they are more likely to head up to the Mount Washington Valley in New Hampshire, where conditions are more predictable, resorts are larger, and mountains have better snowmaking capacity. However, Massachusetts ski mountains offer some distinct advantages to the larger resorts in the north. The first (and perhaps most important) is lift ticket price. Massachusetts ski resorts are often far less expensive than large family resorts across the state line, so you are likely to get more bang for your buck. Additionally, ski rentals are often priced more competitively, and there is less of a chance a rental facility to run out of equipment. These concrete advantages, when combined with the local, family-friendly atmosphere at Massachusetts ski resorts, makes the state an excellent place to take up alpine skiing.

Next up: Nordic skiing. Massachusetts has some of the best cross-country skiing in the country. Riders can experience scenic views of the ocean, state forests, and picturesque farms—all in the same ride. Of course, we’re partial to the coast; that is, after all, where we’re based. However, central and western Massachusetts have rolling hills, more trail opportunities, and fewer people to ruin your solitary expedition. What more could you ask for?

It is not difficult to be a skier in Massachusetts. Nearly everybody seems to have tried the sport at least once, and most residents know someone with a season pass to one of the several great resorts. Whether you’re a resident or a visitor, trying one or both of these ski opportunities is sure to be a great time. Perfect for beginners and life-long athletes, skiing in Massachusetts is always a great experience.

 

 

Nordic skiing is incredibly popular in and around the North Shore of Massachusetts. Alpine skiing is also very popular, taking residents to larger mountains farther north into New England. If there were a Venn diagram to illustrate those who practice Nordic skiing and those who practice alpine skiing, there would be a lot of overlap. Both sports are incredibly accessible in this part of the country.

Let’s consider a different Venn diagram. Put Nordic skiing, with its detached heel, long poles, and lighter skis, in one circle. Then, put Alpine skiing, with its fast pace and terrain, in the other circle. You might not think there’s much overlap—maybe just “two skis” or “two poles.” In reality, there’s an entirely different sport in that overlapping portion. It’s called Telemark skiing.

This type of skiing combines elements of Alpine and Nordic skiing. The skiers’ heels aren’t bound to their skis, which is reminiscent of Nordic skiing. However, this type of skiing is often practiced in alpine terrain; the detached heel allows athletes to ski up, across, and down the mountain. This is an effective, efficient, and fun ski technique, and if you’re already an experienced cross-country skier, your skills will easily transfer. If you’re an experienced Alpine skier, this is a brand new challenge.

Telemark skiing can also serve as a lighter, cheaper backcountry alternative. Practitioners can ski the backcountry with the same boots and skis used on lift-serviced slopes, adding only wax or skins to attach to the ski bases. It allows skiers to access powder without needing to spend hundreds of dollars to utilize a resort. While alpine skiers need special skis, boots, bindings, and skins, Telemarkers just need to add skins or wax. Uphill skiing, backcountry skiing, and “sidecountry skiing” are all increasing in popularity, and Telemark is the perfect way to tackle these trends.

If you’re interested in trying Telemark, there are several resources on the North Shore. The AMC Boston Chapter Ski Committee, for example, hosts friendly gatherings that often include either informal instruction or formal Tele clinics at Mount Wachusett. New England Telemark is an excellent resource for instruction and festivals, and Telemark East is a great online forum for quick tips and questions. If you’re already a ski fan, there’s no reason you shouldn’t try this interesting hybrid.

For the most intense Nordic skiers, speed is everything. Your speed could mean the difference between a first- and last-place finish, or it could ruin the workout you’ve been looking forward to all week. Cross-country skiers are known to do anything to increase their speed—from wearing skin-tight suits to adopting certain stances. However, one factor might have a greater impact than you’d think: head position.

Most of us, especially in the beginning, prefer to look down at our skis while out on the trail. It allows us to focus and stay in the zone—we can concentrate on the sensations of skiing and experiment with small technical adjustments. Even some professional, high-level racers ski with their heads down, another wonderful justification for this habit. However, head position can dramatically impact skiing performance. Here’s how.

 

  • Shoulder function—Your head position will directly impact your scapular position and shoulder function. While Nordic skiing is a pretty benign shoulder workout, keeping your head down may cause a stiff neck, shoulders, or back problems. In keeping your skull up and your spine aligned, you will increase shoulder mechanics.
  • Breathing—Keeping the head up will allow respiratory muscles to better function. This will open your chest, take pressure off the windpipe, and get more oxygen into your lungs.
  • Core response—To ski quickly, cross-country skiers need to maintain core tension while moving smoothly and in a coordinated manner. Your head position will affect your shoulder function, which impacts your hand and pole positions. This, in turn, alters the response in your core muscles, which will affect your efficiency.

 

So, where should we look? Your head should be aligned with your torso so the entire spine stays neutral. Don’t crane your neck to look at the top of the hill, but don’t look at your tips, either. Try it for a few miles and see how you feel.

If you’re here, you either love cross-country skiing or have a genuine interest in the sport. That said, you’re likely a little sad when the season ends and the winter snow completely melts. Unless you live in a climate with year-round snow, you probably want to fill the gap in your Nordic skiing practice. Enter: roller skiing.

This is an off-snow equivalent to cross-country skiing—just what you need to power through the summer months. Roller skis have wheels on each end and are used on hard surface, such as pavement. They are designed to emulate cross-country skiing, and the techniques used are remarkably similar to those used in Nordic skiing. The sport began as a summer training exercise for Nordic skiers, but it quickly grew into a competitive sport. Annual championships are held in various locations around the world. However, many still see this as an off-season training aid; most national cross-country ski teams roller ski during the off-season.

As with cross-country skiing, roller skiers can utilize skate style or classic style. There are roller skis designed specifically for each method, as well as “combi” skis, which may be used for either technique. There are also off-road rollerskis, which are designed for rougher surface conditions like cross-country running trails. Most rollerskis have two wheels—one in front and one in back. Certain skis have three wheels for added stability. Normal cross-country ski bindings and boots may be used with most roller skis, though some manufacturers produce special roller ski versions better equipped for hot weather.

When roller skiing, extra protection is always recommended: full-finger gloves, a helmet, eyewear, and protective knee and elbow pads. The sport is especially popular in France, Italy, Norway, Finland, and Estonia, but there are large groups of roller skiers across North America.

If you’re interested in trying this summer alternative, give it a go—you have nothing to lose. Most ski retailers carry a small supply of rollerskis and concomitant equipment. Go rent a pair, find a secluded stretch of road, and try it out. This might just be your new favorite sport.

When the weather turns cold, you need to find an activity to get outside and stay healthy during the winter months. Alpine skiing can be too much of an investment, and driving to resorts is often a barrier for most Massachusetts residents. You need an activity that you can do easily from (or near) your home, that doesn’t cost much money to pick up, and that is easy to learn. Two popular sports fall into these categories: cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Though similar in action and season, Nordic skiing and snowshoeing are dramatically different activities. However, there seems to be a divide among winter sports lovers; as with Nordic and alpine skiing, a rift is beginning to appear between cross-country skiers and snowshoeing enthusiasts. Both have benefits and drawbacks—but which one should you try?

Snowshoeing is easier to learn than cross-country skiing, though not by much. You will have ore balance and stability, and the shoes are easier to maneuver. It is easier to get up after a fall, and participants can get a full-body workout when using poles. The equipment is easier to keep in the trunk of your car, and materials are often less expensive than cross-country skiing. You can take your snowshoes nearly anywhere, and the equipment offers a degree of utility; if a bad storm sweeps through your town, you can use snowshoes to navigate the feet of fresh powder.

In contrast, Nordic skiing allows the user to cover more territory. You can quickly and easily glide over the snow on both groomed-trails and forest paths. This means that skiers will be able to experience more outdoor views while exercising. Additionally, you will not need as much snow to get out on the trail. The low-impact, total-body workout is one of the best available, and you’ll be able to cruise downhill if you encounter shallow descents.

Ultimately, your decision to try snowshoes or cross-country skis is wholly personal. However, if you want a fast, fun, and sweaty cardio workout, cross-country skis are the way to go. If you want something slower, quieter, and less expensive, give snowshoes a try. In either case, renting equipment for a day will be affordable—if you can, try both and decide for yourself.

As we’ve demonstrated, Massachusetts’ north shore has quite a bit to offer in the realm of cross-country skiing. However, the area is also known for its proximity to wonderful alpine skiing opportunities. The mountains are just across the New Hampshire/Massachusetts boarder, while others are right in our own backyard. These established downhill institutions are great for everyone—from beginners needing to rent equipment to experienced skiers looking to improve their skills. Below, we have included our four favorite North Shore-area alpine ski destinations.

 

Ski BradfordHaverhill, MA
Ski Bradford is a popular beginner slope among North Shore residents. Most of us grew up taking weekend ski lessons at the mountain; those lucky enough to live nearby participated in one of their many after-school programs. With a 248-foot vertical drop, 12 trails, 48 skiable acres, 8 lifts, and an uphill capacity of 9,600 skiers per hour, this is the perfect backyard ski destination. The mountain also offers 100% snowmaking capacity and a terrain park. Around 17% of the trails are for novice skiers, around a third are for intermediates, and about half are designated “advanced”. You might, however, want to take these ratings with a grain of salt; Bradford is truly a family mountain, and limited vertical drop means most trails are beginner-friendly.

 

Nashoba ValleyWestford, MA
Nashoba Valley is very similar to Ski Bradford, but it is in a better location for those on the western part of the North Shore. Sporting a 240-foot vertical drop, this family-friendly destination has 17 trails, 53 skiable acres, 9 lifts, 2 terrain parks, and 100% snowmaking capacity. Like Bradford, Nashoba offers dozens of weekend and after-school lesson programs for skiers and riders of all ages. Lift tickets are a bit pricey for a mountain this size, but this is the best option in the area for novice skiers—over half the mountain is designated for beginner and intermediate riders.

 

Mount Sunapee ResortNewbury, NH
Slightly farther away than Bradford and Nashoba, Mount Sunapee is one of the closest ski resorts to Massachusetts’ north shore. Though family friendly, this mountain is geared more toward intermediate and advanced skiers—they even have a NASTAR racing program. Mount Sunapee boasts a 1,510-foot vertical drop, 66 trails, 230 skiable acres, 11 lifts, and 97% snowmaking capacity. 26% of the trails are for novice skiers and riders, while 49% is designated intermediate terrain and 25% is advanced. The resort offers generous discounts for local college students. They also boast some of the best night skiing around.

 

Pats PeakHenniker, NH
Smaller and closer than Mount Sunapee, Pats Peak is just over the New Hampshire/Massachusetts boarder in the tiny town of Henniker. The mountain boasts a 710-foot vertical drop, 22 trails, 7 gladed areas, and 72 skiable acres. Additionally, skiers and riders can enjoy 10 lifts, three terrain parks, and 100% snowmaking capacity. The longest run is around 1.5 miles, making this an excellent destination for fast and easy coasting. Lift tickets are on the expensive side, but the resort offers great skiing and snowboarding lessons, equipment rentals, free WiFi in the lodge, and three separate beginner areas with their own lifts.

Cross-country skiing is often viewed as alpine skiing boring, less adventurous cousin. This, however, could not be further from the truth; with high speeds, cold temperatures, and stunning scenery, this high-intensity endurance workout is an exciting sport in and of itself. Though we won’t make the argument that Nordic skiing is inherently better than alpine skiing (apples and oranges), we have curated a list of our favorite reasons to make the switch.

No. Lines. Ever. Okay, you might have to wait in line to rent skis, but Nordic skiers enjoy the convenience of coming and going as they please. Downhill skiers spend half of their day in line and on lifts—this will never happen during a day of cross-country skiing.

It’s an incredible workout. Alpine skiing, admittedly, is an excellent full-body work-out. However, cross-country skiing is a lot more tiring than its faster counterpart. This is one of the best cardiovascular exercises out there, and—here’s the best part—it’s low-impact.

You won’t deal with terrible ski boots. Most skiers can agree that boots are the a universally-despised piece of equipment. Cross-country ski boots, on the other hand, are only ankle-high, soft, and flexible–just like a normal shoe.

It’s cheap(er). Though equipment prices are still relatively high, cross-country skiing does not require the purchase of a lift ticket. Additionally, equipment rentals are surprisingly affordable, making this an excellent option for a budget-friendly winter adventure.